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Bad Weather Shelter for Homeless on Monday’s Council Agenda

Published on Monday, December 4, 2023 | 5:21 am

According to a City staff report, the City has selected Trinity Lutheran Church to host the City’s Bad Weather Shelter.

“Upon receipt of the two responses to the City’s most recent winter shelter site RFI, staff conducted an analysis of various features, including bed capacity, site availability, the opportunity for multi-year use, location, rent, available space, required capital improvements, zoning and surrounding uses, as well as proximity to homeless services and public transportation. 

After review of the available information, staff concluded Trinity Lutheran Church was the most conducive site to host the shelter during the 2023-2024 winter season and beyond,” according to the report. 

Two community meetings were held in the church gym where the shelter would be located on September 12 and September 21, 2023 to engage surrounding residents and businesses about the proposed use of the property and hear concerns. Staff also met with the Playhouse Village Safety Committee as a key stakeholder in the area. 

Following these meetings, staff coordinated with the church, Fire Department, Planning and Community Development Department and Public Health Department to identify necessary building improvements and requirements that need to be addressed before the shelter can open. Based on quotes gathered and provided by the church, it is estimated that collectively the capital improvements will not exceed $275,000.

The City Council will vote to authorize the City Manager to enter into a $275,000 contract with Trinity Evangelical Lutheran to provide necessary capital improvements to support the operation of a congregate winter shelter.

The contract will end on Dec. 31, 2024.

The Consent Calendar vote will also authorize the City Manager to enter into a contract with Friends In Deed to provide weather-activated motel vouchers and operate a congregate winter shelter, for a contract term of five years with a total contract amount not-to-exceed $1,900,000 consisting of $380,000 from the Housing Department’s Fiscal Year 2024 Operating Budget plus funding for the balance of the contract term which shall be subject to City budget appropriations. 

In July 2023, the Department released a Request for Proposals (RFP) that was open to non-profit organizations and homeless service providers that are experienced in providing congregate emergency shelter services to people experiencing homelessness with the primary objective of selecting a program operator that would be responsible for administering a low-barrier congregate winter shelter program. Friends In Deed was the only entity to submit a proposal.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pasadena’s seasonal winter shelter (the Bad Weather Shelter) was operated by Friends In Deed for over 30 years out of a local church gym.

After over three decades, Friends In Deed lost its long-time lease of a church gym in March 2020. 

Friends In Deed began offering the Bad Weather Shelter in 1988 after a man experiencing homelessness died from sleeping outside on a bus bench during freezing weather. The nonprofit stepped forward to offer a reprieve from inclement weather for the unhoused members of the local community.

The shelter was located at Pasadena Covenant Church on Lake Avenue.

The new shelter would continue to be operated by Friends In Deed.

Earlier this year the nonprofit’s executive director told Pasadena Now that he was forced to ration funds which meant some people may not receive assistance.

After the comment, Mayor Victor Gordo and City Manager Miguel Márquez immediately began making plans to make sure the nonprofit would receive additional funds.

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