My Course: Housing Justice and Community Organizing

1 Jan

I’m thrilled to be invited to teach again this semester at Azusa Pacific University in their MA Social work department. If you are interested or know of others how might be there are still openings. It will begin January 11th.  Below is the syllabus for the course. Let me know if you would like for me to send send you the steps to register as a non-APU student and/or as a auditor. Jill Shook (



SOCW 595 Special Topics:

Housing Justice and Community Organizing: Theological and Practical Perspectives

3 Units

Spring 2016

Credit Hour Policy: Following the APU Credit Hour policy, to meet the identified student learning outcomes the course, the expectations are that this three unit course, delivered over a 15 week term, will approximate three hours/week classroom or direct faculty instruction. In addition out of class student work will approximate a minimum of nine hours per week.

Professor: Jill Shook, MA, D-Min

Class Day/Time: Tuesdays 4:20-7:20pm

Class Location: Wynn 4

Office Location: Wynn 1, Adjunct Office

Office Hours: By appointment

Contact Information:

Jill Shook (626) 675-1316    Email:

Emergency Phone #: (626) 857-2401 (MSW Program Office) Weekdays 8:30-4:30 pm


University Mission Statement: Azusa Pacific University is an evangelical Christian community of disciples and scholars who seek to advance the work of God in the world through academic excellence in liberal arts and professional programs in higher education that encourage students to develop a Christian perspective of truth and life.


MSW Mission Statement: The MSW Program in the Department of Social Work at Azusa Pacific University seeks to develop competent advanced social work practitioners who can integrate the knowledge, values, and skills of social work to advance social justice and provide services to assist individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Grounded in the profession’s Code of Ethics and sensitivity to diversity, the MSW Program is committed to excellence in our teaching and scholarship, the integration of faith and learning, the development of professional leadership, and the strengthening of communities in local, national, and international contexts.


Course Description: This course offers a theological and practical understanding of how the pursuit of community transformation and housing justice are part of God’s mission and the mission of social work. It provides a comprehensive look at ways to house our communities in light of biblical land use laws, and the just and fair distribution of land and housing. We will examine case studies of how churches and Gospel-driven visionaries, community developers, advocates and community organizers are addressing the housing crisis, creating affordable housing, and thereby transforming people and communities. Interactive assignments and site visits will provide students with first-hand experiences to engage with processes of systemic change within a community, affordable housing developers and best practice models.

Student Learning Outcomes and Expected Competencies:  (Each measurable learning outcome is followed by assignment or activity used to assess learning outcome.)  By the end of this course student will be able to:

Student Learning Outcome

  1. Understand land use, affordable housing practices and housing policy from human rights, environmental, economic and theological perspectives, and be able to discuss complexities of housing justice.
  1. Articulate their own housing story with cultural sensitivity and clarity, their own theology and convictions regarding homes, land and housing and know how to help others do the same.
  1. Describe the need in your own communities and the underlying causes for the US housing crisis and segregation: a history of US housing policy and the current definition of affordable housing.
  1. Develop critical thinking skills in evaluating and recognizing just and fair housing models and policies, and discern what models might be economically, culturally and historically appropriate in their own community.
  1. Learn methods of housing justice praxis; the role of prayer, discernment, relational work, and if need be, partnerships; accessing of resources, including need and asset assessment tools, certifications, leadership and fund development and more.
  • Implement strategies used, including specifically Christian strategies to attain systemic change, including community development, community organizing and advocacy, including their respective theories of change and major practices, and their relationship to other models.
  1. Articulate the biblical and theological foundation for pursuing community transformation through systemic change as part of our mission as Christians.

Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic and Environmental Justice

Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice

Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice

Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice

Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities

Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities

Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities

Competency 10: Articulate how Christian beliefs and values can be ethically integrated in professional social work practice

2. Apply theoretical, political, economic and social sciences frameworks when analyzing human rights and social justice issues.

2. Collaborate with and advocate for vulnerable and disempowered communities so that power and resources are equitably distributed.

1. Assess and analyze the formative effect of organizational, ideological, religious, economic and political factors on domestic and global social policies.

1. Implement sustainable development principles in the analysis and development of domestic and global social policies and programs.

