Pasadena’s Inclusionary housing regulations

8 Jul

Anthony and I are just finishing an article on why parts of these regulations need to be updated.  Stay tuned!

Here’s a peak into one of our main big ideas in the article: Some City Council members have alleged that the over-concentration  in this policy applies to Heritage Square South, a parcel of land was purchased fifteen years ago with HUD and other funding for affordable housing. According to the Housing Director William Huang, the best and most fund-able use for this property is for 69 units of PSH for homeless seniors. These homes will end homelessness for these seniors, bring more investment into that neighborhood, create a beautiful apartment complex … a development that the neighbors will be proud of, and which 80% of those surveyed already support.

It is important to note, however, that this over-concentration policy applies only to off-site inclusionary housing projects. Since the Heritage Square South is not an inclusionary offsite project, there is no legal reason not to approve this site for PSH. No exception to current policy needs to be made.[1]

[1] See Inclusionary Regulations Updated 12/28/17. This policy clearly applies only to inclusionary units:  “(v) Over concentration.  The proposed construction of the Inclusionary Units on the parcel proposed shall not result in an over concentration of low income housing in any specific neighborhood.  As used herein, an “over concentration” exists when either 50 rental units legally restricted (by means of a recorded instrument) to occupancy by Very Low and/or Low Income Households are located within one-eighth mile from the parcel proposed for the off-site Inclusionary Units, or when 200 rental units legally restricted (by means of a recorded instrument) to occupancy by Very Low and/or Low Income Households are located within one-quarter mile from the parcel proposed for the off-site Inclusionary Units.” (p. 7).

InclusionaryRegulations_Updated_12-28-17 (002)

Advertisements

Overview of GPAHG—Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group

23 Jun

Initially we were Affordable Housing Action, then Pasadena Affordable Housing Group (PAHG) now GPAHG, the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group. We advocate for the production and preservation of quality, appropriate affordable housing with priority on the most vulnerable populations of low and no-income residents, and the dispersal of this housing throughout the City.

 Description and summary of the work of GPAHG

We have monthly general meetings, subcommittees and one-on-one meetings with elected officials. We do research on specific housing policies, decide our positions, then plan and execute our strategy on how to pass these policies.  We have had many wins since we began in the mid-90s. We have strengthened Pasadena’s Tenant Protection Ordinance, prevented criminalization of our homeless neighbors, increased production of affordable housing by 527 units by passing an inclusionary housing ordinance—like a biblical tithe with 15% of all new housing set aside as affordable. We have also fostered significant structural changes, such the creation of a City Housing Department.

Present work:

We have a core group that provides guidance to the overall organization, one monthly general GPAHG meeting, and presently two sub-committees:  Advocating for South Heritage Square to house 69 homeless seniors; and update on Pasadena’s Inclusionary housing policy. (we have laid our 3 year ADU–Accessary Dwelling Unit subcommittee to bed for now)

  • Heritage Square South—Permanent Supportive Housing for homeless seniors, contact Chair Anthony Manousos, interfaithquaker@aol.com
  • Inclusionary subcommittee, Contact Jill Shook, Chair, jill@makinghousinghappen.com

General Monthly GPAHG Meetings are held on the 4th Tuesday of each month, at 7pm at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 520 E. Orange Grove Blvd, contact: jill@makinghousinghappen.com (626) 675-1316  (We are taking a break in June 2018)

Who we are:

  • Over the 20 years we have been comprised of a diverse membership consisting of retired planning commissioners, retired city planners, lawyers, architects, nonprofit directors, pastors, caseworkers, former homeless individuals, and long-term advocates at the local and state levels. Under the above names we have been meeting since the late 1990’s. We are recognized as a legitimate group with a clear agenda by decision makers.

 Organizational

  • We have clarified our vision and aspects of our process as working as a group, had several retreats to do team building and further develop our decision making processes, organizational structures, platform and priorities
  • We have kept ourselves consistently tuned into the local governmental bodies that deal with affordable housing issues: committees, subcommittees, commissions, and the city council as well as some state and federal policy that have a bearing on local issues: i.e. the Roberti Bill and Costa Hawkins Rent control and SB 831 about ADUs.
  • We have met individually with city council members and other public officials, spoken at countless workshops and public meetings, bringing crowds to show their support.

