The paradise of Malibu draws tourists, surfers, Realtors, hoteliers and, of course, those who are unhoused, many of whom claim local ties to the area.
For what seems like forever, those groups have clashed. Homeless individuals have assaulted housed Malibuites; homeless individuals have died in Malibu, many hit by vehicles on PCH. Last November, fires lit by people experiencing homelessness and trying to keep warm caused multiple close calls in Tuna Canyon, causing major safety concerns both for those living in tents there and those living in homes nearby. In the same fire season, in February, a person experiencing homelessness spotted an electrical fire flare up near Malibu Knolls in the darkness and biked to Fire Station 88 to alert firefighters to the blaze.
The city contracts with an outreach group called The People Concern to address issues surrounding homelessness in the community—a population numbering about 150 as of the latest count, with about half living in tents or on the street and half living in vehicles parked along PCH. At 11 a.m. on a Friday, outreach worker Scott Edens spotted a longtime local’s tent behind some foliage.
“Just checking in,” Edens told the man, Don, who greeted him like an old friend. “I know they did a sweep earlier this morning,” Edens said, referring to how officials had cleared the area of homeless people hours earlier. As an outreach worker, one of the ways Edens builds rapport with those he works with is by helping them transport their things if necessary.
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