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Thursday, June 15, 2017
Malibu Helps The Homeless/
The Comforts Of Home
Seven Malibu homeless have now found permanent homes — including Kevin, who invited us in for a look.
By Jimy Tallal / Special to The Malibu Times
Photos by Jimy Tallal / TMT
Kevin’s new home, where he has lived for four months, is light and bright, located on a tree-lined street in Koreatown, within walking distance of grocery stores.
So far, seven formerly homeless people have found new homes and new lives off the streets thanks to the fundraising and programs put in place by the Malibu Task Force on Homelessness (MTFH), including one local man who goes simply by the name Kevin.
Kevin was homeless for 17 years (the last five years in Malibu) before finding permanent housing.
Visiting with Kevin, 57, in his new one-room apartment with hardwood floors, a bathroom and small kitchen on a tree-lined street in Koreatown, he said he is grateful to have had a real roof over his head since moving in four months ago.
“I love it,” he said with enthusiasm. “A shower with hot water — thank you! A refrigerator — thank you! Clean socks — thank you! You have no idea how important the simple things are until you lose them.”
Most of Kevin’s time homeless was spent living in a small tent and cooking with a camp stove. Originally from the Riverside area, he became homeless when his “wife passed away and everything fell apart,” he described.
“I gave up two houses and stopped caring about anything and became an alcoholic in the street,” he said. Eventually, he found a new girlfriend, but she also passed away.
He ended up in Malibu with the idea of walking to San Francisco, which didn’t happen.
“One day just leads into the next,” he noted.
In the meantime, MTFH raised enough money to hire two fulltime outreach workers with a van through The People Concern organization based in Santa Monica. The “boots on the ground” team has been actively reaching out to the homeless since last fall.
Social worker Alex Gittinger became a member of Malibu’s outreach team at the start of this year.
“I’m most surprised and happy about the willingness of Malibu community to help and give,” he said. “Quite often, I go to the Wednesday night dinners [for the homeless, at Malibu United Methodist Church].”