“A homeless man who’d been living in a tent behind the Malibu Library for the past two years, Rigo Veloso, 47, finally has a roof over his head and is living his dream of staying in the Malibu area. His new landlord, longtime local resident Colin Dangaard, owns a small horse ranch off Kanan Dume Road. Dangaard remodeled a portion of an existing two-story building with horse stables below and rooms above into an efficiency apartment. Veloso moved in on December 1, and pays rent with $1,100 per month in government housing vouchers.
“I’m shocked that I’m the only person who has taken in a homeless person [with housing vouchers] in the Malibu area so far,” Dangaard said. “Being homeless could happen to anybody. I made my point [by renting to Veloso], and I hope I’ll start something. The homeless are often just the victims of circumstance—it doesn’t mean they’re bad people.”
Alex Gittinger, one of Malibu’s two homeless outreach workers with The People Concern, signed Veloso up for various homeless services, including the housing voucher program, which can be a lengthy and bureaucratic process. But having the housing vouchers doesn’t mean that just any landlord will take them—it’s still not easy to find a rental in LA County for $1,100/month.
“It’s my hope that this may catch on, and that once people hear about this story, others will come forward willing to rent to the homeless,” Gittinger said. “It’s especially difficult for homeless who have become part of the Malibu community. Among the homeless in Malibu, we have about five individuals, some here for 30 years, who are getting too old to live on the street and don’t want to move anywhere else.”
Veloso told the story of how he became homeless, what homeless life in Malibu was like and how he finally found a home after two years. “