The PCC Police Department (PCCPD) receives daily and continuous reports from students and staff of transients on campus taunting students with objects, setting up camp in the library, showering in the locker rooms and sleeping in the elevators prompting responding officers to escort them off campus.
“I have seen the [transients] in the restroom, especially in the gym because they go and take a shower right there,” student Celeste Juarez said. “I usually use that area because I have classes in that building, but I stopped. I have never report them because I feel bad for them, I usually just leave them there and just get out.”
The issue is complex and transients need rehabilitation from drug addiction and mental health services while also obtaining assistance with affordable housing. Officer Giuliani mentioned that PCCPD uses the program Pasadena Outreach Response Team (PORT) to help transients find the resources they need.
PORT consists of providing a social worker and a firefighter to transients to help them find the resources they need to overcome homelessness and become productive members of society.
“The city of Pasadena has multiple programs put into place to assist the homeless and provide them with necessary resources and care,” officer Giuliani said. “Unfortunately, even though there are dedicated resources for the homeless, there are many [who] choose to be homeless due to drug abuse and/or mental illness and most programs require the homeless to follow the rules, regulations of the programs and the laws of the city and state.”
The homeless community are allowed on campus, it’s an open and public school, but the facilities are for the use of students, staff and visitors with business pertaining to campus. If the transients cause disturbances and harass the campus community the PCCPD officers have the responsibility to escort them off campus.
Interviewed students expressed sympathy for the transients and most don’t feel threatened or unsafe on campus by them. They understand the importance of the issue and feel like the homeless are being forgotten by the city government and community.
“I feel like it’s wrong and very systematic, I feel that the reason why the problem hasn’t change and it’s only getting worse because the government wants it to be like that,” Lancer Accah Abdusshakoor said. “I think that everybody should get housing, especially minorities because of what this country has done to us.”
Homelessness is a growing nationwide issue and according to the Urban and Housing Department more than 500,000 Americans go homeless on any given night with 130,000 in California and 129 in Pasadena, California.
Registered students who are experiencing homelessness are urged to seek help on the PCC website by searching the words food pantry, PCC transportation, Rapid Response Emergency (RRE), child care, housing and Student Health Center.
To report any incident on campus, call the PCCPD to (626) 585-7484. Officers are available 24/7 365 days of the year.