1. Use interpersonal skills to engage constituents in the change process.

2. Pursue reciprocal relationships to develop desired outcomes and expectations.

1. Research, collect, analyze and interpret system policy, and community and organizational data to inform assessment and intervention strategies.

1. Develop intervention goals and design and implement a plan of action in collaboration with individuals, groups, organizations and communities.

2.Plan for the use of models, methods and strategies that are appropriate to the local, regional, national and international context

1.Critically evaluate the strengths and challenges of faith-based organizations and churches in the delivery of client services


Book review on Brueggemann’s The Land.

Tell personal housing stories and record the housing stories through class discussions.

Quizzes on affordable housing terms and key housing policies.

Quizzes, community based research, and reflection papers on homeless populations.
Utilization and application of one of the 54 policies into the community based research.  

Reflection and Class Presentation on their choice of an article from Shelterforce Magazines

Write reflections on our motivations for participation, our process of engagement and development, how our group work was done, learnings about ourselves, assessing our questions and feedback.

Presentations on Making Housing Happen: Faith Based Affordable Housing Models,  (New Housing Development and Housing Preservation).

Students will reflect on our field trip to affordable housing and significant housing organizations and contact a housing organization.



Primary textbooks:

  • Brueggemann, W. (2002). The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith (Second ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress.
  • Desmond, M. (2016). Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Penguin Random House LLC, New York: Crown Publishing Group.
  • Shook, J.S. (Ed.). (2012). Making Housing Happen: Faith-Based Affordable Housing Models. (2012). (J. S. Shook Ed. Second ed.). Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books: A Division of Wipf and Stock Publishers.
  • Mallach, A. (2009). A Decent Home: Planning, Building, and Preserving Affordable Housing. Chicago, IL, Washington, D.C.: American Planning Association.
  • Salvatierra, A., & Heltzel, P. (2014). Faith-rooted Community Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.


Articles and portions of texts:

Leighninger, L., & Popple, P. R. (2005). Social Work, Social Welfare, and American Society (Sixth ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. (Chapter 14).


Davis, M. (1992). City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles. New York, NY: Vintage Books. Chapter 3, Homegrown Revolution.

(Free PDF:


On-line articles and sites:


Christian Community Development Association


Shaw, R. (2016). Why Can’t Harlem Stop Gentrification?. The Shelterforce Blog.


Search several articles from the ShelterForce and Rooflines archives website (


Dreier, P. (1989, April 1). The phony case against rent control. The Progressive. Retrieved from viewcontent.cgi?article=1364&context=uep_faculty.

Rothstein, R. (2014). The Making of Ferguson: Public Policies at the Root of its Troubles. Retrieved from

Recommended optional reading of one of the following will provide extra course credit:


Bakke, Ray. (1997). A Theology Big as the City. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.   


Chambers, E. T. (2004). Roots for Radicals: Organizing for Power, Action, and Justice. New York, NY: The Continuum International Publishing Group, Inc.


Fuller, M. (1994). The Theology of the Hammer. Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc.


Gordon, Wayne. (1995). Real Hope in Chicago: The Incredible Story of How the Gospel is Transforming a Chicago Neighborhood. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.


Gorringe, T. J. (2002). A Theology of the Built Environment: Justice, Empowerment, Redemption. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.


Jacobsen, E. O. (2003). Sidewalks in the Kingdom: New Urbanism and the Christian Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press.


Jacobsen, E. O. (2012). The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.


Linthicum, R. (2003). Transforming Power: Biblical Strategies for Making a Difference in Your Community. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.


Lupton, R. D. (1989). Theirs is the Kingdom: Celebrating the Gospel in Urban America. New York, NY: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.


Medoff, Peter, and Sklar, Holly. (1994).. Streets of Hope: The Fall and Rise of an Urban Neighborhood. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.

Myers, C. (2012). The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics (Seventh ed.). Washington, D.C.: The Church of the Saviour.


Smock, K. (2004). Democracy in Action: Community Organizing and Urban Change. New York: Columbia University Press.


