Pasadena’s homeless count dipped slightly according to a city staff report.
In January, volunteers counted 512 people experiencing homelessness in Pasadena on the night of the count.
The number is slightly down from 2020 when 527 people experiencing homlessness were counted.
According to a city staff report, the number reveals a continued leveling off of the average number of people who are unhoused on a given night over the past three years.
In Pasadena, 32% of the unhoused residents identify as Black or African American despite only representing 8% of Pasadena’s general population. Similarly, people identifying as Hispanic or Latino in Pasadena experience homelessness at disproportionate rates. In 2022, the Hispanic/Latino subpopulation comprised 44% of people experiencing homelessness compared to 37% in 2020, while the overall population of Pasadena is only 33%.
The number of people who lived in Pasadena prior to falling into homelessness is trending upward.
Two in three (66%) people who were unsheltered on the night of the count reported living in Pasadena prior to their housing loss.
Further, three in four (75%) people surveyed indicated they had not slept in any city other than Pasadena in the last week.
On average, unsheltered residents lived in Pasadena for 18 years prior to losing their home, the report said.
“The impact of the pandemic remains to be seen despite this leveling off, as critical tenant protections were still in effect at the time of the count due to the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency,” according to the staff report. “However, homelessness remains a regional and statewide crisis with unacceptably high numbers even though the number of people experiencing homelessness in Pasadena has not grown.”
The staff report also revealed that housing affordability and availability is the root cause of homelessness.
“In order to affect increased and lasting change, serious efforts must be made to confront and mitigate the systemic underlying root causes of homelessness,” the report reads. “Structural forces such as high housing costs, low vacancy rates, and wages that cannot keep up with rising rents drive high rates of homelessness, not individual failings. While our community has invested more heavily than ever in the homelessness response system, it continues to bear the challenges and failures of other existing systems. The best way to help bring our neighbors home is to provide long-term, affordable housing as a building block for stabilization, recovery, and healing.”
The Homeless Count measures the prevalence of homelessness in Pasadena on a single night within the last ten days of January, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
To collect the figures for the “unsheltered” count, community volunteers and professional outreach teams survey people sleeping outdoors, on the street, in parks and vehicles, and other areas not meant for human habitation.
The “sheltered” count, on the other hand, uses client-level data entered into the database used by homeless service providers to collect information on people who are staying in temporary shelter locations, including congregate emergency shelters, transitional housing, and hotels or motels.
People who are living doubled-up with family or friends or who are couch surfing are not included in the count, as the HUD considers these individuals to be at-risk of homelessness and not literally homeless.
“While homelessness is a complex humanitarian crisis with many contributing factors, there is one indisputable solution we know ends a person’s homelessness: A home,” the staff report reads. “Despite being in a pandemic for over two years, people are successfully getting connected to the services they need and continue to permanently exit homelessness.
“Understanding the critical role supportive and affordable housing play in solving the homelessness crisis, in addition to low-barrier supportive services, is the key to bringing our unhoused neighbors inside. Moreover, providing people with a safe, stable, permanent home in which to live is a proven solution to ending homelessness.”
The full 2022 Homeless Count Report is available for public viewing on the Pasadena Partnership to End Homelessness website at: https://www.