With the cognizance that Malibu is a place where many wish to live, Malibu C.A.R.T. (Malibu Community Assistance Resource Team) has discerned that this desire doesn’t exclude people who are struggling with homelessness. Founded by longtime Malibu resident and activist Carol Moss, Malibu C.A.R.T. aims to educate, serve and support individuals who are unhoused or struggle to maintain sustainment.
Moss always believed that impacting one area of a community will impact another. Her mission to address the homeless and provide them with the resources necessary to obtain a preferable lifestyle coincided with a mission to better the Malibu community for its residents.
“You need to be able to balance the needs of the immediate community while balancing the needs of the greater community,” says Terry Davis, current president of Malibu C.A.R.T.
Recalling a comical anecdote of Moss referring to herself as a Jewish-Buddhist, Davis admired her for treating the community like her home.
“She welcomed absolutely everyone. For over 20 years, she’d open her home on Thursday evenings and lead a meditation. She’d even let people without homes stay there. Her home was your home [regardless of who you were]. I miss her.”
Following the footsteps of her predecessor and keeping Moss’ legend alive, Davis feels inspired to continue to open the doors of Malibu C.A.R.T.’s home to any and everyone who wants to acknowledge and assist in changing the issues the unhoused community faces on a daily basis.
“Think about the things that you take for granted versus when you have nothing,” says Davis. “A lot of the time, these people are receiving stipends—now, that may cover little things like getting a bed and a couch or some towels; but what about everything else? What about dishes, cups and silverware, or even something as small as a broom?”
When it comes to being able to support the unhoused community and contributing to the success of their sustainment, Malibu C.A.R.T. has their communal partners to thank. Receiving donations and fundraising from neighbors and community leaders, and with the combined efforts of the city’s outreach team: The People’s Concern, Venice Family Clinic, St. Joseph’s Center, and the Department of Public Health, this program helps house and feed those in need.
Acting with great emphasis on interconnection, Davis and her team intend to start an important conversation: that just like us, the homeless are people too. It is time to acknowledge their humanity.
“It may not always be safe to cross paths with someone who is homeless, but keep in mind that this is often not by choice for them. A smile or a ‘hello’ could go a long way. It’s a basic human need to have that kind of connection.”
Whether it’s a conversation over the weekly meals provided by Malibu C.A.R.T. or an event during one of their Connect Days, the unhoused community is promised a chance at what Davis calls an “incredible collaboration.”
“Our Connect Days have helped with providing IDs and licenses with the help of the Department of Motor Vehicles. We partner with medical services to make sure they’re getting the attention they need. We offer free haircuts,” proclaims Davis. “It really is a one-stop shop for guests who typically don’t have access to local services to get the help and tools they need. It’s also a chance for us to sit down with the guests and really interact and to build trust with these interactions.”
Since its inception as a nonprofit in 2015, this program has seen tremendous success.
“I truly believe that mostly everyone wants to help and feels compassion for those that are unfortunate. It’s become an amazing thing to see unfold because the more help that we are providing, the more that we are starting to see that we are less needed. We, as a community, are helping people get off the streets,” notes Davis.
Welcoming volunteers to help at the lunches and dinners, the Malibu C.A.R.T. team serves as a reminder of our shared responsibility to help make a difference. We must have the willingness to share responsibility for humanity and help alleviate this existing crisis, she adds.
For more information, to make a donation and learn about volunteering opportunities, visit MalibuCART.org.