New Pasadena Outreach Response Team (PORT) Gives Hope to Homeless

PASADENA, Calif.—The Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD), in partnership with Pasadena Fire Department, has launched the Pasadena Outreach Response Team (PORT). This project is supported through a grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for a period of five years. PORT’s goal is to identify individuals impacted by chronic homelessness and, through supportive services and case management, assist them in moving off the streets into permanent housing.

The grant funding received by PPHD has allowed staff to develop and implement a creative and innovative approach to managing the growing needs for both individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The project incorporates validated, evidence-based practices tailored to the needs of Pasadena’s homeless population. PORT is a partnership between City departments and community providers to help homeless individuals overcome the issues contributing to their homelessness.

PORT is a street-based approach that engages, assesses, serves and provides links to housing opportunities for those experiencing chronic homelessness, severe mental illness, substance use disorders, physical disabilities and complex chronic health conditions. The PORT team is comprised of a case manager (social worker), public health nurse, firefighter, and an outreach worker from Union Station Homeless Services. Since its inception in late 2018, PORT has enrolled 107 individuals, ranging from ages 20-79.

According to the City of Pasadena 2018 Homeless Count, there has been a significant increase in the number of individuals experiencing homelessness, especially among older adults. At the time of the count, there were 677 people experiencing homelessness, which was an 18% increase from the count in 2017 (575) and a 28% increase from 2016 (530).

“Homelessness is a public health issue,” said Michael Johnson, Director of Pasadena’s Public Health Department. “Due to its complex nature and the urgent need to address the health and social disparities faced by the homeless population, innovative approaches are needed to facilitate access to vital services, such as medical care, mental health and behavioral care, and social services.”

PORT Street-Based Services include:

  • Outreach
  • Intensive case management
  • Basic health screenings
  • Linkage to housing programs
  • Supportive services

For more information on PORT, contact PPHD’s Social and Mental Health Division at (626) 744-6339.

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