By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may have halted many things, but it has not slowed down the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, with a team that has continuously provided its services to both individuals experiencing homelessness and the Palisades as a whole.
Co-Presidents Sharon Browning and Sharon Kilbride shared the task force engaged 672 individuals who came into the Palisades in 2020, as well as helped 141 people get off the streets and move 90 individuals into permanent housing.
Since the start of the new year, PPTFH has consistently seen about 15 new individuals each month.
“We’re having more people come into the area, particularly during the daytime,” Browning said to the Palisadian-Post. “This is happening throughout the Westside and all of Los Angeles.”
The task force has also dealt with an uptick of car dwellers in the Palisades, including Albright Street and an area in the Marquez neighborhood.
According to LA Municipal Code, individuals living in a vehicle where there are no parking restrictions cannot be removed during the pandemic, but their vehicle must be moved every 72 hours. The vehicle can only be cited when the vehicle registration has expired beyond six months.
“I’d say we’re seeing about … six new people every month coming in and living in their cars,” Kilbride said. “If they are in a non-restricted parking area, there’s not a lot [neighbors] can do but a lot of streets in the Palisades do have parking restrictions.
“When we know that they are on the streets and if the community lets us know somebody is there permanently … then it’s helpful because [we] can launch the outreach team to work more intently with those people.”
Browning said the community has been proactive about reaching out to the task force and letting them know if they see someone who appears to need help; the task force in turn dispatches its first responder team or LAPD if available.
“We try to get there as soon as we possibly can, then email the resident back to give them closure on what we’re doing,” Browning explained. “We really appreciate that, and that’s a new trend we’re seeing. It may be that the community is more aware of us now, which is a good thing, we need the community’s support and knowledge of us.”
Browning shared that PPTFH community meetings, which are currently taking place in a virtual fashion, are being attended regularly by nearly 80 people.
“We’re having people attend our meetings not only within the Palisades area but the whole Westside now,” she said.
Browning added PPTFH needs additional volunteers to continue helping the community. She said all positions are open but the task force particularly needs graphic artists, event planners, project managers, tech-savvy individuals, first responder team members and more.
Browning said the best way to express interest in volunteering is to visit PPTFH.org, click “Contribute” and fill out the form to join the “Volunteer Village.”
From there, the task force will respond, then help find the most fitting position for the individual and mentor them in that role.
“We need more hands,” Browning concluded. “COVID restricted a number of our volunteers from working. We need to refill those ranks and we need to be looking for the future. Part of the joy of working on this project is you can really see what it is doing for the community … it’s great to see our community be informed and come together.”
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