MALIBU—The Malibu City Council will hold a special virtual meeting on Thursday, March 24 at 6 p.m. to review and discuss the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL) Recommended Action Plan provided by the City’s Homelessness Task Force (Task Force). The proposed Action Plan is part of Malibu’s effort to address homelessness, the impact on the community, and the requirements of the 2019 Martin vs. Boise court ruling that prohibits the issuing of tickets or arresting homeless individuals for sleeping or camping on public property if “there are no reasonably accessible shelter beds available as an alternative,” the city of Malibu stated in a news release. Community members are asked to watch and share feedback.
“Malibu is a compassionate community that has been dedicating significant resources toward services and outreach for people experiencing homelessness, but we must also find ways to reduce the very real threat of wildfires starting in homeless encampments in this Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone,” said Mayor Paul Grisanti. “We are one campfire away from another Woolsey Fire that could take lives and destroy homes in Malibu. An Alternative Sleeping Location may or may not be a solution, but we are obliged to consider it as a possibility, and I encourage everyone in the community to weigh in on this important matter.”
ASLs in different communities provide a combination of shelter beds, parking or tent accommodations for individuals experiencing homelessness, with security, lighting, and on-site staff that provide homeless services. Some provide laundry, meals, showers, mail and other comprehensive services.
The staff report, viewing and commenting instructions are posted on the website at www.MalibuCity.org/VirtualMeeting. The meeting can be viewed later on-demand at the same link. Community members can send written comments about the ASL proposal at any time to CityCouncil@MalibuCity.org.
The Task Force was established by the Malibu City Council in July 2021 with a charter that included reviewing and developing recommendations for the ASL concept, including needs and possible implementation in response to the growing homelessness concerns in the region. The Task Force formed the Emergency and Temporary Services Ad Hoc Committee to explore what would be required to establish an ASL and possible costs, report back to the full Task Force to develop a recommendation to the city council on the feasibility of establishing an ASL within or around Malibu.
The Ad Hoc Committee compiled its findings into an ASL Recommended Action Plan after reviewing publicly available information from many sources, having discussions with subject matter experts, and making site visits to existing ASL facilities in other communities. The ASL Recommended Action Plan was designed by Task Force as a guide to implement a primary, secondary, or tertiary plan.
Malibu has been considering an ASL as one option to offer a safe, secure alternative location for homeless people in the city to sleep and to allow the region to more actively remove homeless encampments in order to address the public health and safety threats posed by encampments. In 2021, more than 20 brush fires started in homeless encampments.
Law enforcement agencies throughout the state of California have struggled to enforce ordinances like Malibu’s anti-camping ordinance, citing the Martin vs. Boise court ruling. Having an Alternative Sleeping Location in or near Malibu may address the requirement for nearby shelter beds.
To learn more about Malibu’s efforts to address homelessness at www.MalibuCity.org/Homelessness.