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Homelessness, Poverty Affect All

November 08, 1998

"Petty Crimes, Big Headache" [Special Report: Small Business Survey, Oct. 14] vividly describes how our collective quality of life is affected by increasing poverty and the resulting incidence of people who are homeless seeking refuge on the street.

While the past decade has seen a concerted, community-based effort to develop housing and services for the homeless, the public policies are oppositional. Since July 1, more than 12,000 single indigent individuals in Los Angeles County receiving county-supported general relief of $221 a month have been terminated from the program because of the enactment of a five-month time limit for receiving assistance.

Fortunately, the new year will hopefully bring a new county program in which homeless individuals receive job placement and training while on general relief. Social service providers and advocates played a primary role in shaping the new policy, with business leaders nowhere to be found.

I would contend that assisting the poor is a matter of social good and enlightened self-interest necessary to enhance the quality of life for all.

GARY J. MEISEL

Chair, Shelter Partnership

Los Angeles

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