We have explored and showed up consistently to support a number of local projects to promote the inclusion of lower income affordable housing:

  • Desiderio, where we were able to see nine Habitat for Humanity units approved.
  • North Heritage Square–supported the approval of 70 Senior Affordable housing
  • Pasadena Manor- we were able to stop 11 million revitalization funds from being sunk into the development of a luxury hotel where no public benefits were provided and relocation costs for 157 elderly seniors unlawfully evicted from their homes.
  • Redevelopment, Tax increment and other affordable housing funding issues
  • Westgate –we were won 97 Very Low income affordable units embedded into 800 units of high end housing close to the public transport, and jobs in Old Pasadena
  • Cal Trans property
  • Opposing Down zoning with over 300 showing up at the City Council.
  • Carmel Partners/Fuller
  • St. Luke’s redevelopment
  • 550 planned unit development in east Pasadena–where we won the inclusion of affordable units.

Education:

  • Sponsored an affordable Housing 101 class
  • Sponsored two additional community engagement workshops for the 2014-2021 Housing Element, at the Abundant Harvest Church and the Flintridge Center.

Events sponsored, cosponsored and attended:

  • We have had two prayer vigils at the South Heritage Square site where we are advocating for this site to house 69 homeless seniors. see:

http://laquaker.blogspot.com/2018/05/prayer-vigil-consecrates-south-heritage.html

and http://laquaker.blogspot.com/2018/06/house-pasadenas-homeless-seniors.html

  • Partnered with the Pasadena Tenant’s Union to help collect the 12,800 signatures needed to get  rent Control on the 2018 Pasadena ballot. We  obtained 10,224 signatures and plan to try again for 2019.
  • Cosponsored a bus tour of best practices for ending homelessness in 2017 where 54 pastor and community leaders participated.
  • Sponsored a Candidates Forum and cosponsored a second Candidates forum on January 31, 2014
  • Event to vet Housing Element properties selected for potential sites for affordable housing
  • City General Plan planning processes
  • We partnered with AARP in the phone calling campaign regarding prop. 99-98

 Members of our team were/are represented on the following:

  • Housing Affordability Task force
  • Condo Conversion task force
  • ULI’s Agenda for Action
  • The land use element meetings
  • AARP Statewide committees
  • Housing Summit
  • Housing Luncheons
  • The League of Women’s Voters
  • ACLU
  • Housing California
  • SCANPH (Southern CA Assoc of Nonprofit Housing Developers)
  • Housing Rights Conferences
  • Christian Community Development Association
  • We debated in support of a Housing Commission

Successes:

  • We played a significant role in crafting and passing the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance in 2001 which has produced over 533 affordable units, with no cost to the city (actually helping to fund Pasadena’s affordable Housing Trust Fund with over $20 million)
  • Advocated for and succeeded to create a Housing Department separate from Planning Department.
  • Advocated for an increase in the in lieu fee and it was raised from 75% of the affordability gap to 100%.
  • As a result of our input Westgate made 97 of their proposed 800 units affordable for very low income.
  • We exposed the injustice around the Pasadena Manor obtaining front page headlines and helped them get representation so that the 157 residents evicted wrongfully, were able to obtain relocation costs.
  • We wrote a 21 page detailed analysis of the City’s Housing Element Draft which ultimately lead us to contact HCD (the state housing dept) resulting in the Draft not being accepted without the city including more deadlines and accountably. Those deadlines now give us the leverage to hold the city accountable to meet them.
  • For the past 20 years, we have consistently met with City Council persons and Planning Commissioners and developers, raising key questions about housing policies in the city.
  • We have also met with many residential developers, challenging them to include the 15% of affordable housing units at the lower income levels. With the 550 units proposed in east Pasadena, we recently won the approval of all the City Council for that developer to include the 15% affordable.
  • Economic Development and Technology Committee was the only place where affordable housing was discussed within the structures of the city. So in the process of seeking to have a Housing Commission for Pasadena, we have succeeded in getting Planning Commission to focus on affordable housing twice a year with an eye toward the implementation of the Housing Element, and additionally two workshops a year to be held by the Housing Department. We now have the Mayor and half of the City Council in support of a Housing Commission, with a goal to have the full support soon.
  • We have won a stronger Tenant Protection Ordinance, cleaning up a loop hole that allowed landlords not to pay relocation fees if they put their tenants on month to month.
  • In 2016 we stopped a proposed anti-camping ordinance which was to criminalize homelessness in Old Pasadena and other business districts. We conducted a survey of businesses in the Play House district and Old Pasadena about their attitudes toward homelessness.
  • We succeeded in lowering the property size requirement Accessory Dwelling Units (Granny Flats) from 15,000 s.f. to 7,200 s.f and succeeded in lowering the impact fees for an ADU from $20,000 to $957 if the homeowner agrees to: 1) an affordable housing covenant 2) to rent to Section 8 tenant 3) or to a family member
  • We have been quoted in the Local STARNEWS and Pasadena Weekly, in addition to articles that have been published

