Homeless Task Force sees drop in homeless needing services

Malibu sign on PCH near Lunita Road. Photo by Samantha Bravo

During the Homeless Task Force Meeting on June 21, Task Force members discussed current efforts, addressed overnight parking and identified potential strategies to improve service provisions in accordance with the Homelessness Task Force Charter and City Council direction.

To start off the meeting, Task Force Member Terry Davis was appointed to the Fire, Health, and Public Safety Ad Hoc Committee. For an ad hoc committee report, Davis compared the amount of people they were helping at first when they started services to how many they are now.

With all the services and resources Malibu has been providing throughout the year, Davis said a Homeless Connect Day isn’t necessary this year, but the Homeless Outreach Team is still planning on hosting one. 

“We really have to hone in on what services in particular that we need to bring to these people, because it’s not the same as when we first started a few years ago when we had the first connect day where we had 120 people show up and you start from soup to nuts,” Davis said. “They had nothing and you’re bringing them IDs and social services — we don’t have that population anymore. And the number of people that need those services are very few, and that’s a comment on the work that’s being done.”

Davis said they still need access to an Alternative Sleeping Location [ASL], but also a method of sharing information and communication between services.

“I just want to say that I’m really proud of what Malibu has done, and I really want to take it to the next step,” Davis said. 

The Malibu Community Assistance Resource Team (CART) is a 501(c)(3) community-based team of volunteers that provides basic needs for homeless individuals in Malibu. CART volunteer activities include Homeless Connect Days.

During Homeless Connect Day, individuals experiencing homelessness are provided with free services, including health and medical services, legal assistance, Department of Motor Vehicle services and more at the yearly event.

The People Concern works to empower vulnerable individuals suffering from poverty, abuse, mental illness and homelessness provided services. Goodwill, the Listening Post, Animal Care and Control, local veterinarian Dr. John Lupo and a host of other agencies took part to offer help. Some of the agencies that were present include the DMV, Pepperdine Legal Aid Clinic and The People Concern.

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) is an independent joint powers authority that provides funding, program design, outcomes assessment, and technical assistance to more than 100 nonprofit partner agencies that assist homeless persons achieve independence and stability in permanent housing. 

In Malibu, the first ever Homeless Connect Day was hosted in 2015 at the old courthouse in an effort to reach out and provide services to the city’s homeless population. As an additional incentive for attending, they are offered some freebies just for showing up: free haircuts by local stylists, flu vaccines, and a free boxed lunch and service kit.

Capt. Jennifer Seetoo attended the meeting for the first time since returning and provided an update on pedestrian and vehicle fatalities on Pacific Coast Highway.

“Last year, based on our stats, there were nine fatalities, seven of those were pedestrian fatalities and what the traffic sergeant told me that I think every single one of these was a transient,” Seetoo said. “And people can look at that and say ‘oh well, it’s just a transient,’ but that’s not how we look at those; that’s a human life.”

Seetoo said they are also observing the locations, the day, and keeping track of the trends of where these accidents are occurring. 

“Once we start actually dissecting it, we can identify what our issue is working with the city on signage or lighting,” Seetoo said. “We can look at all of this and we can work with Malibu — these are some conversations that we have to have to protect our transient population.”

Seetoo said she will provide data in the next Homeless Task Force meeting.

As for overnight parking, members of the panel expressed their concerns with the amount of time each RV stays in one location and asked if there are fines to enforce parking.

“It is challenging for enforcement, from what I’ve heard, so we have tried to look at other things,” Public Safety Manager Susan Dueñas. “The reason why we came up with this ordinance is because we’ve never been able to pass any other ordinances because the Coastal Commission would block it. There are other ideas out there but from what we understand, it would just be blocked by the Coastal Commission, it doesn’t mean we can’t try.”

Task Force member Kelly Pessis motioned to have the legal ad hoc committee review the restricted parking ordinances and report back to the task force. 

Seetoo said sheriff’s deputies would be doing night ride-alongs for parking enforcements at the locations where task force members have been seeing an increase in parked vehicles.

Towards the end of the meeting, Task Force Member Paul Davis announced his resignation due to job relocation but wanted to inform the panel to look for a new member to appoint to the ad hoc committee.

“I am torn,” Davis said. “I’m really grateful for all the work everyone has been doing and each one of you in the highest esteem. I’m sad to be leaving.” 

The next Homeless Task Force meeting is scheduled for July 19.