Malibu has experienced a noticeable increase in homelessness over the past several years, like most communities in LA County. Concerns about public safety as well as compassion for the plight of these people resulted in citizens coming together and forming groups to help. One of these groups, the Malibu Task Force on Homelessness (MTFH), decided its sole mission was to raise money to bring in a professional social organization with two full-time outreach workers.
The MTFH was founded in February 2016 by a team of eight Malibu residents — Co-Chair Jay Scott, Co-Chair Pamela Ulich, Dr. Constance Shafran, Dr. Renee Kaswan, Rev. Paul Elder, Matthew deNicola, Joan Ross, Burt Ross and junior member Cooper deNicola.
“[They] recognized that only by having professionally trained personnel on the ground, backed by a service organization with the ability to provide Malibu’s homeless people with a holistic approach, could we provide hope for our growing homeless population,” the nomination stated.
“In less than a year, MTFH has already raised over $300,000 to contract with The People Concern, a major social service agency, to provide two outreach workers on a full time basis to service Malibu’s homeless population exclusively, with the ultimate goal of finding permanent housing for as many as possible,” the nomination continued.
“When we formed the Task Force a year ago this month, we had no idea how much support we would have from the community and the City of Malibu. It has been overwhelming,” Jay Scott wrote in an email. “As we enter our second year we are continuing to raise the funds to support The People Concern to help our homeless community members.”
The City of Malibu, The Conrad Hilton Foundation and more than 90 individual donors and businesses in Malibu have contributed to this effort. Because of this united effort, two outreach workers have been in the field since early October and have already encountered 65 individuals and one family, engaged 39 of those individuals and moved six people off the street.
“MTFH has also taken on the role of educating the public about homeless people and has created an informative website — malibutaskforce.org. It also co-sponsored a first-of-its-kind town hall meeting on homelessness [on Jan. 17, which was attended by over 200 people and featured presentations by experts in the field and a Q&A session,]” the nomination stated.
“We are now in the planning stages of putting together monthly community forums to keep the public informed of our progress, to answer any questions and hear any suggestions on how we can expand our efforts,” Scott wrote.
For more information on individuals leading the MTFH, go to malibutaskforce.org/about/leadership.