Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness to Restructure

Members of the Task Force on Homelessness worked to get Timmy off the streets. He resisted the PPTFH efforts and died on the streets.

Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness (PPTFH) will restructure. The nonprofit will phase out all fiscal operations by June 1, community forums and outreach engagements by December 31, 2023.

The remaining donated funds will go to The People Concern who will manage the funds. All future contributions to support homeless outreach services here will be donated directly to The People Concern but earmarked for Pacific Palisades.

The People Concern outreach team services will continue as long as funding is available.

“This is an opportunity for our community to rethink how it wants to address homelessness in Pacific Palisades today and over the next 10 years,” said PPTFH co-president Sharon Browning.

Many newcomers may not remember Pacific Palisades in 2013, when the homeless were everywhere.

There were numerous individuals squatting on streets and camped in the hillsides along Temescal Canyon Road. There were tents on the beach and entire communities living in the parkland below Via de las Olas. There were people living in the park at the Palisades Recreation Center.

After several fires were set by “campers,” a homeless man continued to masturbate near Corpus Christi School and another homeless person grabbed a young boy by Noah’s Bagels on Antioch, the community came together at a community council meeting and demanded the City do something.

This campsite was cleaned: more than eight large garbage bags were filled.

City officials said there was nothing they could do: it wasn’t a crime to be homeless.

Subsequently, the Pacific Palisades Task Force was formed in 2014 by volunteers, who wanted to ensure children and adults were safe. Everyone wanted to compassionately help those who were on the street.

The first challenge was getting signs approved that prohibited camping in the very high fire severity zone of the hillsides surrounding the Palisades.

More than $200,000 was raised to hire two social workers from The People Concern to do outreach for the homeless. The first LAPD Beach detail was assigned to enforce “no camping.”

Volunteers removed tons of garbage from abandoned campsites in the local parkland so that it could be restored as a natural habitat.

Sharon Kilbride, who worked with LAPD and The People’s Concern social workers, said that in the beginning the PPTFH was like the children’s book, “The Little Engine that Could.”

“We didn’t think we could do it, but we did,” Kilbride said.

And they did so with compassion, helping one soul at a time.

Volunteers helped some people return home. They helped some families reunite and they helped others find housing and shelter.

The group made such a difference that in 2015 they were given a Pacific Palisades Community council award “Pride of the Palisades.”

Co-president Sharon Browning, who took over that role more than five years ago, worked with local funding partners and donors and oversaw a newsletter and found community forum speakers to address the various difficulties facing the tack force volunteers.

Before Covid, there were ample volunteers, but during the pandemic and in the past year, the number of volunteers declined. The group has sought a volunteer treasurer for the past six months. No one has stepped up except those wanting to be paid.

Kilbride, who works seven days a week and is on call 24/7 with this volunteer job, told Circling the News: “I’m burned. We need new leadership and volunteers.”

In a prepared statement PPTFH stated, we have “been unable to recruit volunteers who will continue our mission and lead in the coming years. This volunteer vacuum requires that PPTFH make timely, responsible adjustments as many of our Board members and volunteers move on, with no qualified replacements.”

Kilbride, who was named Citizen of the Year (2015) for her efforts, said her vision is that the work will continue. “It’s not the end; it’s just restructuring.” She said they’ll still need people in the community to make hygiene kits and to make the sack lunches.

Browning said, “The solution rests in the hands of the community.” She’s hoping a mom’s group will step up. “The children will see their moms doing this for the community and ultimately for their kids.”

The hard work has been done the past 10 years. PPTFH has a methodology that works, the funding is in place, a three-person outreach team exists, the police department is on board, and the community understands the importance of the group.

When the group first started, they had nothing. The group had an idea they wanted to make the community better and help those in need. They have succeeded beyond the wildest expectations. Is it your time to help?

The board wrote: “we will support and help train any new, local, Pacific Palisades homelessness outreach program that is created to further this mission. Visit: palisadeshomeless.org.

This fire in the Via de las Olas bluffs was started by a homeless fire.

 

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2 Responses to Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness to Restructure

  1. Denise Doyen says:

    As a longtime monthly contributor to PPTFH, I’m sad to hear that after so much hard work and transformation, they have been unable to recruit the next round of community volunteers. Perhaps this article or the move toward disbanding as a local entity will encourage some folks with the time, empathy, and desire to step forward.

    Thank you, Sharons K and B, and others who have worked on the task force for your time and efforts. It made a difference.

  2. 'joy' says:

    The Task Force and its staff have made an indelible difference in the Palisades. I remember how it was before the Task Force began its one-on-one program. Just below Tahitian Terrace on the Temescal side, 6 dump trucks cleared out a permanent encampment. Remember the cement stairs over on PCH where some homeless folks even had TV, as I recall. The many little cooking/heating fires that could have raged up the hill to disaster are very few-if any- now. The Task Force cut through red tape and improved the lives of all concerned. They accomplished more as volunteers than most of the paid governmental staffs did. Thank you all for everything you accomplished!

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