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Is Laguna a Destination for the Homeless?

Editor,

Is the city of Laguna Beach looking to become the number one destination for homeless people in Orange County? I am compassionate and want to help Laguna Beach residents that have lost their way or have a mental illness, but I do not believe our city has an obligation to care for and provide housing to homeless from other cities.

Our town is a tourist town and those of you that patronize our restaurants, shops and visit our Main Beach know it is turning into a town for homeless people. The news evidently has gotten out and other cities are shipping folks here with one-way tickets.         Our City Council is now considering whether to approve a large building to house an additional 40 homeless people with chronic mental issues.  Is that the solution to our homeless problem, add more beds for the mentally ill?

Many folks are afraid to speak up and let the City Council know we have compassion for people from Laguna Beach that have become homeless, but not for supporting all homeless across the county. If you want to really tarnish the city long term and hurt business, keep expanding the beds and encouraging folks from other towns to come here. If you don’t believe what I am saying, please read the police blotter as it is filled weekly with crime upon crime by people with “no fixed address”.

I also find it interesting that advocacy groups that wish to support the homeless are made up of many residents from Newport Beach and San Clemente that contribute money to help us expand services for the homeless. How noble is that? Get them away from their own town and have Laguna Beach deal with the issues. I say to those people, please take care of the homeless people from your own town, in your town, and we will be more than happy and willing to take care of ours.

I for one will only support City Council members that take a strong stance against expanding services to individuals that are not from our town. I am not heartless, but I do expect all cities across Orange County to be more compassionate for their homeless populations and we will do the same for ours. The goal should be to eliminate homelessness and we should measure our city’s success by the reduction of homeless people in our town and view our policies as failures when the population increases. By the police blotters, news in the local papers, tourists comments on Yelp and for residents that get out and patronize our shops, it is obvious we are failing big time.

Craig McKessar, Laguna Beach

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