PORT distinguishes itself through its proactive approach. Rather than simply responding to crises, the team works diligently to prevent them by connecting individuals with vital services such as medical care, dental care, mental health support, and substance use treatment. The ultimate objective is to facilitate clients' restoration of stability and their transition into sustainable housing, underpinned by comprehensive support.
Recognizing the program's profound impact, Pasadena expanded its scope in July 2021 with the addition of a second PORT team. This expansion goes beyond traditional case management; it extends to addressing 9-1-1 dispatch calls related to homelessness, effectively reducing the need for law enforcement intervention in these situations.
The results of this strategic expansion are nothing short of remarkable. Since its inception in 2019, the PORT program has successfully facilitated the transition to housing for 71 community members, aided 108 individuals in enrolling in detox and rehabilitation programs, and coordinated transportation for 488 clinical care appointments. Impressively, the program has also responded to 1,044 police dispatch calls linked to homelessness, underscoring its pivotal role in enhancing community safety.
The recent SAMHSA CDS grant, secured in September 2023 through the dedicated efforts of Congresswoman Judy Chu, represents a watershed moment. This infusion of funds, totaling $900,000, secures the future of the PORT program until September 2024. A significant portion of the grant will sustain the existing PORT staff while concurrently expanding access to fundamental necessities such as toiletries, sustenance, medication, housing application support, and essentials for move-in.
A noteworthy facet of this grant lies in its commitment to augmenting mental health and substance use treatment services within the PORT program. This enhancement will be realized through the introduction of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) from Union Station Homeless Services. The LCSW will conduct field-based screenings and provide short-term urgent mental health services as required. This complementary addition aligns seamlessly with the PORT program's holistic approach, ensuring tailored, all-encompassing care for individuals experiencing homelessness.
Union Station Homeless Services (USHS), a Pasadena-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been an invaluable partner to the PORT program since its inception. The City Council's endorsement of a contract (Contract No. 32463) with USHS in November 2022 marked a significant milestone in supporting peer outreach and social worker services.
To further fortify the PORT program's impact, the Department is proactively recommending an additional allocation of $498,667 to augment Contract No. 32463 with USHS. This strategic increase will bolster the program by expanding the team with additional Peer Outreach Workers, increasing LCSW services, and providing crucial clinical supervision. These enhancements collectively amplify the program's efficacy and its capacity to serve the community effectively.
This comprehensive initiative is in perfect harmony with the City Council's overarching Strategic Plan Goal of ensuring public safety. By offering robust support to individuals experiencing homelessness, the PORT program plays a pivotal role in mitigating public safety concerns, diminishing the reliance on law enforcement, and fostering a more compassionate, supportive, and safer community.
Crucially, the proposed action sidesteps the complexities of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), as it predominantly concerns service provisioning rather than instigating environmental transformations. Additionally, it bears no financial impact on the General Fund, thanks to the prudent planning involving the anticipated receipt and expenditure of the $675,000 grant award in Fiscal Year 2024.
Pasadena's unwavering commitment to confronting homelessness and addressing mental health challenges continues to gain momentum. With the agreement reached with SAMHSA and the extension of Contract No. 32463 with Union Station Homeless Services, the PORT program is primed to carry on its exceptional work, offering hope, support, and a path to stability for those most in need. In doing so, it contributes to a more compassionate, secure, and thriving Pasadena for all of its residents.