Homeless Task Force sends ASL proposal to LVMCOG

The Homeless Task Force Meeting on March 15, 2022. Photo contributed.

To start off the Homeless Task Force meeting on Tuesday, Mar. 15, Public Safety Manager Susan Dueñas said the City Council will hold a special meeting on Thursday, Mar. 24, at 6 p.m. via Zoom and the ad hoc committee will present the recommendations for the Alternative Sleeping Locations (ASL).

Public Safety Liaison Luis Flores provided an update from The People Concern Malibu Outreach Team and said in February the outreach team was able to house seven individuals.

According to the report, those seven were contacted in permanent or temporary housing, with 115 total contacts made by the outreach team, 52 of them unduplicated. Thirteen were new contacts, with 10 becoming repeat contacts. There are currently 125 individuals on the streets of Malibu who have been previously engaged. Sixty-two are considered in various stages of engagement, and 63 are refusing services at this point.

Flores said the number is a big win for The People Concern and the Malibu community.

“Some of these folks were housed in interim housing options as well as shelters with a roof over their heads. It’s a big victory — seven is a really good number for a month,” Flores said. “It’s a bit difficult to get folks to be receptive to housing; this takes months, if not years, at times, and so to get seven in one month is a big win.”

Flores said the shelters are located in Los Angeles, but not in one central location. People are placed when and where a bed and housing becomes available. 

Task Force members asked Flores how they can continue their connection and support once they are housed. 

Dueñas said they would have to be a service provider, but the continuous care system informs the Malibu team if the individual returns to the streets. 

Task Force member Paul Davis reviewed the Malibu Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives and provided a list of their goals, which include safety, outreach, and housing, services they have allocated to support individuals who need them.

Task Force member Scott Dittrich said he’s sure LAHSA would like to create an ASL (Alternative Sleeping Location) in Malibu, but there’s been a genuine fear about creating it in the city.

“There’s a genuine and understandable fear that we’ve all discussed,” he said. “It’s not a secret that if we try to do something, even on a small scale, there’s a genuine fear. It’s frustrating for us trying to do something; it’s a reality and we have to deal with it.”

Task Force member Bill Sampson said there are a minority of community members who are opposed to the ASL project coming to Malibu.

“The people I talked to don’t want one here,” he said. “I may be in an echo chamber, but I have yet to encounter somebody that really wants one.”

Task Force member Kelly Pessis disagreed with Sampson and said there is not a minority of members in the community who are opposed to the ASL project. 

“I don’t see why we can’t have an unhoused occupant of Malibu,” Pessis said. “I would really appreciate it if someone can follow through on that. I think it’s really important.”

Members asked to remove the word “local” from the strategic plan. Davis said his goal is to provide individuals with the resources they need to rehabilitate and transition to a sustainable lifestyle.

“My goal for every homeless person is that they’re able to be self-reliant and more likely than not, that’s going to be somewhere outside of Malibu, where there’s a lower cost of living,” Davis said. “The purpose here for this goal is to emphasize that wherever the homeless person is, wherever the services are provided, those human needs need to be there and if we’re simply housing people or feeding people no matter where that is, without these elements, it’s not going to succeed.”

Members continued to highlight ideas and services they would address to provide individuals the necessary services.

Davis said he has heard from homeless individuals in the community that they have been told not to get a job because they might lose their benefits. 

“That’s 180 degrees from where we should be going,” he said. “We should be encouraging people to be self-reliant. It’s a delegate thing that we need to be careful about.”

Dueñas said they should table the document because after the City Council meeting on Thursday, Mar. 24, in terms of the strategic plan it can influence the budget as well.

The City Council held a special meeting on Thursday, March 24 to address the Alternative Sleeping Location. For more information, go to malibucity.org.