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Fighting Homelessness With Proposition 46

October 19, 2002

The new Times eagle may look fierce and alert; however, I think he needs Lasik surgery on his left (or right?) eye ("Yes on Housing Bonds," editorial, Oct. 13). If Proposition 46 is so good, yet fuzzy, why am I supposed to vote to allow "special interest" groups access to funds that purport to assist "those in need" to find housing and apartments? Why can teachers and universities apply for these funds? Let them propose legislation just for teachers and university housing. No way am I voting for this measure when The Times doesn't put figures in its editorial regarding what the salary of a beginning teacher is (including perks) versus what the median income is for the needy and down-and-out.

Barb Waycott

Canyon Country

*

Voting yes on Proposition 46 is absolutely essential if anything is to be done to meet the growing housing crisis. Not only are we not building enough new affordable units to meet the needs of a growing population, but the existing supply is steadily decreasing. Insufficient construction leads to higher rents and to "gentrification," a pretty description for poor-people removal. In addition, 20,000 units of subsidized low-cost housing in California have been "privatized" and rents raised. An additional 112,000 units are at risk.

Your editorial did not mention that the largest portion of the $2.6-billion fund will build the low-cost rental housing desperately needed by families and by the elderly, two groups in the population where we are seeing a shocking increase in homelessness. Older women with a Social Security income often as little as $600 or $700 a month have become a heart-rending example of those threatened with the loss of their homes as rents go up or as affordable housing disappears.

If we are to do anything about housing, Proposition 46 is the only game in town. Federal funds have practically disappeared. Counties and cities have difficulty in maintaining essential services. Of course more needs to be done. The Times is right in urging more funding for the very poor, for the mentally ill and the addicted. Proposition 46 will only make a dent in solving the housing crisis. But it is a significant beginning.

Marvin Schachter

Commissioner, State

of California Commission

on Aging, Pasadena

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