Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) will make grants totaling more than $500,000 to address the crisis of homelessness in Pasadena and its surrounding communities. The San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity and Salvation Army will receive grants to build new permanent supportive housing in Pasadena for people experiencing homelessness. PCF worked closely with the City of Pasadena Housing Office and Housing Director Bill Huang to evaluate the city’s current needs and assess how funds from PCF could be used to the greatest impact.
“PCF has long supported organizations serving our neighbors experiencing homelessness,” said Jennifer DeVoll, Pasadena Community Foundation president and CEO. “In the past three months, the PCF COVID-19 Response Fund allowed us to respond to immediate needs related to the pandemic and increase our support for local nonprofits that provide food, temporary shelter, and social services to our most vulnerable populations.”
“Planning for this housing initiative was underway prior to the COVID-19 crisis. With the economic fallout from the pandemic expected to last for years, these projects are more critical than ever to address current and future needs,” DeVoll continued. “These grants extend our funding from emergency shelter to longer term solutions like permanent supportive housing, which is one of the most effective tools to break the cycle of homelessness.”
San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity will receive a grant to add a studio apartment accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to a single-family home to house four women exiting homelessness. Habitat undertook the project in partnership with the City of Pasadena, which purchased the home from Cal-Trans. In the two years since California legalized the construction of ADUs in all cities, building permits for ADUs increased by 3000% in Los Angeles, demonstrating their potential to ease the housing shortages that plague Pasadena. This project will serve as a pilot for future Habitat for Humanity efforts to create affordable ADU housing for individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness. The project will break ground in August 2020 and is targeted for completion in February 2021. The residents will be selected by Union Station Homeless Services from among low-acuity women in their programs, meaning they are ready to live independently and require minimal supportive services.
“This grant from Pasadena Community Foundation, along with the partnership of the City of Pasadena Office of Housing and Union Station Homeless Services, will not only enable San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity to directly impact permanent, supportive housing for women experiencing homelessness, but will provide valuable insights into the use of ADUs as a part of our affordable homeownership program. This will mean many additional opportunities in the years to come for those ready to experience the permanent, generational change that homeownership brings,” said Mark Van Lue, San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity executive director.
The Salvation Army will receive a grant to support the construction of Hope Center, a new, mixed-use, multi-level building that will include an expanded food bank and social services delivery space. The top three floors will house 64 men, including 16 veterans, at high risk for chronic homelessness due to significant mental health and substance abuse issues. The $38 million project is funded with a combination of public and private funds, including investment from the City of Pasadena, and will be built at the site of Salvation Army’s existing food pantry and small office building beginning in June 2021.
“We’re grateful for the support of the Pasadena Community Foundation,” said Captain Terry Masango of The Salvation Army Pasadena Tabernacle Corps. “The Hope Center gives us greater tools to address the homeless crisis in Greater Pasadena and change lives in immeasurable ways. The Salvation Army has been part of this community for nearly a century, and this new building will ensure that our service will only grow into the future.
The 2020 Pasadena Homeless Count found that rates of homelessness have remained flat from 2019 to 2020, despite a longer-term decline over the past decade. Pasadena’s investments in response services have led to fewer people living on the streets, but the survey found that more than half of the city’s homeless population are chronically homeless. Service providers, funders, and city officials are also closely monitoring the lack of affordable housing in Southern California, which was driving increased housing insecurity even before the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. It is estimated that 55.8% of renter households in Los Angeles County are cost-burdened and 30.4% are severely cost burdened, meaning that more than 30% and 50% of their income is paid towards housing, respectively.
“The common theme we heard throughout our assessment process was the straightforward need for more long-term housing for people experiencing homelessness,” said DeVoll. “This grant initiative will move us closer to that goal through collaboration with the City of Pasadena and two partner organizations with the experience and opportunity to provide these effective solutions in our community, and we are proud to support their efforts.”