Every day I work with families who are homeless. I watch parents in pain, children rocked from crisis to crisis and the refusal of our city to shape systems to help them. I hope that even the apolitical would agree that it is never a "good time to be homeless," as the article "Celebrated Departure of a Nagging Activist" [Style, June 25] claims.

A family rendered homeless today because of a fire or an eviction could apply for shelter but would not receive any. The District's shelters for families are full. They have been for years and years. The average homeless family waits about six months until a vacancy becomes available in our shelter system.

So what do homeless children and their parents do? Recently I talked to a number of families who were homeless. One woman told me she had spent the past two nights in the park with her children. Another admitted she would prostitute herself for a roof for her kids.

It used to be that families who became homeless would get shelter in a motel until a spot in a shelter became available. Would these children and their parents agree that it is a better time than ever to be homeless?

Many people are jaded about the suffering of children, women and men who are poor and have no home. Carol Fennelly never was. That is why she was so important to our community and will be greatly missed.

-- Sczerina Perot

The writer is a staff attorney at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless Inc.