The PPTFH’s Board of Directors was strongly in favor of Measure H on the recent March 7 ballot—the important plan to augment services to L.A. County’s sizable homeless population. We trust you voted for it!
Once again, our Homeless Count in January was beautifully organized. Having many people willing to get up so early and join this counting effort certainly showed that we live in a caring community. And since the numbers of homeless here, camping outdoors or living in vehicles, are significantly down from last year’s estimate, our work in finding housing is clearly succeeding.
Please join us on Monday, April 3rd at the Palisades Library for a panel discussion about panhandling. How should we deal with this prevalent problem—as individuals and as a community? Since we’d like to enlist residents and business owners in helping to solve vagrancy issues, we will appreciate getting your ideas about how to dissuade people from giving handouts, as they inevitably encourage begging. Also, unfortunately, news of Palisades generosity gets around.
In recent months our amazing Outreach Team has brought about some remarkable success stories. We hope to share a variety of them at future meetings and in articles. Since recently housed and perhaps newly employed homeless people often don’t wish to speak publicly or have their identities revealed, we’ll find other ways to tell you about them.
One of our 2017 goals is to add nonmonetary ways to help the homeless when they move into housing, such as providing useful goods like bedding and cookware. We hope to engage the faith community here in helping us put this process in place.
We’re delighted to welcome Christine Taylor as our new Recording Secretary. She comes to us with a marvelous background and brings with her a wonderful sense of joy.
Doug McCormick, President, PPTFH
2017 Homeless Count
Palisades Homeless Count
Toward the end of January, the Palisades conducted a third annual survey to estimate how many homeless people currently were living on its streets, in parklands and other open areas, or else sleeping in vehicles. This effort is the basis for the dollars which the federal government (HUD) will provide funding for housing the chronically homeless. The Count is sponsored by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).
Once again, volunteers in Pacific Palisades signed up to take part in this effort. Before dawn, while most people, including the homeless, were still asleep, 45 Palisadians in warm coats and hats came into Pali High’s Mercer Hall to get instructions, plus fortifying coffee, bagels, and fruit. They would soon go forth to count clearly homeless individuals, whether prone or upright. They would also record the number of tents, other makeshift shelters, and vehicles probably being slept in.
Around 6 a.m. nine teams headed for different parts of town: streets and parks, but also beaches and the bluff and hillside areas where the homeless camp out and may persistently reside. Other volunteers at Mercer Hall headquarters would handle questions coming in from cellphones and prepare to record the field report figures.
We were pleased and relieved when totaling up our volunteers’ reports showed that the Homeless Count here was about 50% lower this year than in the 2015 and 2016 counts. Probably the cold and wet weather in fall and winter somewhat reduced those numbers. But certainly this lowered count is mainly due to the excellent work done last year by a balanced effort between OPCC’s Outreach Team and the enforcement work of the City’s Police and Fire Departments, as well as the Park Rangers.
Our notable record of success, including the evidence coming from this recent Homeless Count, greatly encourages us not only to continue on with the hard work we’ve been doing, but also to expand it in much-needed ways. Our important new focus is on providing move-in assistance (with both useful household goods and required rent deposits) to people we’ve helped to remove from the ranks of the homeless when they were temporarily making Pacific Palisades their outdoor home.
PPTFH’s Enforcement Committee’s Recent Work
PPTFH’s Enforcement Committee
At its February meeting, our Enforcement group had many agenda items. Much attention went to the recently adopted Vehicle Dwelling Ordinance 85.02 that regulates the times and places where homeless persons may park legally on public streets. From 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. they can use their vehicles for housing in most of L.A. except in places with posted parking restrictions and at any time in any place within 500 feet from licensed schools, preschools, daycare facilities, and public parks.
At nighttime, however, they must not remain in residential areas. New maps show places where they can and cannot park their vehicles in the two different time periods. The ordinance became effective on January 7 and will expire on July 1, 2018 unless extended. For more information, go to lacity.org 85.02.
In January the Enforcement team had identified 18 RVs and other vehicles being used as dwellings. Fourteen were parked along PCH south of Gladstone’s, with some staying there for about a year. In February Beach Patrol officers Rusty Redican and Jimmy Soliman worked at night to enforce both the posted signage and the new LAMC 85.02 ordinance. A few homeless persons accepted services, and Glanda and Maureen have begun working with them.
Problems with various chronic homeless in the Palisades community were also discussed. A few had “fallen off the list” of people whom the social workers and LAPD officers had been monitoring. Well-known homeless persons who loiter in the Village and other areas are service-resistant unless they require medical attention; usually, though, they can be verbally engaged. Some commit infractions or crimes that lead to arrest, court appearance, and jailing. People with storefront businesses and residents who experience intrusions should be given copies of the official No Trespass form to post and distribute, since it then allows police officers to make arrests.