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2017/01/31/pasadena-made-it-easier-to-convert-your-garages-into-a-rental-but-more-housing-changes-coming/

http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/city-council-rejects-granny-flats-regulations/#.Wg4330qnHIU

http://www.sgvtribune.com/2017/07/13/granny-flats-dont-bring-the-problems-some-cities-fear-guest-commentary/

http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/council-approves-final-tenant-protection-ordinance/

https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2017/12/07/who-wins-by-allowing-granny-flats-in-pasadena-we-all-do/

http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/council-approves-granny-flat-amendments-after-hours-of-public-comment-discussion/#.WrWWJIjwZIs

http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/council-approves-accessory-dwelling-ordinance/#.WrWXG4jwZIs

http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/guest-opinion-jill-shook-preventing-another-housing-debacle/#.WrWYCYjwZIs

https://www.ocregister.com/2017/09/17/with-help-from-new-state-laws-cities-ease-granny-flat-rules-to-boost-housing-in-region/

https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2018/06/12/pasadena-puts-off-decision-to-limit-residential-building-heights/

 

 

 

Rent Control in California: Seven Myths and Seven Solutions for Protecting Tenants. Churches in Pasadena favoring rent control

8 May

My husband Anthony and I have been involved with the Pasadena Tenants’ Union‘s efforts to stabilize rents in our City, where skyrocketing rents and rent-gouging have caused displacement and exacerbated our homelessness crisis. The recent homeless count showed that 50% of Pasadenans were forced into homelessness due to high rents. The Pasadena School Board recently voted to support rent control, in part because teachers and staff cannot afford to live in this City. And over fifteen churches  have allowed us to gather signatures from their congregants (see list below).

For the past few weeks, we have been canvassing neighborhoods in Northwest Pasadena, where we have gotten to know our neighbors and their stories.  For the most part, residents enthusiastically support rent control, and for good reason. We’ve seen tenants living in squalor, fearful of asking for needed repairs, lest the landlords raise their rent or evict them. We heard stories of landlords raising rents $500 or even $1000 per month, driving out tenants. We’ve also met compassionate and honest landlords who care about their tenants and treat them fairly. Many of these good landlords have signed our petition. And we have found overwhelming support for rent control in the African American community, since over 24% of this population have been forced to leave the City in the last ten years because of gentrification and rising rents

Despite the obvious need for rent control, there are many myths about it, which this excellent article by Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi dispels.

Rent control can help solve California’s housing affordability and homelessness crisis by decreasing displacement and protecting the rights and dignity of working families, the elderly, and long-term tenants. To demystify rent control in California, here are seven rent control myths followed by seven anti-poverty tenant protection ordinances cities can implement. 

By Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi / UrbDeZine

Articles and studies from newspapers to academic journals warn the public against the havoc and devastation caused by rent control ordinances. However, it is not tenants and community-based organizations that are funding these articles and studies, it is real estate investors, developers, and corporate apartment owner associations. For decades, tenants and community-based organizations across California have worked tirelessly to enact rent control ordinances to decrease displacement and protect the rights and dignity of working families, the elderly, and long-term tenants. Tenant advocates continue to direct their limited resources to local initiatives and ballot measures, not to fund studies, articles, and lawsuits.

Myth 1: Rent control is illegal.

Fact: Rent control is legal and an effective tool to address housing affordability.

California state law does not prohibit the enactment of new rent control ordinances.  Since 1976, California courts have upheld rent control ordinances. When a rent control ordinance is challenged, courts analyze the ordinance to determine if it is “reasonably calculated to eliminate excessive rents and at the same time provide landlords with a just and reasonable return on their property.”

Since 2016, rent control ordinances have been successfully enacted in Richmond and Mountain View, and rent control campaigns are underway in Long Beach, Glendale, Santa Cruz, Pasadena, San Diego, Inglewood, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, and Concord.

