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Letters: Life on skid row isn't free or easy

June 09, 2013

Re "On skid row, storage bins tell gritty tales," Column One, June 5

I found it disturbing that Peggy Washington, a supervisor at a skid row storage center, compared being homeless on skid row to living in a hotel free of charge. Her comments show a complete misunderstanding of the reality of homelessness.

The homeless are subject to the vagaries of weather, they lack sanitary facilities, and they experience the danger of living among the mentally ill and addicted. They also suffer periodic police crackdowns. Shelters are often dangerous, lack privacy and are dehumanizing.

The cure for homelessness is housing with social services. This city lags far behind others in attempting to address this crisis.

I am afraid that as long as some of the people working on skid row have opinions like Washington's, we will not seek real solutions to end homelessness.

Betsy Handler

Pacific Palisades

Thanks for presenting the introspective and thoughtful insights of some skid row residents who haven't given up on life and are attempting to improve themselves. Their efforts are similar in some ways to many in the wilds of Hollywood who also ignore huge odds to pursue their dreams of success.

John Holmstrom



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