Old Pasadena has hired an outreach specialist to help fill the needs of the city’s homeless population..
Diamond (specialists do not reveal their last names) serves as a liaison with the city’s social service networks, like Union Station, and in turn works to connect people in need with services that helps them move into housing.
“She will be contacting and interfacing with the homeless community and working to get them into programs that provide services,” said Old Pasadena Management District CEO Steve Mulheim.
Overall, Pasadena saw an 18-percent increase in its homeless population, jumping from 575 in 2017 to 677 this year.
Some local business owners have complained about more aggressive homeless people panhandling in Old Pasadena.
In 2016, the Pasadena City Council passed an ordinance aimed at reducing, aggressive panhandling by making it “unlawful for any person to impede, hinder or obstruct another person’s progress for the purpose of soliciting, asking or begging for money or to approach a person in a threatening, coercive or menacing manner for the purpose of soliciting, asking or begging for money.”
According to a memo by Pasadena Housing Director William Huang, the city’s homeless senior citizen population is increasing at an alarming rate.
That population of people 50 and older has increased by 65 percent — from 153 to 253 over the past two years. The San Gabriel Valley saw a 116 percent increase — from 188 to 406 — over the past year, according to Huang.
Huang said the increases are largely due to economic woes as costs continue to rise at rates that make basic housing unaffordable for middle class and poor people.
Diamond is employed by Block by Block, the same company that employs the city’s yellow-shirted ambassadors that patrol Old Pasadena by foot, bicycle and Segway.
A recent graduate of UC Riverside, Diamond will not wear the familiar yellow garb, but instead operate in street clothes.