Carol Moss, a resident of the Malibu Colony since 1964, was a force to be reckoned with in the community throughout the 55 years she lived here. She was well known for her peaceful, spiritual acceptance of all people as well as her activism on behalf of the local homeless population and other causes related to fairness and equality. Moss died this week at the age of 91.
An obituary submitted to The Malibu Times this week shares details of her remarkable life: born and raised in Chicago, graduating from the University of Chicago at 18, and going on to become one of the first women to graduate from USC School of Law while raising four children following her husband’s death at a young age. Her activism was ceaseless, well into her 80s.
Carol co-founded CART (Community Assistance Resource Team), a local grassroots organization to help the homeless, in 2015. At the time, nothing concrete was being done by the city to help the homeless, although faith-based groups held a weekly dinner and some clothing and necessities were provided by the now-defunct Artifac Tree thrift store.
Carol and Reverend Sandy Liddell formed a task force, recruited volunteers and began interviewing the nonprofit and government organizations that help the homeless in our area to find out what kinds of services were available. They also began an effort to get food donations from local grocery stores and markets.
In 2017, the City of Malibu began funding two full-time outreach workers for the homeless through The People Concern of Santa Monica, to get unhoused people into temporary and permanent housing situations—even bringing medical doctors to the field weekly. However, the rehoming process can take years and, in the meantime, the homeless are still on the street and have needs.
CART partners with The People Concern and LA County to sponsor Homeless Connect Days at the old county courthouse, where agencies come together under one roof to get the homeless signed up for services such as medical appointments, post-Woolsey Fire needs, COVID-19 testing, transportation and basic goods.
“After so many trials and tribulations, meeting Carol changed my life and got me into a new home,” Nancy Rosenquist, a formerly homeless Malibu community member, said of Moss.
CART, along with the faith community, expanded the number of meals provided to the homeless each week, even throughout most of the pandemic. Moss remained hands-on throughout, as much as possible.
When asked if there was anything she wanted to convey about Malibu’s homeless issue, Moss once wrote: “The homeless come in every description: addicts, young, old, families, single women, men, people down on their luck, etc. The stigma is the hardest thing for them to bear. Perhaps we can restore some dignity and relieve a little suffering. We’re living with a new world of homelessness, and there’s no one answer. It’s hard on the community and we can hope that by bringing more stability to homeless individuals, our residents and businesses benefit.”
In 2015, Carol received a Citizen of the Year Dolphin Award for her work. In 2017, she was named as Malibu’s “Older American” honoree, and was also recognized by the LA County Board of Supervisors.
She started a meditation group nearly 20 years ago at her home “to support my own meditation practice and meet like-minded people,” she once told TMT. “I never know who will be walking into the door, which is part of the charm. It’s open to everyone. We meet every Thursday night without fail in my living room. I’m on the water, so people can hear the sound of the waves.” Those meetings left a real impact.
“Carol invited anyone and everyone to her home for a 45-minute weekly open group meditation followed by a session of sharing,” resident Michael Kory said. “Some have been driving great distances over many years to enjoy Carol’s hospitality and wisdom.”
She was on the board of the Malibu Democratic Club—former club president Ann Doneen called her “an incredible leader who is more down to earth than the soil itself, and as inspirational as the spirits in the sky.”
Carol advocated for preserving open space in Malibu over the years.
“I’m a founding board member of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy,” she once said in an interview. “I helped get Malibu Lagoon and Surfrider for the state, which were slated for commercial development at the time.”
She favored banning assault weapons for civilians, made public comments to the Malibu City Council on numerous occasions and attended many community events, including protests, even if she had to come in a wheelchair.