A homeless man sits on a bench at the Malibu Colony Plaza.

In order to address homelessness in Malibu, Mayor Pro Tem Mikke Pierson made a motion during City Council on Monday, Jan. 13, to schedule a special meeting to discuss the issue. 

In 2019, the increase in homeless individuals in California was higher than that of all other states combined, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last month. In Los Angeles County alone, homelessness increased by 12 percent in 2019, according to government officials. Malibu residents have perceived an increase in the city as well.

“Us—the City of Malibu—and pretty much every city around us across the state, across much of the nation, is dealing with unprecedented homelessness issue. What we’re doing now is definitely, in my opinion, not probably going to sustain us into the future,” Pierson said.

A lot of people don’t know what the city’s doing now, Pierson said, adding that a lot of people don’t understand the laws regarding homelessness. 

Addressing his fellow city council members, Pierson said he imagined many of them were receiving a lot of emails on the topic.

“It’s obviously a huge concern in the City of Malibu,” Pierson said. “And I think it deserves our undivided attention for an evening, to start with.”

The meeting would also allow Malibu citizens to come speak to the council in person with any concerns they have regarding homelessness in the city. Council Member Skylar Peak clarified that the meeting would be an update on what’s going on and what can happen in the future, rather than an actionable item. 

Pierson emphasized that the city is not doing enough to address the issue.

“I think that we’re coming to a place where if we continue to do what we’re doing, the state may very well tell us what to do next, and I think we want to avoid that at all costs,” Pierson said.

There needs to be a larger discussion and decision on the topic, he said.

Council Member Rick Mullen agreed that this is something that needs to be talked about, and the whole community needs to be involved.

“Mikke, I think it’s a good idea and a good initiative. I think this our new big giant grizzly bear to be wrestled in 2020,” Mullen said.

“Well, and I think we all have to acknowledge there’s two sides to this issue,” Mayor Karen Farrer said. “There’s the impact on all of us who live here, and visitors, and then there’s the state of those who are homeless in this community. And it’s definitely less than ideal for all sides.”

Farrer said she appreciated Pierson bringing this item and looks forward to the special meeting.

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