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Don't Blame Homeless for Ills--Help Them

August 25, 1991

I am tired of hearing how the homeless are responsible for every problem that people have, from rising crime rates to falling property values ("Mixed Reviews for Hollywood Blvd.," Aug. 1).

These people for the most part are victims of the system and the failing economy. Those that panhandle are a minority but receive all of the attention.

If people would look beyond the surface they would see war veterans, senior citizens, families with children, and runaway/thrownaway children that need our help, not scorn. Homelessness is a national disgrace that is overwhelming our social services system and charitable organizations. Instead of complaining about the problem and calling people bums or worse, maybe these merchants should address the problem themselves or force our local politicians to do so.

Our city councilman is more interested in "redeveloping" Hollywood than addressing the real needs of crime, cruising or homelessness.

Pointing fingers is easy, but finding solutions is much harder. I invite those merchants, or anyone else who is interested, to join me in looking for solutions. I have worked with the homeless in Hollywood since 1986, and I believe that with help solutions can be found.

REV. TERRELL L. GARRETT

Hollywood

The writer is assistant director of the Los Angeles Council of Store Front Churches .

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