A city hearing officer has ruled that a conditional use permit be awarded to All Saints Church for a temporary homeless shelter, which will house up to 12 homeless people working toward permanent housing for four months.
People staying in the shelter would have access to designated sleeping areas from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
According to the 2020 homeless count, up to 527 people experience homelessness on any given night in Pasadena.
“It was decided by the Hearing Officer that the Conditional Use Permit be approved.” wrote Hearing Officer Paul Novak.
The CUP must be put into action within the three years and is eligible for two one-year extensions.
The city added three additional conditions for approval prior to the meeting which mandate all participants be required to agree to the “Safe Haven Bridge to Housing Covenant Expectation and Ground Rules” prior to residing at the shelter.
A copy of each signed agreement will be on file at the All Saints Church campus and at the Union Station Homeless Services office for the duration of the participant’s residency at the shelter.
The city zoning administrator will be notified about any changes to the “Safe Haven Bridge to Housing Covenant Expectation and Ground Rules,” which will state that “Caseworkers will coordinate participants with drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and mental health services, as needed.”
Local residents expressed support for the shelter in correspondence to the hearing officer. The Planning Department received more than 25 letters, most of the signatures came on copies of a widely distributed form letter.
“It is not a direct road nor a smooth road necessarily when working with men and women who have been unhoused for years,” wrote MaryAnn Ahart, who attends All Saints.
“All Saints has sought counsel in how to do this wisely and most effectively from multiple sources. They have been successful in working with many of this community, getting half of the first group into housing so far,” Ahart wrote.
“This is a model that works and should be encouraged. I ask you to grant the Minor Conditional Use Permit to All Saints for their Safe Haven Bridge to Housing program. It is one thing we can do to live out our commitment to Courageous Justice for those who are struggling with housing and other issues now. It is not the ultimate solution but it will make a difference in the lives of those we can serve,” Ahart wrote.
According to the conditions of approval, the sleeping area would be located outside under a covered colonnade adjacent to Regas Hall.
Union Station Homeless Services will partner with All Saints Church to provide on-site services, such as community education, case management, and housing navigation services.
As part of the program at All Saints, participants must agree to not loiter, play loud music, or have disruptive or damaging conduct anywhere on or near the property.
Furthermore, as part of the commitment to the program, participants would attend weekly meetings with Safe Haven Bridge to Housing program staff within the church’s courtyard area.
“All people have a right to safe, affordable housing,” wrote Vivianne Parker. “ My faith tells me that we all belong to each other and cannot turn a blind eye to the pain of my brothers, sisters, and gender fluid siblings who live on the streets of our city. It has excellent and experienced leadership. The program was developed in partnership with Union Station Homeless Services, the leading organization in the San Gabriel Valley, with years of expertise and knowledge about the condition of homelessness.”
On Dec. 14, the City Council authorized the city manager to enter into a funding contract with Union Station to provide necessary services to facilitate the movement of people experiencing homelessness who are living on the properties of religious institutions into permanent housing.
All Saints contacted Union Station to seek their support serving the individuals sleeping on the church’s campus. Together, the organizations developed the “Safe Bridge to Housing” program. The program provides participants with a safe outdoor sleeping space with access to specialized care coordination, and case management and housing navigation services from a Union Station staff member. The program is designed to move each participant from homelessness to permanent housing.