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Is There Room for Second Chances?

April 29, 2001

The photo-essay by Kari Rene Hall ("Escape From the Sinking Class?" April 1) is a sad glimpse at the struggles of America's underclass. Our country seems to do its best to keep the poor down. For that reason, Henry Guiliante and all of the other Henrys out there should be given medals for fighting for the right to live lives that are free of the fear and poverty depicted in this essay. Guiliante deserves a second chance at life. His kids deserve at least a first chance. The only way we can be sure they'll get that chance is if we decide, as a country, that he and others should win their fight. We should decide that every American citizen has the right not to be poor.

Anna Mendiola

Santa Ana

*

If Guiliante truly loved his children, he'd do three things: 1) Stop smoking in front of them. 2) Learn to speak good English. 3) Get a vasectomy so he won't turn out more children who live deprived lives. What a role model! Charming pictures of daddy hugging and kissing his children do not compensate for what is basically a selfish daddy.

Helen Colton

Family Forum

Los Angeles

*

Hats off for a well-deserved eight pages about Guiliante's checkered life. Hall's pictures were eloquent, and the use of the present tense gave the piece more impact. The story serves as a good counterpoint to four pages of beautiful but expensive interiors later in the issue.

Lou Jacobs Jr.

Cathedral City

*

This guy, at age 34, got a 15-year-old girl pregnant (i.e. rape), has fathered 10 children with four women, failed to provide properly for a single one of them, has no job, no education, no skills, and his four youngest live in a rat-and-cockroach-infested motel. The children's mother abandoned them, was convicted of welfare fraud and spent time in jail. This has to be the most dysfunctional wannabe family ever. Why did you showcase their story?

Cheryl Kohr

Redondo Beach

*

I applaud Guiliante for taking responsibility for his [four youngest] children, and I pray that he receives the many blessings his children can offer. I also pray for the children's well-being and that they too can work hard not to sink into the quagmire of despair and hostility that such a life may breed.

Amy Kramer

Laguna Beach

*

This story should, and can, have a happier ending. It is obvious that without a safe and affordable place to live, families cannot properly care for their children, no matter how much they care nor how hard they try. Yet family homelessness is increasing in Southern California and across the nation. Founded in 1988, Beyond Shelter operates a "Housing First" program to help families like Guiliante's move into affordable rental housing in residential neighborhoods throughout L.A. County. After families are relocated, we help them rebuild their lives with social services, child care and jobs.

Tanya Tull

Beyond Shelter

Los Angeles

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