The "Out Here" editorial Wednesday by Carla Hall on Farhad Alexander-Alizadeh — the 57-year-old man parked in an RV in front of her Brentwood condo building — and residents' efforts to have his vehicle removed from their street spurred some readers to share their own interactions with the homeless. They expressed heartfelt concern, proposed solutions and even told of some efforts underway to help Alexander-Alizadeh.
In short, they wrote of the homeless as actual people who deserve our help, not as nuisances to be shooed away somewhere else.
—Paul Thornton, letters editor
Genie Saffren of Los Angeles tells of her own experiences with a homeless neighbor
"Hall's piece reminded me of an older man who lived in a white T-Bird stuffed with his necessities and who would often park in the shade of our parkway trees.
"One Sunday he approached my husband to point out a very young child running alone up the street. He probably knew how it would be perceived if he chased after her, so he asked my husband to go. The frantic parent ran up just as my husband returned with the child.
"Months later I noticed that police were questioning him. I asked them if there was a problem; they said that several people had called, concerned about this 'strange man.' I told them of our experiences with him. The police left, but we haven't seen the T-Bird since.
"I sometimes think of him and wonder how he is. We must change our perspective and help find appropriate support for our many homeless. They deserve better."
Teri Redman Khan of Brentwood offers another resident's perspective on Alexander-Alizadeh:
"Hall describes the man as having had run-ins with the law and an excitable disposition. Hall asks her neighbors to help find him housing and employment.
"One of the residents of Hall's building is a friend of mine. Ironically, this person is very active in community service and has spent endless hours helping homeless people throughout the area. My friend was one of many in the building who called a member of the L.A. City Council to express concerns about the care of the dog and the man and began the process of finding alternative parking.
"People Assisting the Homeless did pay him a visit. However, there is no law that requires him to join a program; we live in a free country. And there is no place in Los Angeles for him to park and live in his RV.
"Where is he to go? This, I believe, is the real tragedy."
Charles Sanders of Hawthorne says he was uplifted by the piece:
"While reading Hall's article on Alexander-Alizadeh, I had a feeling it would end negatively. After reading the last two sentences — in which Hall asks if her neighbors can put their efforts toward helping Alexander-Alizadeh — I was overjoyed by the very positive ending."