For a decade, local volunteers have served the homeless on Thursday nights at Webster Elementary School, providing a hot meal and support to those in need.
Now, some Malibu parents are raising alarm over the presence of the homeless on the school property after hours, and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is listening.
A security officer is on duty at Webster Elementary, Carey Upton, director of facility use for SMMUSD told the Santa Monica Daily Press.
Hollie Packman and her husband Danie are the founders of SOS (Standing On Stone), which aims to transition homeless people off the street.
Over the past decade, most Malibu churches and service organizations have supported the work, including local students.
John Ellman, a member of the Malibu Rotary Club who volunteers at SOS, said the opposition seems to be coming more from neighbors who don't like the homeless in their backyard.
"Most of the 'backyard' of Webster School consists of condominiums, and I live in one of them--have since my 35 year old daughter was a student at Webster School," Ellman said in an email to the board of education. "I wouldn't have minded Hollie and SOS being there then, and I don't mind it now."
Hollie Packman said over email she has already taken some measures to reassure parents and neighbors by bringing in volunteer safety officers and arriving earlier to meet people.
"All of these years have been free of any serious incident," Packman said. "We believe this is due to the atmosphere of ownership and responsibility we’ve been able to create as well as a bunch of grace from all parties involved."
Do you support the work of SOS? Tell us in the comments.
[Editors note: Editor Jessica E. Davis volunteers at SOS on Thursday nights from time to time.]