Letters to the Editor: As homelessness rises, board-and-care homes close. This is a huge problem


To the editor: Reading your editorial on the state of our homelessness crisis, one has to wonder whether the editorial board is reading its own newspaper.

The board cites the same mantra (that we need more affordable housing) as the numbers continue to rise. If only it were that simple. This crisis is born out of an ecosystem that is dysfunctional and fragmented.

For example, on July 8, The Times published an excellent article raising the alarm (again) that we are losing precious board-and-care beds for people living with mental illness.

These beds are critical for people with high acuity needs that cannot be met within the framework of permanent supportive housing. For example, these beds are often utilized for community reentry after incarceration or psychiatric hospitalization.

Yes, we need more affordable housing, but we also need to increase the continuum of psychiatric treatment and substance-use treatment beds at every stage (from psychiatric urgent care, detox, short-term hospitalization, acute treatment and board and care).

Kerry Morrison, Los Angeles

The writer is founder and project director of the homeless services advocacy group Heart Forward LA.

To the editor: Yes, we need more affordable housing in Los Angeles. Government can demand such housing be built, or builders can build such housing.

The former will require enormous government spending. The latter requires the demand that will cause builders to move capital into such construction. The problem with the latter is that homeless people don’t have the money to create such demand.

Your recent articles have brilliantly addressed the root causes of homelessness: More often than not, a health crisis leads to a spiral that ends with no money to buy food and shelter.

It seems to me the real way to avoid ever expanding homelessness is to work on the health issues. These can be solved only by a national system that makes healthcare available to those in need.

In the long run, national healthcare will be cheaper than ever-expanding housing construction.

Bill Mosier, Hermosa Beach

Article Date: 
Wednesday, July 12, 2023