Sheltering people does not solve the flaws of an economic system that creates mass homelessness


For the publisher: Gustavo Arellano says “it’s time to think radically” on homelessness, but it is only dealing with a symptom rather than the deep-rooted causes of growing inequality in American society, in search of a ” remedy “which prevents homeless people from the streets of the” respectable class “. (“Should we set up New Deal-style labor camps for the needy?” Opinion, January 17)

It doesn’t ask if our private economic system provides work that can pay for a house, or challenges the unregulated financial system that led to the Great Depression and our recent recession.

He writes the astonishing statement that “it was the industrial boom of World War II that ultimately gave jobs to the Okies, not the government.” Who else but the federal government declares war? Who else but the federal government is enlisting millions of men in the military, opening jobs for Okies and women? Who other than the federal government pays money into military industrial corporations?

Doris Isolini Nelson, Los Angeles

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For the publisher: For all the reasons cited by Arellano, labor camps would bring some dignity to the homeless.

I was a member of Bakersfield City Council in the late 1980s when it voted to build the Bakersfield Homeless Center with the invaluable help of our local unions. This facility still helps many homeless people today.

Arellano refers to the Sunset Labor Camp near the unincorporated community of Weedpatch and Sunset School outside of Bakersfield. Every year, a festival celebrating the Dust Bowl migrants is held at this school. Several historic buildings in what is also known as Weedpatch Camp were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

The camp continues to assist and accommodate migrant workers.

Mark C. Salvaggio, Bakersfield

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For the publisher: Does anyone remember Rodger Young Village in Griffith Park after WWII? There, Quonset huts were erected to house veterans returning home with their families.

This would appear to be a good solution for the homeless population of LA. Quonset huts would be inexpensive to build, and if we found space in Griffith Park, they would be isolated from communities that do not want homelessness.

The village would provide a central location for homeless services. You could even call it “Eric Garcetti Village”.

Ed Burrows, Agoura Hills

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