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Housing Better Serves the Homeless and Lowers Public Costs

Editor,

The homeless are with us here in Laguna Beach. We have no walls and gates to keep them out. That’s the way we like it. They are part of our community.

We have a strong record and reputation for caring for each other when problems strike. As for the homeless, we are providing more services by far than any other surrounding city. However, the interests of both our city and the homeless would be better served by directing them to permanent supportive housing, which is being offered to the city.

Advantages to the city would include: an experienced professional staff located on site; screening residents and enforcing standards of conduct; addressing drug, alcohol and mental issues, providing housing away from beaches and streets; and reducing police involvement in the site’s operation.

Law enforcement would be limited to keeping the peace from calls by on site management. Police are not trained to be social workers and should not be so employed. Most disturbances and offenses would be handled on site by trained staff. Transportation to jail, court and hearings and the time of judges, DA’s and social workers would be reduced. All their efforts saved for great needs.

Laguna should accept the Friendship Shelter/Jamboree housing offer to provide permanent supportive housing in place of our current effort for the homeless.

Edward Merrilees, Laguna Beach

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