Despite the clear legal standard, investors, real estate developers, and corporate apartment owner associations file lawsuits each year challenging the constitutionality of rent control ordinances. In 2016 and 2017, the California Apartment Association filed challenges to new rent control ordinances in Richmond and Mountain View. In an attempt to avoid a decrease in profits, property owners sought a restraining order to prevent the new Richmond ordinance from going into effect. The court denied the restraining order, holding that the harm the corporate apartment owners associations alleged – possible lost profits – was not sufficient. The California Apartment Association dismissed its remaining case against Richmond’s rent control ordinance. Both lawsuits were unsuccessful. Tenants in both cities are benefiting from rent control ordinances while corporate apartment owners and their investors continue to receive a fair return on investment.

Tenants and community-based organizations across California are effectively utilizing rent control against increasing housing instability caused by the lack of affordable housing and the loss of redevelopment agencies and to prevent tenant displacement posed by new commercial and corporate development in cities likeInglewood.

 Myth 2: Rent control decreases the housing stock by disincentivizing new housing construction.

 Fact: Rent control has no impact on new construction because it does not apply to new construction.

State law prohibits rent control ordinances from applying to new housing units and requires rent control ordinances include vacancy decontrol. Rent control does not disincentivize new housing construction because new construction is not covered by rent control. Arguments against rent control on grounds that it disincentivizes building are legally inaccurate, misleading, and meritless. Nevertheless, real estate investors, developers, and corporate apartment owner associations continue to propagate this argument. The enactment and enforcement of rent control ordinances have no impact on development. In fact, the law banning vacancy control and rent control from applying to new construction, the 1995 Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, was a political compromise reached by the wealthy developers and investors who continue to propagate the myth that rent control has a chilling effect on new development.

While rent control does not have a chilling effect on new construction, it does have a chilling effect on the ability of real estate investors, developers, and corporate apartment owner associations to gouge hard-working families, the elderly, and others who rely on the rental market. Rent control allows corporate apartment owners and their investors to receive a fair return on investment, not a windfall in profits.

In cities that enacted rent control in the 1970s and 1980s, units constructed over the last thirty to forty years have been exempt from rent control, and cities with more recently enacted rent control ordinances exempt units constructed in the last 20 years:

  • Los Angeles exempted from rent control are structures built after 1978 (L.A.M.C. Section 151.28)
  • San Francisco exempts structures built after 1979 (S.F. Administrative Code Ch. 37A)
  • Berkeley exempts units built after 1980 (B.M.C. Section 13.76.050)
  • Richmond exempts units constructed after 1995 (R.M.C. Section 11.100.070)
  • Mountain View exempts units constructed after 1995 (C.S.F.R.A. Section 1720)
  • East Palo Alto exempts units constructed after 1988 (E.P.A. Mun. Code Ch. 14.04)
  • Oakland exempts units constructed after 1983 (O.M.C. Section 8.22.070)

Myth 3: Rent control causes the rental stock to decrease because rent control units will be converted to condominiums.

Fact: Ordinances restricting condominium conversions protect the stock of rental units under rent control.

The loss of all rental units through condominium conversions is not the inevitable, impending consequence of rent control, despite the argument put forth by real estate investors, developers, and corporate apartment owner associations.

Cities have the power to enact ordinances restricting condominium conversions. Limiting condominium conversions effectively prevents the removal of rental units under rent control from the rental market. Cities across the State of California have enacted and enforced condominium conversion ordinances to maintain a stock of rental units. These ordinances effectively recognize the need of century-old apartment complex owners to sell units when the cost of maintaining or upgrading an entire apartment complex becomes unsustainable while protecting the rental housing stock.

Note that there is no standard definition of a condominium conversion. Despite the common use of the phrase, converting a rental unit to a condominium is not a simple, overnight process that has the power to decimate the rental housing stock the moment a rent control ordinance is enacted. Instead, to convert a multi-unit rental complex into individually owned condominiums, a complex legal process must be followed. In addition to abiding by local ordinances, the process requires, at a minimum, providing tenants with notice of certain protections including the right to purchase, obtaining state approval to market residential units, a recording of a declaration of conditions, covenants, and restrictions, a recording of the subdivision or parcel map for purposes of creating a condominium, a recording of the condominium plan, and the conveyance of the unit.

Myth 4: Rent control hurts tenants.

Fact: Rent control helps tenants. Rent control studies are funded by real estate developments, investors, and corporate apartment owner associations, and their own data supports the effectiveness of rent control.

