Q:   What is MTFH?

A:   MTFH stands for Malibu Task Force on Homelessness. Formed in February 2016, MTFH is an independent group of community volunteers committed to addressing the many, complex needs of homeless individuals in Malibu by engaging The People Concern (formerly OPCC), a highly-respected, professional social service agency. With funding and support from MTFH, The People Concern provides full-time, professional outreach to Malibu’s homeless population, connecting our most vulnerable neighbors with housing and critically-needed services.

Q:   What is The People Concern?

A:   Formed in 2016 in a merger of two trusted social service organizations (OPCC and Lamp Community), The People Concern is one of the largest agencies of its kind in Los Angeles County. Informed by more than 50 years of work in the community, the agency is a leading provider of, and advocate for, evidence-based solutions to the multifaceted challenges inherent in homelessness and domestic violence. With compassion and profound respect, The People Concern provides highly effective and fully integrated services to the most traumatized, vulnerable and needy members of our community—homeless individuals, victims of domestic violence, challenged youth, indigent Veterans, and people dealing with severe physical or mental illness or substance abuse. Because The People Concern has such wide-ranging expertise and programs, the agency is able to tailor services to the needs of each person. Services rendered by the agency empower program participants to navigate the multifaceted obstacles in their lives, become their best selves, and, ultimately, connect with and contribute to their communities.

Q:   Why do we need MTFH?

A:   MTFH realized that in order to preserve and protect Malibu’s quality of life, and at the same time address the needs of our homeless people, it had to proactively initiate and support a unified approach to the issue of homelessness. Without such an initiative, Malibu would be subject to increased risk of brush fires from encampments, property vandalism, aggressive behavior toward residents and shopkeepers, panhandling, and the use of public spaces for personal hygiene. MTFH realized that for people trying to cope with complicated issues like physical and mental illness, substance abuse, and joblessness, at the same time they face the dangers and challenges of homelessness, the services that were available in Malibu were inadequate. Full-time, professional outreach – backed up by compassionate, comprehensive services with an emphasis on finding housing – was needed.

Q:   How many homeless people live in Malibu?

A:   Approximately 180 homeless people live in Malibu, according to the 2017 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, conducted in January 2017 by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). LAHSA previously reported that Malibu’s homeless population included many individuals suffering from mental illness, physical disability, developmental disability, substance abuse, and chronic health problems. This population also includes military Veterans, domestic violence survivors, and many individuals considered “chronically homeless.”

Q:   Why do we need The People Concern? Can’t we handle this on our own?

A:   Many homeless people have mental health, addiction, and physical health problems that require special knowledge and expertise to manage. Our Fire and Sheriff’s Department personnel have limited expertise in these areas and are already stretched to meet the increasing demand for protective services. Malibu’s residents, businesses, and community organizations do not have the specialized expertise or time to deal effectively with these complex and often interconnected challenges. Professional assistance is required to be effective and make progress.

Q:   What is the relationship between MTFH and The People Concern?

A:   A “Letter of Commitment” (LOC) between the Malibu Task Force on Homelessness (MTFH) and Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC) – now named The People Concern – was signed on March 28, 2016, by John Maceri (Executive Director of The People Concern) and Jay Scott and Pamela Conley Ulich (then Co-chairs of MTFH). Under this partnership, MTFH is raising the funds needed to engage The People Concern – a highly respected social service agency – to provide professional outreach and services to homeless individuals living in Malibu.

As noted in the LOC, “While MTFH seeks to protect the community from the impacts of homelessness, it is committed to helping homeless individuals who are law abiding and willing to receive the compassionate services and permanent housing that they need.” Also noted is that The People Concern (then OPCC) “determined that the efforts of MTFH to provide homeless individuals with compassionate and effective services are aligned with and will further assist in the achievement of OPCC’s charitable goals and objectives.”

Also outlined in the LOC is the role of The People Concern in this partnership, particularly in providing and managing a dedicated, two-person, full-time Malibu Outreach Team to “engage homeless individuals, building a trusting relationship with them with the goal of linking them to comprehensive OPCC services,” as well as to permanent housing, particularly for the most vulnerable. The LOC further addresses issues such as the Outreach Team’s availability for support to the community; veteran resources and protocol; monthly reporting; fiscal matters; MTFH responsibilities; and regular collaborative meetings with representatives from other organizations and agencies which serve and/or interact with homeless individuals in Malibu.

Please note that funds raised by MTFH go directly to a restricted fund at The People Concern, “to be used solely for the purposes of the Malibu Outreach Team, for the facilitation of obtaining housing for Malibu Area homeless persons and for related activities.” Because The People Concern is an independent, community-supported organization that is qualified as exempt from federal income tax under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, all donations to The People Concern are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Q:   What is a dedicated “Malibu Homeless Outreach Team”?

A:   The People Concern’s dedicated Malibu Homeless Outreach Team is a full-time (5 days a week, 8 hours a day), specially-trained and equipped, two-person team, which is going wherever is needed in Malibu (streets, hillsides, beaches, bluffs, canyons, tunnels, etc.) to locate, engage, and build relationships with homeless individuals, encouraging them to accept social services and housing. The Outreach Team’s first objective was to survey homeless individuals in Malibu, in order to better understand who they are and how to best help them. This survey gathers contact, mental/physical health, and social history information, which is essential for tracking movement and behavior, and developing an understanding of what services are needed. The team then focuses on linking homeless individuals with the comprehensive, integrated system of care provided by The People Concern, including housing (interim and permanent), mental health care (including psychiatry), medical care, domestic violence services, substance addiction treatment, income services, and wellness/life skills programs.

Q:   How can The People Concern’s dedicated “Malibu Homeless Outreach Team” help the Malibu community?

