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Letters on letters: Housing for homeless vets

June 02, 2012

Priority for the limited space allocated among the 60 to 70 letters that run each week is given to readers responding to news stories, editorials or Op-Ed articles. So although letters responding to other letters do come in, they seldom run.

Sometimes, however, a group of letters on a single Times article touches a nerve with readers and provokes numerous responses. This week, one group of letters in particular — Wednesday's responses to Bobby Shriver's Memorial Day Op-Ed article on housing homeless veterans, most of them indignant over what Shriver called an unkept promise by the Obama administration — drew more than a dozen responses. Here is a selection.

-- Paul Thornton, letters editor

I have to ask those folks who are so upset at President Obama they're not going to vote for him or contribute to his campaign until this problem of chronically homeless veterans is addressed: Who will you support, and for whom will you vote — Obama's opposition? Are you naive enough to think that a Romney administration and the GOP will solve this problem? Have you listened to their plans to destroy entitlement programs across the country?

As a former nurse who has worked in Veterans Administration hospitals, I applaud Cyril Barnert, a doctor who has treated veterans, for writing a letter explaining the issue of relapse and homelessness so succinctly.

Rebecca Hertsgaard

Palm Desert

Barnert's letter to the editor suggests that veterans choose "psychosis or substance dependence" over "stable housing." The problem is that the VA does not provide the stable housing that would even enable vets to make such a preposterous choice.

The welfare of veterans does not require "legal changes" that curb "the patient's right to return to psychosis or substance dependence." The welfare of veterans simply requires that the VA actually provide the stable housing that is already its legal obligation to do.

Veterans do not need paternalism. They need access to their home in West Los Angeles. They need the VA to honor the promise it made to "permanently maintain" their home when it accepted the property for that purpose in 1888.

Terence Lyons

Los Angeles

Apparently Times readers upset over the lack of housing for homeless vets do not get out to the San Fernando Valley much. On the VA's North Hills campus, extensive housing for homeless veterans is being built. It won't take care of all the vets, but it's a start.

Sylvia Alloway

Granada Hills

To those veterans giving up on Obama, I found Romney's position interesting. He has said in the past that he wants to privatize veterans' medical care. Would that please vets more?

Julie Raffety

Santa Barbara

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