How Can the City of Malibu Step Up to Address Our Homeless Crisis?

SOS Response to City of Malibu

In life, the only thing that matters are people – those you hurt, and those you help.

I was sad to hear about an alleged request from Malibu City Council members that a local church stop feeding homeless, and that crime relating to homeless has gone up. The City of Malibu will be addressing homeless issues on Monday, November 13, 2017. The Malibu City report can be viewed here: Malibu City Agenda Report

I respectfully urge the Malibu Mayor and City Council City to step up in the following ways:

1) Contract with The People Concern to deliver services that will insure homeless are given help to get off the streets. MTFH entered into letter of commitment with The People Concern that runs through 2018. I believe it is the responsibility of City, not volunteers to insure this is done correctly. Indeed, I believe it is just as important as paying for Sheriff services, and the homeless efforts done by City need to have transparency and accountability – these are things that volunteers simply can not provide.

2) Expand the duties of the Emergency Services Department to oversee, to coordinate local entities who provide homeless services and to report back to Council and public efforts to address both homeless and community safety concerns. I commend the City of Malibu for addressing this issue in public today, but hope it will hold another Town Hall meeting on homeless. I also believe a roundtable with stakeholders from non-profits, sheriff and concerned citizens could be coordinated and hosted at Malibu City Hall at least once a month.

3) Provide a permanent location for food distribution and services. The City of Malibu is well equipped to coordinate with LA County to open up the old Court House to give local churches and non-profits a safe place to serve food and to have a place to meet with clients to provide services. Shuttle bus times to shelters can be coordinated with food distribution. Please note, City of Malibu has already used Library set-aside Funds to hire a public safety officer at the library. Please understand, this is not a permanent solutions, but it is a good short term solution, until another safe location can be identified.

4) Create merchandising program to help fund efforts to address homeless and other city priorities (e.g. public safety and the arts). Under the Malibu Lumber Lease, the City is entitled to pop shop which has never been opened for various reasons (no staff, merchandise). I respectfully request City of Malibu again consider working with Artifact Tree and/or Arts Commission to raise additional funds to support City priorities through merchandising.

My experience with Malibu Homeless began in October 2015. As I was dropping my kids off at a school bus stop next to Point Dume elementary school playground, I noticed a van with out of state plates and drawn curtains. My Momma bear instinct kicked in, and I took a picture of license plate with another concerned mom, just in case a child was abducted from the playing ground later that day. The homeless woman who was sleeping in the van woke up. Our hearts melt when we heard her story – from Colt’s cheerleader to homeless with mental health issues and a simple dream to live in California.

A short time later, local heroes and community activists Carol Moss and Sandy Liddell began meeting at Malibu Methodist to discuss homeless issues and CART (Community Assistance and Resource Team) was born. CART first looked at hiring professionals to help on the street, but also had many other goals like delivering food, and providing services such has eye clinics.

The Malibu Task Force on Homelessness (MTFH) was formed in January 2016 with volunteers who had one goal – to raise money and to enter into contract with professionals who could help Malibu’s homeless. Thanks to support from community, the Hilton Foundation, and the City of Malibu, MTFH raised money to hire 2 full time workers which has grown to team includes doctors to address needs of community and to provide housing and wrap around services for homeless.

I am grateful to see that so many in our community care and whole heartedly believe we can find a path forward together.

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