LA-area libraries are practicing ‘hard love’ to help the homeless in ‘safe places’

From Daily News

“She walks among the bounded works of Hemingway and the free verse of Whitman, the magic world of Harry Potter and the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology.But Mary Leasure isn’t at the Glendale’s Downtown Central Library to study literature or admire poetry. She’s there to read patrons for signs of homelessness and mental illness.After all, she noted, a library is the perfect place for people with mental health needs to break their silence and get help.“I bring a bottle of water and carry a book, otherwise I look like a stalker,” Leasure said one recent day after she roamed rows of mystery novels and career guides, DVDs and books on CDs.Sometimes, she’ll sit in a chair.“And then I’ll just watch,” she added.It doesn’t take long for Leasure’s trained eagle-eye-like perception to spot someone and swoop in: the regular with a stuffed backpack, a stranger with several plastic shopping bags, withdrawn teens who rest their heads on study tables, or older women who have been evicted from high-cost rental units and have nowhere else to go.”>