Advertisement

Reducing Homelessness Is a Top CRA Priority

June 08, 2002

Re "Skid Rowers Don't Deserve the Boot," by Alice Callaghan, Commentary, May 31: The City Center Redevelopment Plan was not developed in a vacuum. Community Redevelopment Agency staff consulted extensively with an elected project area committee and numerous organizations: the Midnight Mission, SRO Housing Corp., Skid Row Housing Trust, L.A. Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness and the L.A. Homeless Services Authority. Representatives from these and 10 other organizations met twice a month for six months to develop the plan. Callaghan chose not to participate.

A top priority of the CRA plan is to reduce homelessness. More than $150 million is allocated for homelessness-reduction services. Also, 13,000 new housing units will be developed, 25% devoted to low- and very-low-income housing.

The CRA plan creates new housing through conversion of existing vacant buildings, older major hotels and other misused structures. Families living in hotels are not in the same situation as individuals living on the streets or in the single-room-occupancy buildings in skid row. The CRA will continue to retain and rehabilitate SRO units--nearly 3,000 units have already been rehabilitated. Working-poor families living in crowded hotel rooms are better served by housing designed for families.

None of these homeless benefits can happen without the CRA plan.

Jerry Scharlin

Administrator, Community

Redevelopment Agency, L.A.

*

Here on skid row, sidewalks are clogged with the bodies of homeless men and women sleeping in tents and cardboard cartons. Many think they are here because they are lazy and shiftless; others say they are drug addicts or criminals.

Callaghan's commentary clarifies the truth: They are here as a direct result of this city's redevelopment policy, which, over the years, has slipped billions of tax dollars into the pockets of rich developers while systematically stripping the urban core of its lowest-cost housing--SROs.

Jeff Dietrich

Catholic Worker

Los Angeles

*

Downtown is the center of our city and should not be used as a repository for crack addicts, drunks, newly released convicts and mental patients sleeping, loitering and defecating on our sidewalks. The people of L.A. have a right to enjoy their downtown area.

I believe we should close all the "rescue" missions and free housing and do whatever it takes to clean this area up. There is nothing moral about the current situation. Not to the citizens who would love to have a vibrant, clean and safe city center or to the hapless poor people who are abandoned to filthy, unsafe streets to sleep in cardboard boxes.

Matthew Bright

Los Angeles

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|