Outreach team reports 137 homeless individuals contacted

At the April 19 Homeless Task Force meeting, Public Safety Liaison Luis Flores provided a staff update on the field checks and a staff report on The People Concern Outreach Team and its monthly engagement numbers. 

Public Safety Manager Susan Dueñas provided good news of an individual who had begun accepting services from the outreach team. 

“He was in need of mental health medication, he’s stabilized and they put him into interim housing and are working with the family and things seem to be going well,” Dueñas said. 

According to The People Concern Malibu Outreach Team report of April 2022, the total number of contacts made by the outreach team was 137, with 57 unduplicated contacts. Six individuals were contacted in permanent or temporary housing. Of the 57 unduplicated contacts, 15 were new contacts, with 11 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. The outreach team continues to contact these individuals with the goal of getting them engaged in the housing process.

In the report, the outreach team was able to assist a longtime and local resident named ‘AE,’ aged 76 years old. AE, a former school teacher for the Malibu and Santa Monica school districts, has been homeless and living out of her vehicle for the past 10 years. Despite losing her housing several years ago, AE remained employed and was dedicated to serving the children she taught for many years. After engaging with the outreach team, AE began her transition into permanent housing by being placed in a motel while the outreach team continued to work with her and advocate for her to obtain a housing voucher. Finally, in April, after years of living out of her vehicle, AE was able to find a home in Santa Monica where she can finally sleep in her own bed.

With the summer approaching the risk of fire hazards are at its peak. In an effort to prevent the spread of wildfires in the area, the outreach team is encouraging clients to refrain from setting fires and evacuate from areas that are at high risk of wildfire spreads. The outreach team plans on educating clients on the dangers of residing in wildfire zones and the importance of fire safety while remaining in areas that pose a risk for the spread of wildfires.

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The task force and Ad Hoc Committee reviewed the Homelessness Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives from the March 15 meeting and reviewed the recommendations from City Council. The document was moved as modified by task force member Paul Davis.

Homeless Task Force Chair Ian Roven provided an update on the special City Council meeting on March 24 that addressed the Alternative Sleeping Locations [ASL].

The council reviewed and discussed the ASL Recommended Action Plan provided by the city’s Homelessness Task Force. The council voted 4-0 to take action, with councilmember Karen Farrer absent.

The motion voted on was to direct the Homeless Task Force to adopt the primary plan to pursue an ASL outside Malibu and not using Malibu money, which meant that they would like to apply for grants or government funding rather than spend city money. With this decision, the ASL will be delayed until outside funds are obtained.

“As a result of the vote, our direction is to explore something outside of the city, and looking at what other cities are doing, other cities that have similar strategies outside of their respective jurisdictions and try to learn as much as we could that are feasible for us as a city,” Flores said. 

Flores said they explored Beverly Hills, Calabasas, and Redondo Beach.

“Each of these cities had to spend some city funds, even though some of these strategies took place outside of their respective jurisdiction there was an investment of city money to make these things happen,” Flores said.

Flores gave a detailed description on the way other cities structure with solutions they have already implemented in their cities.

“There’s something to learn about those three particular cities and just as far as what the next steps are, we’re directed to explore solutions outside of the city, and each of the cities provide a good learning example for us to potentially implement or atleast learn from and use to frame our solutions moving forward,” Flores said. “I think it’s important to analyze that all these cities did require some sort of city investment to implement.” 

Davis said with individuals suffering with trauma and mental illness, they can implement a program that can focus on independence and empowering individuals so they can learn how they can support themselves. 

Dueñas said they can look into a specific service provider that can address those issues. 

Member Kelly Pessis motioned to modify and re-submit the Request for Proposal [RFP] and request a new direction from City Council. 

The panel motioned to provide a recommendation to the City Council to direct staff to pursue securing beds at existing homelessness facilities using city funds.

The next Homeless Task Force meeting was on May 17 and can be watched on malibucity.org/virtualmeetings.

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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