[Updated] Pasadena reported an increase in its homeless count for the first time since 2019, according to a report released on Thursday.
Volunteers counted 556 people experiencing homelessness, up from 512 people in last year’s count.
“While the exact number of people without homes on any given night fluctuates, 556 people were unhoused on the night of the 2023 Homeless Count, a 9% increase over 2022,” the city’s report read.
The City reported 527 people experiencing homelessness in 2020 and 542 in 2019. There was no count in 2021 due to the pandemic.
People experiencing homelessness for the first time, seniors, veterans and those who identify as LGBTQ+ saw the greatest increases in homelessness in 2023.
People experiencing homelessness for the first time in Pasadena increased from 9% to 14% of the count, seniors made up 14% of the count last year, but now account for 18%. Veterans increased from 7% to 11% and 10% of the people counted identified as LGBTQ+, up from 7%.
The count is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in order to receive annual federal Continuum of Care Program funding.
Last year 310 people experiencing homelessness in Pasadena were permanently housed.
The count is typically taken during the last ten days of January.
The goal of the count is to produce a snapshot figure of how many people are homeless across Pasadena on a typical night.
Racial disparities continue to exist for unsheltered African Americans according to the report.
Thirty-percent of the people counted identified as Black or African American.
African Americans only make up about 8% of Pasadena’s general population.
However, the intersectionality of race and homelessness extends beyond the influence of poverty.
Just 10% of people living in poverty in Pasadena identify as African Americans.
Inequities persist across nearly all subpopulations. Black seniors and veterans have some of the greatest disparities, with Black people comprising 41% of both groups. In addition, disparities are more exaggerated among transitional-aged youth (ages 18-24), with Black youth comprising 39% of youth experiencing homelessness, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the percentage of unhoused people identified as Hispanic or Latino returned to pre-pandemic levels.
In the 2022 count, 44% were Hispanic or Latino. The percentage slightly decreased to 38% in 2023, which resembles the 2020 count of 37%.
The percentage is in line, but slightly higher than, the City’s census numbers which reported the demographic as 36% share of the city’s population.
The most significant disparities are observed among families experiencing homelessness, with 70% identifying as Hispanic or Latino, people experiencing first-time homelessness, where 44% are Hispanic or Latino.
These disparities seem to underscore the need for targeted efforts to address the unique needs and barriers faced by Hispanic and Latino people experiencing homelessness in Pasadena.
The share of people experiencing first-time homelessness has not yet reached the pre-pandemic rate of 19%, with 14% being recorded in 2023 (compared to 9% in 2022).
“Factors contributing to housing loss were predominantly economic in nature,” the report said. “A total of 35% of people experiencing homelessness for the first time reported losing their job, while 24% experienced homelessness due to financial reasons, and another 24% experienced homelessness due to COVID-19-related factors. Eviction also played a significant role in people falling into homelessness, accounting for 24% of cases, compared to 17% in 2022.”
The rise in first-time homelessness highlights the ongoing challenges faced by communities in achieving stable housing that requires targeted support for vulnerable populations that encompass economic stability, affordable housing, and robust social support systems.”
More information can also be found at www.pasadenahomelesscount.org.