A recent rent control study released in October 2017 found that rent control in San Francisco caused a $2.1 billion net benefit to tenants with tenants aged 40-65 benefitting most from rent control. The study which is a Working Paper of the NBER Real Estate Institute, incorporated in 1920 with $116 million in assets and 2017 corporate sponsors AIG, ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, Vanguard, and JP Morgan Chase, concluded that rent control destroys rental housing stock and causes gentrification. Another study, prepared for the California Apartment Association, concluded that rent control laws make low-income residents worse off and argue for a free market approach to addressing the growing housing affordability crisis.

The NBER study focused on San Francisco’s limited rent control ordinance which is applicable to apartment units constructed before 1980. In its analysis, the authors found that as of 2017, more of the half-century-old units under rent control had been converted to condominiums than the newly constructed units not under rent control, resulting in a $5 billion loss to the rental housing market. However, not only were all of the units under rent control built more than a half-century ago, each unit was part of an apartment complex, adding to the cost of maintenance and upgrades, and increasing the likelihood of condominium conversion. If the age of the buildings under rent control were accounted for in the context of conversions, the tenant gain would be greater than $7.1 billion, creating a net gain to tenants of more than $2.1 billion.

Building upon this finding, the authors conclude that the characteristic of rent control, rather than the characteristic of building age or the need for a stronger condominium conversion ordinance, was the factor that caused the condominium conversions. Since condominium conversions can lead to displacement and gentrification, the authors took their findings a step further and declared that rent control was the cause of gentrification in San Francisco. However, the lack of affordable units is the factor at play in displacement, not local rent control ordinances. Without rent control, low-income, long-term tenants would have been displaced sooner and in greater numbers.

For the rest of this article see https://sandiegofreepress.org/2018/03/rent-control-in-california-seven-myths-and-seven-solutions-for-protecting-tenants/

 

Here’s a list of the all the churches that so far have had tables to receive signatures after church-I thank God for these open doors. Let pay that the Catholic Churches will also see the value and open their doors.

  • New Revelation
  • Scott United Methodist
  • First United Methodist
  • First Presbyterian
  • Refuge Christian Center
  • Lincoln Ave Christian Church
  • Pasadena Church
  • Metropolitan Baptist Church
  • Bethel New Life
  • Bethel Church
  • Bethleham Church of God
  • Zion AME
  • Frist AME
  • Zion Star
  • New Macedonia Missionary Baptist
  • Morning Star Baptist

 

To God be the glory!! Jill

 

Housing Justice Institute next Sat, April 7th in Monrovia, join us!

31 Mar

Eventbrite

 

Monrovia Housing Justice Institute

by Mountainside Communion

Free

 

REGISTER by following the above link

Event Information

DESCRIPTION

Making Affordable Housing Happen in Monrovia: One Day Housing Justice Institute

Led by Dr. Jill Shook, Founder of the Housing Justice Institute,Author of Making Housing Happen: Faith Based Affordable HomesProfessor at Azusa Pacific and National Housing Advocate

Who is this for? Pastors and religious leaders, affordable housing advocates and developers, property owners, landlords, city officials, neighborhood leaders, and people ready to learn and collaborate.

This is a FREE event. Lunch will be provided.

REGISTER/RSVP REQUIRED: April 1st Deadline

Our Story, God’s Story, and the City’s Story

TOPICS INCLUDE: Our own housing stories; biblical foundation for stewardship of the land, affordable housing models, ownership; the larger US Story: the unjust housing game; Monrovia’s housing story and strategic steps for loving our city: best practices to end homelessness, and faith based advocacy.

SPEAKERS AND ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTED:

Dr. Jill Shook, Rudy Salinas from Housing Works, Julie Mungai from National Community Renaissance, Pastor Dan Davidson of Rose City Church and Rosebud Coffee Social Enterprise, City of Monrovia, Marv’s Place in Pasadena, Family Promise and more.

EVENT SPONSORS: Mountainside Communion, Interior Services, Fellowship Monrovia, Foothill Unity Center, Life Church, Foothills Kitchen, Volunteer Center of the San Gabriel Valley.

Housing Justice Institute

Eventbrite

 

Do grannies really get a chance for a better roof over there heads in Pasadena?

29 Jan

Larry Wilson, editor of our local STAR NEWs wrote on Dec. 20, 2017, “Will this granny flat business not ever go away?

