Palisades News Letters: Homeless Advocates Differ

As usual, your last paper (April 4) gave ample coverage to the topic of homelessness. And rightly so, for it remains an issue of critical importance. Overall, the Palisades community should be commended on their efforts to help those who are homeless and/or mentally ill, especially where city laws and resources are lacking.

In your last issue you had two main stories on homelessness: “Host Homes Needed for Homeless Students” and “Parking Sought for Homeless in Cars.” The first article presents us with Ellen Sloan, who founded the Host Homes Project for housing homeless students after first taking a homeless student into her home. The latter article presents us with Dr. Scott Sale, who is spearheading Safe Parking L.A., a nonprofit that secures parking lots for overnight use for those who dwell in their vehicles. His latest plea for finding these parking lots was to faith-based organizations.

Ellen Sloan
Dr. Scott Sale

I do not know either of these individuals personally, nor do I know anything about them outside of what these articles present. However, when I read quotes from Dr. Sale such as “Faith-based organizations are wired to do this” and “Religious preschool parents are our biggest nightmare,” I hear someone who is attacking others for not obliging his aims. How presumptuous that somehow the responsibility of offering parking to homeless car dwellers should fall on faith-based organizations because they are “wired” for this. In what way are they wired for this? Does their faith, which demands charity from them, obligate them to offer their property for these purposes? Do not the homeless belong to all of us? Faith-based or not, these organizations still must be run in a manner similar to businesses, with liabilities to consider and people for whom they are responsible, like the preschoolers who attend their schools and their “religious” and “nightmare” parents.

I would like to suggest that before Dr. Sale make demands from faith-based organizations for his purposes, that he take note from Ms. Ellen Sloan above, who personally offered her very own home to those who are homeless. Perhaps Dr. Sale would like to offer his driveway or garage for these vehicle dwellers, and pay himself the paltry $500 he is offering others for use of their parking lots. Granted, one might say the homeless students are a less “risky” group than the unknown vehicle dweller, but Dr. Sale did mention that security is provided, as well as a porta-potty.

Dr. Jessica J. Durbin

Palisades News welcomes all letters, which may be emailed to Please include a name, address and telephone number so we may reach you. Letters do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Palisades News.

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