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In Hard Times, Charity Begins at Home

January 19, 2002

Re "Homeless, Helpless, Hopeless," Jan. 12: The surge in evictions across the country illustrates the depth of the economy's recession. Is there anything more noticeable and pitiable than seeing homes emptied of personal possessions piled high on curbs? It's mute and vivid evidence of the eviction syndrome now extant. And it is not a pretty sight. With today's wrangling in Washington about cutting taxes and refunding taxes already collected and the concurrent rhetoric about cutting government services, what could be more out of line, cruel-hearted and wrongheaded?

The people so affected by the recession ought to expect their government to be helping out, doing for people what they cannot do for themselves.

The bottom-line question is, where do the eviction victims go and what can they do without the government's help? For one thing, can this "tax cut and refund" rhetoric. Use the revenue income to help these affected people get a roof over their heads, a place where they can at least survive until they can get jobs to pay for the shelter they require for minimum sustenance.

Charles R. Barr

Upland

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While we are keeping those in other countries as safe, warm and well fed as possible, our eyes are averted from the crisis of displaced workers and others who make up the homeless and hungry throughout the United States. Massive assistance is distributed by our government to countries that have desperate needs. Tents, blankets, medicine and food are sent throughout the world while, at home, this same largess for our own people is sorely wanting or nonexistent.

Charitable organizations struggle to keep their heads above water but are drowning in pleas for help. Food banks are all but empty, people are unable to heat their homes--just as more and more people are forced to live in cars or on the street. Welfare is a dirty word, and unemployment benefits are slow in coming or don't come at all.

This situation is not due to earthquakes, fires or like disasters but, quite simply, to a downturn in our economy, and we must treat it as we would any other calamity.

Aileen B. Iannucci

Los Angeles

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