Pasadena Domestic Violence, Homeless Shelter Programs Get $5.7 Million in State, Federal Grants

“We're excited,” said one city administrator. “It's quite an increase [over] what we've been able to fund in the past."

Published : Saturday, February 16, 2019 | 5:37 AM

A homeless couple receive help from a passing stranger on Colorado Blvd. in 2015. Photo for Pasadena Now by Rachel Young.

Local domestic violence assistance and permanent and emergency shelter operations programs for the homeless will get a big boost from three separate awards granted to the City of Pasadena.

More than $5 million in grants with $3 million coming from federal agencies was awarded to the city, which mainly will be put to use for additional staff and resources to help get people off the streets.

The grant awards which were announced Feb. 14 by William Huang, director of housing for the City of Pasadena, are from the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), the State of California Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency (BSCSH), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Among the local organizations that receive funds are Pasadena-based Continuum of Care and Union Station Homeless Services programs.

“We are excited to hear about the grant funds awarded to the City of Pasadena,” said Anne Miskey, Union Station CEO in a statement. “We know that this is a testament to the great work and results being done to prevent and end homelessness. We are pleased to be awarded some of these funds and will continue the long history of excellent services we have provided and look forward to working together with the partners in our city and broader community in ending homelessness.”

Pasadena Continuum of Care received $3.56 million from HUD to provide housing and support services to homeless individuals and families. The Continuum of Care is led by the Pasadena Partnership to End Homelessness, with City of Pasadena acting as the lead agency.

The HUD award will fund 13 Continuum of Care projects. Continuum of Care is a community-wide planning body administered by the city that oversees and funds homeless services in Pasadena.

“This year we were awarded a [$144,511] bonus grant for a domestic violence program operated by Union Station homeless services,” said Jenni O’Reilly Jones, homeless programs coordinator with the City of Pasadena.

“There will be specified supportive services for people who are survivors of domestic violence, those fleeing domestic violence and the grant will link our two services so we can facilitate referrals between the two services more easily. And it will help to fund clinical supervision. There will be increased capacity to help survivors of domestic violence.”

County-wide domestic violence has been an issue that has needed attention, O’Reilly-Jones said. “It’s a new focus and I think it’s really needed and we will be able to provide better services.”

“But additionally I’m excited about the HEAP funding of $1.4 million meant to meet emergency needs among people experiencing homelessness,” she said. “We’ll be putting a large portion of that towards emergency shelter which will look like motel vouchers. “We wanted to quickly bring in people off the streets and bring them inside where they’re safe and they can start to focus on services getting linked to permanent housing.”

O’Reilly-Jones said the COC will find non-profits to administer the vouchers.

Additionally, the COC will get state funds.

“We’re going to be using a large portion of the CESH funding (California Emergency Solutions and Housing) for different types of homelessness prevention so we’re reallly ramping up our investment in homelessness intervention services.”

For homeless intervention, the two tactics are financial assistance for families who experience a shock like a layoff in which they would receive short-term assistance to prevent eviction. Another program will be legal services like eviction defense. O’Reilly-Jones said they will be also be looking at how the COC eviction defense program will fit in with county-wide eviction defense initiative known as Measure H.

California HCD awarded the City $720,243 in new funding to be spent over the next five years for specific programs to prevent and to combat homelessness. Some of the funds are expected to partially fund a new city staff person within the Department of Housing who will assist in planning activities.

Grant funds will provide funding to fiscal year 2020 through fiscal year 2024.

Some of the funds will go to capital improvements that will improve access to and services of local non-profits serving people experiencing homelessness.

The remainder of these funds will be allocated to a qualified consultant, who will aid the City in a community engagement strategy to educate Pasadena residents about homelessness and relevant solutions such as permanent supportive housing. Grant funds will provide funding to FY 2020 and FY 2021.

“It’s tough for out there for all sorts of folks,” O’Reilly-Jones said. For working folks families, seniors so many people are one paycheck or shock or illness away from homelessness. It’s really important to remember these are our neighbors who need help, they’re people we went to high school with or people who work with us in the office, so we’re excited to bring this infusion of resources to our city. It’s quite an increase [over] what we’ve been able to fund in the past.”