Pasadena homeless population drops

Pasadena Star-News

By Janette Williams

Pasadena – The city’s adult homeless population has decreased for the third year in a row, according to a preliminary report by the Institute for Urban Research and Development.

Pasadena’s annual count in January showed 969 homeless – 722 adults and 214 children – down from 1,165 in 2006 and 1,217 in 2005, said Joe Colletti, the agency’s executive director.

“It’s a shrinking population,” he said. “The methodology of the count can’t answer why, but it can show trends.”

He added, “It’s very clear there’s a significant decrease of African-American women under the age of 40 with children…and of Latino and white women with children, and an overall significant decrease in the number of children. The number of children has gone down by half –in 2005 there were 435.”

The majority of Pasadena’s homeless – 50o4 – is male and white, but on any given day there are almost as many women and children – 465.

The count showed African-American adults account for 29.2 of the homeless population in 2007, down from 36.9 percent in 2005. The number of married homeless declined from 138, or 17.6 percent, in 2005 to 59, or 7.8 percent, this year. At the same time single adult numbers increase from 644, or 82.2 percent in 2005 to 696, or 92.2 percent this year.

Colletti credits local services with continuing to help the homeless get off the streets.

“I think I’m pleased (by the decrease) because clearly homeless service providers are helping people get off the streets,” Colletti said. “Again, what is discouraging is that clearly younger women with children are leaving the city because they no longer can afford to live here.”

Since the homeless count is not a survey, he said, there is only anecdotal information that many families end up going east to Riverside or San Bernardino counties.

“I would say they’re taking their limited income and they’re able to remain precariously housed in those counties,” Colletti said.

The count, a condition of the $3 million in funding received from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was carried out in January by the Pasadena Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Psychiatric Evaluation team, Pacific Clinics and about 20 students from Fuller Theological Seminary, Colletti said.

“We went to pre-identified sites throughout the city – parks and underpasses, open spaces,” he said. The street count was primarily done by the Pasadena police HOPE team.

To prevent duplication, Colletti said each person was given an “identifier” of personal details.

Colletti’s institute is conducting a homeless survey, asking a 20 percent sample of the homeless population about 100 questions focused on healthcare, substance abuse and ties, if any, to Pasadena. He expects it will be completed in July.

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