A:   In addition to locating and engaging homeless individuals and connecting them to services, the Outreach Team provides “on-call, as needed” assistance (during their scheduled hours) to residents and businesses in Malibu regarding their encounters with homeless people. Sometimes the Sheriff’s Department is legally prohibited from taking action or is occupied with other assignments. The People Concern’s Malibu Homeless Outreach Team is especially helpful in these situations and can remain on site to fully assist with resolving the incident. In addition to the services of the Outreach Team, The People Concern will provide training to the community on how to productively and safely engage with homeless people; information about resources available to communities (and how to access them); and ongoing consultation to strengthen our community’s ability to compassionately understand and address the impact of homelessness.

Q:   What will The People Concern’s services cost?

A:   Three years of The People Concern’s Malibu outreach and related services will cost $555,000. This amount includes the dedicated Malibu Homeless Outreach Team (personnel, insurance, vehicle, supplies and equipment, etc.); links to housing (including “move-in” costs such as first and last months’ rent, bed and bedding, etc.); and The People Concern’s comprehensive, integrated system of care.

Q:   How will we pay for the Malibu Homeless Outreach Team?

A:   The Malibu Task Force on Homelessness welcomes the support of all who live, work, or play in Malibu and wish to help preserve and protect Malibu’s quality of life while at the same time compassionately addressing the needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. Because of the generosity of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the City of Malibu, and many Malibu residents, businesses, associations, and congregations, MTFH has already raised more than $500,000 toward our goal of $555,000 – the amount needed to fund The People Concern’s work in Malibu for three years.

After its initial “major gifts” campaign, MTFH extended its fundraising efforts to include the entire Malibu community, in the hope that all of us will choose to be part of effectively and compassionately addressing the issue of homelessness in Malibu.

If you would like to be part of this effort, please donate now. (Donations are tax-deductible.) Many thanks from the Malibu Task Force on Homelessness!

Q:   When did The People Concern’s “Malibu Homeless Outreach Team” begin its work in Malibu?

A:   Malibu’s dedicated outreach workers began providing services to Malibu’s homeless population on September 30, 2016.

Q:   What happens after homeless people are connected to The People Concern’s services?

A:   The People Concern works with them on an ongoing basis, providing individuals with the integrated services they need to heal, stabilize, and improve their coping skills, with the goal of obtaining and maintaining permanent housing. As noted above, The People Concern’s core services include housing (interim and permanent), mental health care (including psychiatry), medical care, domestic violence services, substance addiction treatment, income services, and wellness/life skills programs. The People Concern has the resources and expertise to help in even the most challenging and complex situations.

Q:   Have other communities tried what MTFH is doing?

A:   Yes. For example, the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness (PPTFH) raised the funds needed to field two outreach workers from The People Concern (then OPCC) in the Pacific Palisades. The People Concern began its work there in January 2016, and is achieving notable results. PPTFH serves as both a model for MTFH and an example of what a difference this professional outreach – with links to housing and services – can make. MTFH is profoundly grateful to PPTFH for encouraging and supporting MTFH’s efforts here in Malibu.

Q:   Will Malibu’s homeless military Veterans receive services and help?

A:   Yes. There are significant local and federal resources available to immediately provide housing and services to military Veterans. The challenge is to connect our Veterans to these services. This is why having a Malibu Outreach Team is so important.

Q:   Should or shouldn’t we give money to homeless people on the street?

A:   There are differing points of view on this difficult question. For many, it is hard not to give money when they see someone in need and are asked to give. However, communities and social service agencies experienced in helping homeless individuals advise that giving to panhandlers is harmful to them and the community. It enables and encourages the homeless person to stay on the streets rather than seek housing and services. Giving to panhandlers is a short-term, “feel better” act of intended kindness that often delays a homeless person’s acceptance of effective, long-term, transformative help.

MTFH believes that the best way to help our homeless residents is to connect them to services and housing. However, we need to take the services to where homeless people are, since they are often reluctant or unable to seek them out on their own. There is a cost to providing mobile, field-based services, and there is a huge gap in available funding to pay for outreach teams. This is why MTFH is excited about the Malibu community’s help in funding the Outreach Team, and why it believes supporting the Malibu Homeless Outreach Team is a better way to help our homeless neighbors.

Q:   Are food, toiletries, or social service referral cards okay to give when a homeless person asks for help?

A:   If you feel compelled to give directly to a homeless person, then giving something other than money is the preferred option. However, please remember that some homeless people may be offended when they are offered something other than money. Treating people with kindness, respect, and caring is always appreciated.

Q:   How can I help?

A:   The best ways to help are to:
  • Donate now to help MTFH raise the funds needed to pay for The People Concern’s Malibu Homeless Outreach Team and all related services. Please note:  Donations are tax-deductible. Many thanks for any amount you are able to give!
  • Volunteer to help with MTFH’s fundraising and community education efforts. To volunteer with the Malibu Task Force on Homelessness, please email info@malibutaskforce.org
  • Volunteer to help with The People Concern’s work in Santa Monica or Los Angeles. Popular ways to volunteer include cooking/serving dinner, conducting drives (for socks, underwear, toiletries, etc.), and leading classes and activities (yoga, art, games night, etc.). To volunteer with The People Concern, please call 323-334-9000, ext. 463.
  • Join the Malibu Task Force on Homelessness (MTFH) email list, to be sure to receive notifications of MTFH community meetings, news, and events. To receive occasional email updates from MTFH, please email info@malibutaskforce.org
  • Share with others in our community the importance of supporting MTFH, to help safeguard Malibu and our most vulnerable neighbors!

Thank you for your support!