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City's Sweep of Two Downtown Homeless Encampments

July 02, 1988

Your editorial "It's Outrageous" is itself outrageous. The "residents" had lived across from City Hall for six months, and, said your editorial, "heartlessly, thoughtlessly" these "helpless in our midst" had no place to go.

Just this week (Metro, June 27) your staff writer, Penelope McMillan, wrote that such a program as Transition House has had little success with the hard-core homeless. They would never go to the shelter because it has too many "rules." Life has rules. When one flouts the rules of life, one can expect to get sick or, worse, die. So with the "rules" of society. When we live in a metropolitan city as diverse as Los Angeles we have to have rules so we can all live together. It is not "heartless" to keep people from sleeping on the street. It is not "thoughtless" to keep them from sleeping across from City Hall for six months. It is heartless if there truly were no place for them to go.

Transition House has sheltered nearly 5,000 men and women in the five years of its existence. The legitimate needs of the truly homeless are serious. Let's not let emotion allow dropouts to run our city. Shelter is available. But often, because it comes with "rules"--e.g., "10 p.m. curfew, tidiness requirements and clean-up duties," many of the so-called homeless have just chosen not to use what is available.

ALDEN D. McKELVEY

Chairman

Skid Row Development Corp.

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