No, it will not, or at least not until we get granny — or those Art Center and Caltech students you know in need of a place to stay, that brother-in-law with health issues, along with all the other single people you know in need of cheaper housing in this crazy-expensive market — into her flat.

This past January, the state Legislature’s Senate Bill 1069 went into effect, easing regulations on what are also called accessory dwelling units, or ADUs: Secondary units built on the same lot as a single-family home, including legally converted garages, guest houses, or, yes, smaller units with their own kitchens within an existing home.

The state law eases some regulations on granny flats by removing onerous parking restrictions, adjusting fire-sprinkler requirements, not adding new water and sewage fees and increasing the maximum allowed size of a granny flat.

But when it comes to housing and other planning laws, California cities are deservedly famous for simply ignoring what Sacramento says”….

… read on to find out how Pasadena voted on Dec 11th …./Grannies get a chance for a better roof over their heads

Margaret-McAustin-District-2In this article you will see how God is answering our prayers.  I thank God for City Council member Margaret McAustin’s change of heart on Granny flats…or ADUs–Accessory Dwelling Units as they are now called. It is my prayer that others will follow her good example.  Margaret supported permanent supportive housing for the homeless in her district–now this great support for ADUs!

Bill Huang, our housing director, would like to start a pilot program with low cost loans for ADUs in exchange for  Section 8–but this won’t work with the high fees that we have, between $25,00 and $31,00 for an 600 sf unit! These are only the fees–no construction costs!  With 1.5 million housing units short in CA–we can do better than this to incentivize the private market to help meet this urgent need. Please pray with us as we research, meet with other council members and more. The vote on our fees should be Feb. 26. Stay posted, more to come on ADUs. Jill

 

 

Are you a friend of Granny–Granny Flats? if so, join us Monday, Dec 11, 7pm.

6 Dec

City Council granny flat flyer december 12-2017

Are you a friend of Granny--Flats, come Dec. 11-2017 7pm0001

Fees to Build one 900 s.f Granny Flat in Pasadena are $50,000–we say this is exorbitant and wrong.

5 Dec

In Pasadena the city is making it nearly impossible to build a Granny Flat, those cute back houses that are now called ADUs–Accessory Dwelling Units. We’ve had a wonderful ADU committee meeting for the past year researching ways to make this kind of housing more accessible. David went to Pasadena’s Planning Office and asked what it would cost in fees to build an 900 s.f. ADU on his property. See it outlined below. We were shocked and saddened that our city is trying to make it nearly impossible for lower income homeowners, for example, seniors on fixed incomes, to create a tiny home for a caregiver or college student to live for a little extra income.

We are recommending that Pasadena follow the example of Temple City, where the fees for ADUs are $3,000.

If you are in the Pasadena area next Monday, join us at the City Council to help us lower these fees as well as eliminate a a required size. Stay tuned for more info about this!

cost to build adu

 

Estimated Cost to Build ADU

Stark Contrasts–What I owe to renters as a homeowner in CA

26 Nov

The following article by Steve Lopez (LA Times, 11/26/17) deeply moved me because of my situation as a homeowner, missionary, and housing justice advocate. In 1994, when I purchased my home in Northwest Pasadena, then a predominantly African American neighborhood, I qualified for a loan of only $100,000 because of my limited income as missionary and a part-time ESL teacher. So my parents each gave me $20,000 to help with my down payment for a cute three-bedroom, two-bath bungalow costing what seemed a lot at the time: $143,500.   Today this home is worth over $700,000. We have made some improvements, but most of this increase took place in my sleep, as Steve Lopez says in this article. What I pay for my mortgage is less than what what it costs to rent a room in Pasadena. Is this fair? Is this consistent with God’s intentions for how we are housed? This article provides some important insights to help us answer questions like these.

A study in stark contrasts

California homeowners are seeing another gold rush. What do they owe to neighboring renters who are struggling to catch up?

Lawrence K. Ho Los Angeles Times
“WHEN we collectively decide not to build housing even as our economy grows, we deliver a windfall to people lucky enough to own homes and a punishment to those who rent,” said Michael Manville, a UCLA professor of urban planning. Above, apartments in Koreatown.

I lived in an apartment until I was 8, when my parents scraped together a down payment and bought a modest little house on a cul-de-sac, taking hold of a deed that was our ticket to the kingdom of suburban California royalty.

Housing developments grew out of the dust all around us in eastern Contra Costa County, as working folks took out mortgages on their own sense of pride and belonging.

