Volunteers collect data on Pasadena homeless population (Pasadena Star News)

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PASADENA >> Dozens of volunteers and officials scoured the streets and shelters of Pasadena on Wednesday to document the local homeless population with the goal of improving services and reducing homelessness.

In addition to merely counting the number of people living without homes, volunteers collect demographic and background information — such as age, history of mental illness or military service — to gain insight into the current level of need and target resources to those areas, said Fuller Theological Seminary Office for Urban Initiatives Director Joe Colletti said.

“A good example is veterans,” he said. “In 2011, we counted 104 (homeless) veterans. And last year, the number was down to 38. We’re making huge progress with homeless veterans.”

Pasadena Homeless County Results, 2011-2013

YEAR: Counted homeless population

2011: 1,216

2012: 904

2013: 772

2014: 666

*Information based on Pasadena Homeless County

The results of the 2015 count aren’t expected to be available until March, Colletti said. But previous count showed a steadily decreasing homeless population in Pasadena between 2011, when homeless spiked at 1,216 people counted. The 2014 homeless county found 666 homeless people living in Pasadena, down 45 percent, Colletti said.

Pasadena adopted a 10-year plan to combat homelessness in 2005, Colletti said. The 2015 count will provide insight into how well the plan has worked.

Fuller Theological Seminary helped organize much of the count for the city, along with the Pasadena Partnership to End Homelessness, Colletti said.

Count volunteers divided into teams and split the city into 16 sectors to systematically search. The neighborhood checks were primarily conducted early in the morning, then again Wednesday night. Pasadena police and officials from Union Station homeless service also took part in the count, checking parks and other areas no searched by the volunteers.

Volunteers Mayra Macido-Nolan, who serves as community outreach pastor at the Lake Avenue Church, and Dave Klug, of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, teamed up to fill out surveys north of Colorado Boulevard, between Los Robles and Fair Oaks Avenue Wednesday night.

They found seven homeless people, all of them adults. Two were sleeping, and most declined to answer detailed survey questions.

Macido-Nolan and Klug performed a patrol of the same route early Wednesday morning.

As the rolled her wheelchair near the Pasadena Public Library, Allie, who asked that her last name be withheld, shared her experience in her 14 months on the streets of Pasadena.

She now sleeps under the stars in the company of friends. She said she doesn’t like the shelters because they’re too crowded and she’s been stolen from at them.

Allie said she was skeptical of numbers showing a decreasing homeless population in Pasadena, as she hasn’t found that to be the case in her experience. “There’s so many people that struggle,” she said.

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Brian Day
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