Photos: Connecting for the Homeless

Volunteers dedicated their time to see Malibu’s first Homeless Connect Day happen, including Lance Simmens, Jay Scott, Carol Moss, Rev. Sandy Liddell, Gail Bloch, Rev. Paul Elder and Bianca Torrence.

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, public and private agencies worked together to put on Malibu’s first-ever Homeless Connect Day — a half-day fair at the former Malibu County Courthouse that provided services to the city’s homeless population.

The event was coordinated by Malibu’s Community Assistance Resource Team (CART), which is headed by local Carol Moss, and the office of Sheila Kuehl, L.A. County Supervisor for the 3rd District, represented by Molly Rysman, Housing and Homelessness Deputy with Kuehl’s office. Seventy people attended the event.

“We were all worried that nobody would come,” Moss shared. “We gave out endless flyers but there was no way of knowing whether people would respond.”

“The turnout far exceeded our expectations,” Rysman explained, “which presents a dilemma. The Connect Day was a big success and we hope that many of the participants continue to seek assistance with providers they connected with at the event, but we will need to do more than one-day events to have a sustained impact in the community.”

Over 15 organizations attended the fair and provided services, including L.A. County Public Health, Santa Monica’s OPCC, Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles and Veteran’s Administration. A free lunch was provided to attendees by the Hilton Foundation and Beanfields Chips.

“This was a one-stop shop that was a great gift,” Moss said. “It was so hard for people to go to the city into separate offices where they may or may not be met with courtesy and skill.”

Rysman and Moss both agreed that they hope to see another Homeless Connect Day in the future.

“The next Connect Day could be even more successful if we have follow-up resources to keep engaging participants and linking them to the assistance that will ultimately lead to permanent housing,” Rysman said. “That is the goal — ending homelessness for these men and women.”