Pasadena Homeless Count Drops Sharply

first_imgGovernment Pasadena Homeless Count Drops Sharply Pasadena’s declines in homelessness in recent years are in sharp contrast to the County’s increases By RON ROKHY with DAVID CROSS | Graphics by the PASADENA PARTNERSHIP TO END HOMELESSNESS Published on Thursday, September 15, 2016 | 1:59 pm Community News A Pasadena Commission heard Wednesday that the number of homeless in Pasadena dropped by 16 percent to 530 in 2016, down 56 percent from the all-time high of 1,216 in 2011.According to the report, the biggest subgroups found and surveyed are chronically homeless individuals (225), people with mental health problems (149) and people with chronic health conditions (154).The survey was the result of a collaborative effort between the Pasadena Partnership to End Homelessness, Urban Initiatives and the City of Pasadena’s Housing Department. The results of the 2016 Homeless Count Survey were presented as an informational item to the Human Service Commission.By contrast, the total estimated number of homeless people in Los Angeles County grew 5.7 percent in the same time frame, according to a just-released report.Pasadena’s report breaks down the homeless population into two categories — sheltered and unsheltered. Those counted as “homeless” include people living in places not meant for human habitation and those residing in shelters.Among the findings was a 14 percent increase in the number of chronically homeless individuals.Ann Lansing, a Project Planner for Pasadena Housing Department, said that chronically homeless people may recover from homelessness only to find themselves in the same situation later.“In the Pasadena Continuum of Care, eight percent of the persons who exit homelessness return within two years,” Lansing said. “Those persons may be considered chronic once they return to homelessness, depending on how many times the person had been homeless prior to getting housed.”Sofia Herrera, spokesperson for the Urban Initiative, a nonprofit organization that helped coordinate and conduct the survey, said that Pasadena is one of the first cities to manage an accurate homeless count after realizing the United States government wasn’t doing a good job of it via the census.“In Pasadena, we have been doing this since 1992. We were one of the first jurisdictions in the nation to be conducting a homeless count,” Herrera said. “Pasadena has been very consistent in the last 20 years in conducting a homeless count. The methodology is probably one of the most consistent in the United States in terms of keeping accurate numbers.”Herrera said that chronically homeless people make up the biggest portion because those who have stayed out on the streets the longest are the hardest to get off the streets — but their numbers are slowly decreasing overall despite an uptick in 2016.“Those who are chronically homeless make up a higher percentage of those who are in shelters,” she said. “We have been very good at decreasing their numbers.”According to the report, the methodology of the survey involved sending about 130 volunteers into 16 city zones to count homeless people and categorize them by gender, race, age, the state they were born into and the first initial of their first and last names.Broken down by ethnicity, the report found that homeless persons in Pasadena were comprised of 26 percent Latino, 40 percent African-American, 53 percent White and 1 percent Asian.To count the population in more dangerous places such as alleys, freeways and freeway embankments, police are used even though volunteers are put through a safety orientation, according to Herrera.“Safety comes first. We don’t want to send the average person in those areas,” Herrera said. “We send a team within the Pasadena Police Department that is very active in the count. It is very natural for them to go out to the outlying areas where we don’t want to send volunteers.”Though Pasadena’s overall homeless population decreased from 2015 to 2016, the number of unaccompanied children has remained relatively unchanged compared to last year’s count of four, according to the report.“Some of the reasons that could make a youth homeless are running away from home due to a history of trauma in their family or they could have been abandoned,” Herrera said. “We need to react properly if we find a youth on the street because we want to make sure they aren’t being abused by human traffickers.” Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Subscribe 0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Top of the News Your email address will not be published. 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