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Homeless Compound

November 21, 1994

Michael Dear and Jennifer Wolch ("Herding the Homeless Is An Unjust Answer," Commentary, Nov. 14) compassionately and incisively make the case against warehousing our homeless. Well-meaning as Mayor Richard Riordan is in seeking solutions for housing the homeless, we would hope for solutions much more innovative than San Diego's Draconian fortress program.

Approaching the homeless in this fashion isn't working in San Diego and it won't work here. Placing the homeless in modern concentration camps is not only inhumane, it doesn't respond to the causes of homelessness in the first place. This fortress approach does not account for the individual nature of each homeless person's case. Any truly effective program must include social service supports, individualized attention, and small scale programs or it assuredly will not get people out of poverty and productively back into society. It will only move the homeless from our sight.

We, as a community, have to be much more creative than this. We must begin by understanding what causes homelessness. It is more complex than any single, simple solution. It is as complex as the humans who make up its population. We urge Mayor Riordan and his staff to pay attention to the professionals at the grass-roots who are just as committed as he to solving this problem.

ROBERT SANBORN

Executive Director

A Community of Friends

Los Angeles

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