—Sharon Kilbride, Chair of PPTFH Enforcement Committee
Our Homeless Outreach Team Update
Our Homeless Outreach Team is making a difference
Our Pacific Palisades Homeless Outreach Team has completed the first year of the three-year commitment. Its second year began on January 1 by operating under a new name: The People Concern. That’s because OPCC (Ocean Park Community Center) has merged with the Lamp Community to create the largest L.A.-based social service agency working among homeless and other indigent, troubled persons. So from now on we’ll refer to “The People Concern Outreach Team.” The name has changed, but we’re retaining our wonderful team members, Glanda Sherman and Maureen Rivas.
In January, despite wind and rain, Glanda and Maureen were out on our streets, bluffs, and beaches to make a total of 63 contacts with homeless people. Six were new contacts, 35 were repeat engagements, and 22 were with our other homeless persons currently in some form of housing. This means that out of the estimated 90 regular Palisades homeless people in our community, our two outreach workers by now have over 50% actively engaged in working toward moving off the streets and into housing. This puts PPTFH slightly ahead of its original “off-the-streets” success benchmark for Year One!
Sadly, four individuals sheltered in previous months returned to Palisades streets. People are free to leave housing: they can’t be forced to stay. But we won’t give up and will continue our outreach efforts to them. Recently, after two service-resistant and highly vulnerable persons died, Glanda and Maureen helped arrange for and then attended their funeral services.
In addition to their regular outreach work, Glanda and Maureen produced PPTFH’s first video interview with one of our homeless people. It was with one of our “success story” people as she moved into her new apartment. The interview was well received at our January meeting. Glanda and Maureen are working now on an interview about panhandling with one of our homeless people. The video will be shown at our April 3rd community meeting—focusing on panhandling in the Palisades.
Sharon Browning, Vice President, PPTFH
PPTFH has a great many appreciative thank-yous and commendations to express publicly.
• For sustenance that morning, to local providers Noah's Bagels, Vons Market, and Ralphs Market; and to Helga Jesson and Sharon Kilbride for arranging for these donated refreshments and also for helping in the setup
• For the use of Mercer Hall during the Count’s past three years: Palisades Charter High School and its manager, Rocky Montz
• For the full support of the LAPD that morning: Officers Michael Moore, Rusty Redican, Jimmy Soloman, and Rick Ballesteros
• For arranging official backing and even helping us during the Count itself: Janet Turner, Field Representative and Constituent Services for Congressman Ted Lieu; Stephanie Cohen, Senior Field Representative for Assemblyman Richard Bloom; and Sharon Shapiro, Field Deputy (Pacific Palisades and Brentwood) from Councilman Mike Bonin’s office (Council District 11)
• For organizing the volunteer process and handling the input data to LAHSA on the day of the Count (and for a third year): Doug and Kristen McCormick
• For serving as the LAHSA Site Coordinators for the Homeless Count in Pacific Palisades: PPTFH Board members Kim Clary and David Morena
• And for braving the cold at 4:30 a.m.: our 45 volunteers from this community—since without their invaluable help, the Count wouldn’t have happened at all!
Introducing Two of Our Founding Donors
Since the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness began its fundraising efforts in the spring of 2015, it has raised approximately $410,000. These funds have been donated by community organizations, homeowners associations, faith-based groups, foundations, and generous individuals.
John and Vicki Cody, longtime residents of Pacific Palisades, are examples of this generosity. John’s family moved here when he was starting grade school, and Vicki has lived in the Palisades since marrying John almost 50 years ago. The Codys have three adult sons with their own families. While the boys were growing up, they supported several charitable causes, but as Vicki put it, “Now that our commitment to our families is complete, we can concentrate more of our energies on charitable giving.” They actively support Catholic education and programs aimed at preventing hunger and homelessness.
When I asked why they became founding donors of PPTFH, John and Vicki agreed that they have been very blessed in their lives and feel a deep responsibility to the community they love. As they walked through town or went to the beach, they became acutely aware of the growing homeless population here and wondered what was being done to alleviate the problem.
After PPTFH was formed in the autumn of 2014, Vicki attended the community meetings and watched the unfolding of its plan to assist the homeless. John became interested when OPCC (now The People Concern) joined the effort. The Codys were already supporters of OPCC and the work it accomplished with the homeless in Santa Monica.
After people the Codys respected became part of PPTFH’s leadership, they made a commitment to support the Task Force. They are among PPTFH’s founding donors. Then noting the accomplishments made by the organization and its Outreach Team during its initial year of operation, the Codys became repeat donors in year two.
PPTFH is grateful to John and Vicki Cody as well as to the many other individuals who support our efforts. Without their generosity, our work could not continue.
Barbara Overland, Fundraising Chair, PPTFH