Guest Column: We Do Care

Burt Ross

Now that some of the national press has reported the rich people in Malibu don’t give a damn about our neediest, let me try to set the record straight. I have lived in several towns before moving to Malibu six years ago, and I can say unequivocally that I have never seen so many caring people deeply concerned about their community and the least fortunate among us.

Unfortunately, bad news seems to trump good news every time, but there is, in fact, excellent news to report. 

The Malibu Task Force on Homelessness (MTFH)—of which I am a member—and MTFH’s partner, The People Concern, recently reported that 30 homeless people in Malibu have found housing due to the efforts of The People Concern’s professional, full-time Malibu Outreach Team. Thirteen of these 30 individuals are now living in permanent housing—a home to call their own.

With two additional homeless people ready to sign leases this month, our Malibu Outreach Team (Alex G. and Alex M.—known locally as “the Alexes”) will have found permanent housing by the end of December for an average of one homeless person each month since they started working in Malibu at the end of September 2016.

The official estimate is that there are approximately 180 homeless people living in Malibu. As of Nov. 30, the Malibu Outreach Team had already enrolled 74 homeless individuals in ongoing wraparound services, with defined housing and goal plans in place. A total of 82 homeless individuals are now engaged with the Outreach Team, and at varying stages of accepting services.

In addition, The People Concern and Venice Family Clinic have been sending a physician and a psychiatrist here to Malibu each week to provide critically-needed care to our homeless neighbors.

None of this wonderful work could have happened without the extremely generous support of the Malibu City Council, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and well over 100 concerned Malibuites. So much for our people and our government officials not caring!

To learn more about the partnership between the Malibu Task Force on Homelessness and The People Concern, and how you can help, please visit our website:

MTFH is not the only group of volunteers helping our homeless population. Carol Moss and her group of volunteers at CART (Community Assistance Resource Team) have given invaluable support in many ways. They have consistently provided the “people power” to run the highly successful Connect Days, which help our homeless people with everything from personal care, such as hair cuts, to health care, including lifesaving vaccinations. CART has also brought mobile dental and eye clinics to Malibu, and referred several homeless people to the Malibu Outreach Team in an effort to get them professional assistance. 

Because of public safety concerns, the Malibu United Methodist Church has decided to discontinue its twice-weekly dinners, which were provided by many caring Malibu volunteers, church groups, and SOS (another charitable organization dedicated to helping homeless people).

The City of Malibu is about to hire a consultant to help prepare a strategic plan for how to best serve both our homeless population and the community at large. While the search for a new location for feeding our homeless residents is underway, I am confident that our City’s efforts to help our homeless neighbors will continue and expand because we, the people of Malibu, DO CARE. Shame on anyone who says we don’t.