People extolled the benefits of owning, rather than giving money to the landlord. But in that time, you bought for the sake of inserting yourself into a dream decorated with shaded patios and manicured lawns, and not so much as an investment.

Today, home ownership in California is the best investment any of us will ever make, thanks, in large part, to a scarcity of housing. The pace of construction has not kept up with population growth and demand, so those of us with houses own a staggering amount of equity wealth that grows even as those without homes pay a higher price for survival.

California was always a model of stark contrasts in the realm of haves and have-nots. But as rents rise and wages stagnate, a majority of L.A.-area renters are paying more than onethird of their income on rent while thousands are paying 50% or more, with no end to these trends in sight.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of homeowners in Los Angeles and Orange counties have enjoyed super-low interest rates and seen their equity rise to all-time highs. Roughly one decade after thousands of people lost their homes in the housing crash, 96.4% of Californians with mortgages owe less than their homes are worth…..

In Los Angeles and Orange counties, 533,000 homes are owned free and clear, and the value of them is $402 billion. That works out to about $700,000 in equity for each owner.

Those who hold current mortgages in the two counties have $842 billion in equity wealth, lifting the two-county equity total to $1.2 trillion.

“A lot of moola,” said Frank Nothaft, who compiled the numbers and is chief economist at CoreLogic, which does global real estate market research. Californians with active mortgages, Nothaft said, have more than one-quarter of the nation’s $8.2 trillion in equity.

Well, good for us, right? By clever planning or dumb luck — and it’s mostly the latter in my case — we are modern-day prospectors in another great California gold rush.

The gains are rightfully owned, and people who have worked and paid their bills and built up a nice cushion for their retirement have no reason to apologize.

But the state with the fifth-largest economy in the world has the highest poverty rate — about 20% — when housing prices are factored into the cost of living. So here’s a question: Unless we’re living in a real estate bubble that’s about to burst, which is certainly possible, do those who have prospered owe anything to those who have fallen further behind, including teachers, nurses, laborers and others essential to both our economy and our best definition of community?

To learn Lopez’ answer to this question, see

 

A study in stark contrasts

Nov 22, 2017 Letter to Pasadena City Council to support Granny Flats

22 Nov

To: Pasadena City Council,  100 N. Garfield Ave.. Pasadena, CA 91109

Nov. 22, 2017

Dear Pasadena City Council Members,

Given that our state is in a housing crisis, with 1.3 million units short, thus pushing up the cost many times faster than wages, it is essential that you do all you can to help relieve this shortage. Therefore we recommend the following

  1. We recommend no Minimum lot size requirement to build a detached ADU. While we are thankful that the Planning Commission voted to adjust their recommendation to the City Council from 15,000 to 5,000 square feet property size in their last proposal to the City Council, we are recommending that Pasadena follow the lead of Arcadia, Burbank, Glendale, Monrovia, and LA County (Altadena), all which have no minimum lot size for detached ADUs. No more than 35% of single family home properties in Pasadena can be covered with structure. This alone is a significant deterrent to ADUs. Santa Cruz allows ADUs on properties of 4,500 square feet, Long Beach 4,800, Santa Monica 4,000 and some cities, Beverly Hills 6,000 and San Jose at 5,445.
  2.  ADUs should be allowed in all Landmark Districts, with or without the units being visible from the street.
  3. Increase the present 800 square feet limit on the unit size of the ADU to 1,200 square feet or 50% of the primary home, which is congruent with what the state law allows. This small 800 s.f. size is arbitrarily low, and does not accommodate the spatial needs of families residing in accessory residences. To have a healthy community and thriving school district we need children. 1,200 s. f. or 50% of the total living area of the primary dwelling is what South Pasadena, LA County, Santa Cruz and most cities allow.
  4. We are recommending that ADUs be allowed above garages by increasing the height to 25 feet. Pasadena allows homeowners to have a second floor in their homes and an ADU over an attached garage. Our recommendation is consistent with this. We are concerned about privacy issues and believe this can be mitigated by having no windows or entrances facing neighbors. Having the option to build an ADU above the garage will preserve off street covered parking and open space on a property. Instead of creating a new impervious surface, building above the garage is often more sensible to the environment.
  5. The fees for ADUs in Pasadena for a 900 s.f. property are about $50,000, this is excessive and needs to be greatly decreased. (Temple City fees are $3,000). This is a deterrent from incentivizing homeowners to help contribute to California’s shortfall of 1.3 million housing units which is pushing up the cost. Santa Cruz, CA does all they can to incentivize ADUs, including building over garages, free architectural plans, low cost loans and more, but even with all these incentives, typically only 10-12 are built in a year. This low number of added units to Pasadena’s housing stock does not affect traffic or unfounded fears of higher density. These fees should be cut in half if not more.

