City Council Works on Amending Malibu’s Nuisance Code to Address Homeless Encampments and Appoints New Homelessness Task Force
The Malibu City Council took steps during a meeting on July 21 to amend the City’s Nuisance Code to strengthen the City’s ability to address hazards posed by homeless encampments in Malibu, and appointed members of the City’s new Homelessness Taskforce. Video of the special virtual Council meeting on July 21 is available to view at https://www.youtube.com/user/CityofMalibu/videos.
“Homelessness is a nationwide humanitarian crisis with severe local impacts to our community’s public health and safety, environment and quality of life that cannot be ignored,” said Mayor Paul Grisanti. “The new taskforce and the proposal to strengthen our Nuisance Code will give us more tools to address this crisis.”
During the July 21 meeting, the City Council approved on first reading proposed amendments to the City’s Nuisance Code aimed at strengthening the City’s ability to hold private property owners responsible for unabated nuisances on their property, particularly homeless encampments that have been connected to a brush fire or that pose a high risk of starting a fire. The amendments will return to the Council for a second reading and adoption on August 9. The meeting agenda, staff report and viewing and commenting instructions will be posted in advance at www.MalibuCity.org/AgendaCenter.
The proposed amendments to the City’s Nuisance Code include language specific to fire and public health hazards, giving specific examples to make it more clear to property owners what a nuisance is.
The amendments also would give authority to the City Manager to take action to address a nuisance, allowing a much faster response to an emergency condition posing an immediate threat to the physical safety of the community. Most other cities delegate this authority to their city manager or a department head. Currently, the City Council must approve a “Summary Abatement.”
During the July 21 meeting, the City Council each appointed two members to the newly created Homelessness Task Force, which will be charged with: reviewing existing efforts, evaluating the need for an alternative sleeping location (ASL), developing strategies to mitigate the fire safety concerns of encampments located in open space and on undeveloped private property, addressing other issues related to homelessness, developing a robust public engagement and outreach plan to obtain community input on proposed strategies to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community from the dangers of homelessness and provide assistance to Malibu residents experiencing homelessness, and providing regular updates and recommendations to the City Council.
Although the City already had a Homelessness Working Group, the City Council aims to focus more effort, resources, and attention on addressing homelessness by creating a Brown Act-governed Homelessness Task Force. The Brown Act requires open meetings and public record keeping by government bodies in California to ensure transparency and accountability.
Homelessness Task Force Appointments
Mayor Paul Grisanti: Ian Roven, Terry Davis
Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Silverstein: Deborah Benton, Bill Sampson
Councilmember Mikke Pierson: Bill Winokur, Wayne Cohen
Councilmember Steve Uhring: Kelly Pessis, Scott Dittrich
Councilmember Karen Farrer: Paul Davis, Chris Frost
In response to a growing homeless population in Malibu, the City has been increasing its measures to address homelessness and its impacts on the community for the last several years, including the development of a strategic plan, increased participation in events to aid the homeless, and the formation of the Working Group to strengthen cooperation between the various agencies and organizations providing assistance within the community.
Since 2018, the City has been funding an Outreach Team through The People Concern who work full-time in Malibu and can connect homeless people in Malibu with The People Concern’s housing, mental healthcare and other services. The City also funds a Housing Navigator, who works with the Outreach Team and landlords to help people experiencing homelessness get off the streets and into housing.
In October 2017, the City received Measure H funding from the County of Los Angeles to develop its Homelessness Strategic Plan, which was developed by the Homelessness Working Group and adopted by the City Council on June 25, 2018.
The community can review documents about the City’s past and ongoing work to address homelessness, including the Homelessness Strategic Plan, community survey results, outreach efforts, and agendas and minutes from public meetings at https://www.malibucity.org/1066/Reference-Documents.