Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Homeless Camp in Civic Center

April 21, 1996

The April 15 front-page article on a homeless "community" in a lot near City Hall served only to perpetuate the public perception of the stereotype of the homeless as substance-abusing, panhandling predators. Why do we rarely, if ever, see front-page articles about the multitudes of the homeless who are in that situation because of such common problems as economic downsizing, marital breakups, lack of affordable housing, and mental and/or physical illness: problems that could cause any of us to become homeless?

Why do we rarely, if ever, see front-page stories about the many homeless who struggle daily to keep clean, dress properly, and find jobs; or those who avail themselves of various shelter and employment programs so they can escape homelessness?

Perhaps, if you presented a more balanced picture of the homeless in our city, the public would learn that it is possible to deal with and overcome this tragic problem; that many of the homeless do seek and use service providers; and that many do move from homelessness back to the mainstream, especially if quality social services are available to support their efforts.

MICHELE A. SMOLLAR

Executive Director

People Assisting the Homeless

Los Angeles

* Having assigned a reporter to cover the homeless encampment which inhabits a vacant lot across the street from The Times, and having then assigned to the front page the story your reporter wrote, The Times offers an editorial (April 16) which calls for cleaning and clearing the lot in order "to provide open space for concrete-weary downtown workers."

In Los Angeles, too many grow weary of sleeping on concrete, of being unable to wash away the grit of concrete; too many have abandoned hope that the concrete might yield an ounce of warmth or a smidgen of food.

Given the context in which it was written, The Times could have chosen no more cruel or self-centered phrase. The concrete which should cause such impassioned concern clearly lies not without, but within.

DAVID HAMLIN

Los Angeles

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|