In addition to helping to increase sorely needing housing stock, there are many good reasons to support all of our recommendations:

  1. To create life cycle housing, for aging parents who might otherwise wind up in assisted-living facilities or nursing homes, thus reducing the cost of their care.
  2. To keep affordable housing from being concentrated in one spot and invite economic diversity and be in keeping with historic heritage. Hunt who designed our library, Bachelder and one of the Green and Green brother’s lived in ADUs. Pasadena’s broad streets with the large stately craftsman homes adjacent to more narrow streets with smaller homes, allowed the servants to live close to wealthier residents. This rich heritage of a mixed income community sets a precedent for ADUs.
  3. To house “boomerang” kids or those who wanted to stay close but couldn’t afford local housing.
  4. To provide a potential source of income when the homeowners ready to downsize, especially for seniors on a fixed income. They could live in the granny flat and family members could move into the main house, or rent it out for retirement income.
  5. To allow more money to circulate and stay in the community, through the employment of local contractors and construction workers, as opposed to large developers that are usually from out of town.
  6. To increase the property values and provide more property taxes for the city. This is a better use of underutilized land and infrastructure.
  7. To minimize traffic by allowing people to live closer to family and work. When Cynthia Kurtz was the City Manager, she adamantly opposed to the need for a traffic study in relation to Granny Flats, feeling this was a non-issue and waste of taxpayer’s money. The number of people applying for permits to build ADUs in other cities has been minimal.
  8. To prevent a possible fair housing lawsuit due to the disparity between those who want ADUs but don’t have permission to build them due to the unreasonable 15,000 required lot size and those who have large lots, but don’t have the need for them.
  9. To help increase the city’s housing stock without the use of any subsidy. Due to limited federal funds for housing, the city has lost 85% of its budget for affordable housing. ADUs are one important source for helping to solve the housing crisis without spending tax payer’s dollars.
  10. We ask for the city to regulate the construction ADUs, to remediate unpermitted, informal housing that can often be unsafe. Unpermitted housing exists in every jurisdiction, every geography, every demographic, and every socioeconomic stratum: unpermitted dwellings, garage conversions, subdivided houses, and occupied RVs exist across the City of Pasadena. Lack of affordable housing coupled with skyrocketing housing prices are partly due to unworkable zoning laws that stifle efforts to build legal accessory dwellings and therefore directly contribute to the proliferation of illegally built dwellings. It’s a simple calculus: when people need housing, people build housing. And when the zoning code creates barriers, people ignore the code.

For all the above reasons, we ask that you support our position.  Thank you for reading our letter and taking serious consideration of our recommendations.

Sincerely,

Jill Shook, Chair of the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group

jill@makinghousinghappen.com

(626) 675-1316

 

Making Affordable Housing Happen in Pasadena: Our Story, God’s Story and the US/City Story, Nov 18th, register soon

9 Nov

Making Affordable Housing Happen event Sat. Nov. 18thOne day event on how and why to do biblically-based housing justice…

Who this is for?  This is for property owners, landlord, pastors and church leaders, city officials, community developers.  We want to work together to preserve and create new affordable housing options in Pasadena. 

 Where: Pasadena Church, 404 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, CA  91104

 Date: Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017

 Time: 8:30am registration—event from 9-4:30pm

 Cost: Free, thanks to sponsors (which includes lunch) 

Presenters/Facilitators:           

Dr. Jill Shook, Dan Davidson, Pastor of Rose City Church and Chair of Pasadena’s Faith Partnership to End Homeless and Rosebud Coffee (social enterprise employing homeless youth), Bill Huang, City of Pasadena Housing Director, and Andre White,  Affordable Housing Development Professional

 RSVP: Register by Nov. 15th: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/making-housing-happen-in-pasadena-tickets-39132411095

 Sponsors: Epicentre church, Lake Ave Church, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Knox Presbyterian, Pasadena Church, Pasadena Community Christian Fellowship, Rose City Church, Rosebud Coffee, Summit Evangelical

Any questions, call or text 626-675-1316

 

%d bloggers like this: