At All Saints Episcopal Church, our core values are Courageous Justice, Radical Inclusion, Joyful Spirituality, and Ethical Stewardship. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, homeless shelters were required to reduce their populations by 75%, leading to a surge of displaced individuals without shelter. Many of them ended up on the south side of our campus. Acting in response, guided by our values of Radical Inclusion and Courageous Justice, All Saints created the Safe Haven Bridge to Housing.
This program was developed in partnership with Union Station Homeless Services and follows the "housing first" model. We applied to the City of Pasadena for and were granted a conditional-use permit to operate a temporary homeless shelter. Through the program, twelve individuals are provided with a safe, interim place to sleep and store essential items, until they can be placed in permanent housing. The designated sleeping area, provided by the city, is outdoors and sheltered. We equip each participant with a tent, cot, sleeping bag, and an emergency blanket to combat the cold. Personal belongings are stored in locked bicycle lockers, accessible round-the-clock, with the provision for setting up individual sleeping areas between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am. A porta-potty is also available 24/7.
Each participant benefits from dedicated support from a caseworker and a housing advocate, ensuring they have access to medical, mental health, and other essential resources. This also facilitates their navigation through the complex process of acquiring sustainable, permanent housing. Participants adhere to a rigorous 21-point covenant and partake in weekly community meetings. We maintain an even-handed disciplinary process, underpinned by strict adherence to rules. Prospective participants are encouraged to attend these meetings to gain a comprehensive understanding of the program and, if eligible, to join the waiting list.
To date, our program has welcomed 64 participants, successfully transitioning 25 individuals into permanent housing and 4 into long-term shelters. Every Monday, we host the Shower of Hope, offering much-needed resources for personal hygiene. Union Station case workers are present to provide assistance, while a former Safe Haven participant offers free haircuts. Our All Saints Food Ministry serves hot meals and packed lunches, and volunteers regularly distribute clothing and hygiene kits. Additionally, the City of Pasadena periodically hosts free vaccination clinics. The LA County Dept. of Health also brings in a 40-foot mobile clinic staffed with medical professionals to provide free medical and psychiatric care. In 2022 alone, we provided 823 showers and 267 haircuts.
In a unique initiative, Jessica Zheng and the Center for Lay Chaplaincy (CFLC) provide an atmosphere of warmth with tea and friendly conversation. Jessica sets up a listening station and invites folks to sit down and drink tea. Through tea, Jessica fosters a safe space for people to share their stories and find connection with each other.
The bulk of the Safe Haven Program's expenses are covered by the City of Pasadena, and we are deeply grateful for their unwavering support. We highly value our partnerships with city employees, particularly those within the Housing Department, the Hope team, and the Port team. Their contributions are instrumental to the existence of our programs.
Our endeavors require significant effort, but the sight of a person smiling, the relief etched on the face of someone who has found a home, reaffirms our commitment to our mission. It warms our hearts deeply to be doing God’s work. I thank you for your time and am happy to answer any questions you may have. We believe this model works well and are happy to share the information and paperwork with any interested parties.