As Homelessness Rebounds in Pasadena, the City Reaches Out to Residents to Become Part of the Solution

Published : Monday, May 28, 2018 | 8:36 PM

[Updated]  The City of Pasadena is appealing to Pasadenans to come to a Wednesday forum to join with the City in addressing homelessness, neighborhood by neighborhood.

Officials said that after years of declines, Pasadena’s homeless count has increased and the homeless are more visible in the City than in the past.

The most recent count showed that, despite a broad range of mitigation efforts, the number of homeless counted in Pasadena grew from 503 in 2016 to 677 in 2018.

“Although homelessness is on the rise in Pasadena, it is still a very solvable problem. We have been leaders in reducing homeless before, and we can do it again,” said Jennifer O’Reilly-Jones, Program Coordinator at the City of Pasadena.

The forum, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Donald Wright Auditorium at the Pasadena Central Library, is called “Addressing Rising Homelessness in Pasadena. It will offer participants the chance to learn about the City’s strategies to reduce homelessness and to understand the changing demographics of Pasadena’s homeless population.

“We know that Pasadena’s residents are concerned about homelessness, but they don’t necessarily know what is being done and how they can get involved,” O’Reilly-Jones said. “We want to bring our community members into the conversation and into the solution.”

O’Reilly-Jones, whose professional experience includes working with the homeless at Friends In Deed and Union Station Homeless Services, said that participants will learn ways in which people can get involved to directly help those in need.

“We will be discussing how residents can get outreach teams to those experiencing homelessness in their neighborhoods,” she said, “and what types of projects need the most community support to make the biggest impact in solving this growing problem in our city.”

O’Reilly-Jones said that the Housing Department wants to tell the public about the City’s strategies and “how we will be putting to use close to a million dollars of Measure H funding.”

In previewing the forum, O’Reilly-Jones sounded upbeat.

“Between 2011 and 2016 homelessness in Pasadena decreased by over 50%, in large part due to our willingness to adopt innovative approaches to ending homelessness such as the Housing First philosophy. We know what works, we know how to do it, and we have new resources such as Measure H funding to get it done,” she said. “We need the support of residents and community stakeholders to reduce homelessness significantly once again.”

The event will feature a conversation moderated by Dan Davidson, lead pastor at Rose City Church and executive director of Rosebud Coffee. Panelists will include:

  • Housing Department Program Coordinator Jennifer O’Reilly-Jones
  • Fuller Seminary Urban Initiatives Associate Director Sofia Herrera
  • Union Station Homeless Services Program Manager Keith Hendriksen
  • Pasadena Police Department HOPE Team Officer Mark Goodman
  • June Carr, Formerly Homeless Community Member

The workshop is scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium in Pasadena’s, Central Library, 285 E Walnut St.