  1. Three quizzes in-class:1/24 Quiz on US Housing Policy, Housing Disparity, and Trends

2/14 Quiz: Terms of Housing and Affordability, 2/21, Essay Quiz: Why are here are so many homeless? Describe the Housing First Model (25 points each = 75 points total)-

  1. Five class presentations: Students will read and present on only two of the case studies from Shook, MMH:one on development models and another on  preservation models; then read and present on one chapters from Part I, II and III of Desmond’s Evicted   (20 points each=100 total)
  2. Two reflection papers: one of three possible reflection papers due 1/3; one on the field trip and a Housing Models Evaluation worksheet due 3/14. (20 points each=60 total)
  3. Group discussion participation based on 26 discussions, lectures, readings, research, assignments (including a visit to a city council meeting, interviewing a an affordable housing developer, research on homeless counts, housing policies, church participation).   (10 points each = 260) points total)
  4. One  3-5 page book review on Brueggemann due 2/14 (30 points)
  5. Final integrative theological integrative group project: 5/3 (75 points)


Criteria for Letter Grade:


A 600-570 100% 94%
A- 540-569 90% 93%
B+ 520-539 87% 89%
B 500-519 84% 87%
B- 480-499 80% 83%
C+ 460-479 77% 80%


Definition of Work Quality:

A:   Excellent; clearly exceeds expectations; an especially strong performance

A-:  Exceeds expectations, less strong than “A”

B+: Meets expectations very well, does not exceed them

B:   Meets expectations

B-:  Barely meets expectations

C or below:  Does not meet MSW program requirements

Course Policies


Attendance:  Arriving promptly to class fully prepared and participating actively in the class discussions/activities are important components in the learning experience.  The following standards are intended to clarify expectations and policies regarding missed class time.

  1. A sign-in sheet will be used to record attendance at the beginning of each class session.  Missing any part of class may be considered an absence; student must communicate with instructor in advance of anticipated missed class time.
  2. No more than one absence* is permitted per semester (for any reason).  A second absence results in a 10% reduction in the overall course grade. At faculty discretion, for a second absence students may be given the option of making up the 10% by submitting an alternative assignment as developed by the instructor to make up the class content. A third absence or missing an additional three hour period of class will result in an automatic 10% grade reduction without option for make-up.  
  3. Students missing more than nine hours for three-unit course, or six hours for two-unit course will not be allowed to pass the course (resulting in an F).
  4. If a student determines they have a medical condition that necessitates missing more than two consecutive coursework days or two consecutive field internship days, they can submit a department request for extended medical leave, with documentation from their treating physician, in order to work out a course plan, as indicated with the professor, to avoid grade reduction. For ongoing health related situations, students will be referred to the Learning Enrichment Center, to develop a formal plan for accommodations.   


*Note: For Saturday courses:  three hours = one absence

For three or two hour classes:  one class (three or two hours) = one absence


Professional Behavior in Classroom:  In preparation for advanced professional careers, students are expected to utilize class time well by conducting themselves as professionals throughout the education and training process.  Students must come to class on time, fully prepared, and participate actively in discussions and exercises.  Given class size, private conversations and moving around can be distracting.  

The use of cell phones or other electronic devices are not allowed in the MSW classroom; they must be turned off (or silenced) prior to class.  Laptop computers and tablets may not be utilized in class unless required for specific activities, such as note taking, or in situations involving physical accommodations.  

Policy on Late Papers:  Each day a paper is late, 5-points will be deducted from the grade.  Exceptions will be granted only under emergency circumstances, and require written student documentation of the need for an extension and identification of an alternate due date.  Computer/printer problems do not constitute acceptable excuse for lateness.  Written instructor approval of extension requests is required to avoid point deductions.  No credit will be given for assignments turned in following the date identified on an extension request unless further documentation of emergency circumstances can be provided by the student, and their physician or another emergency service provider.

Policy on Paper Submission Process: This instructor does not accept e-mailed papers. Papers are due in class on the date indicated.  Instructors may choose whether or not to accept e-mailed papers.  Students accept all risks related to computer, server, and attachment problems.  Papers received by e-mail following the due date are subject to the late paper policy.  Likewise, papers submitted by mail or after hours (i.e., under the instructor’s office door or other locations) require instructor permission and are subject to the late paper policy.  Students accept all risks related to delayed mail delivery, custodian actions and other circumstances of misplacement.  

Policy on Incompletes:  Incompletes will only be assigned in medical emergency situations involving the student or a person with a close personal relationship to the student.  Formal, signed documentation from a physician, nurse, or other emergency service provider will be required, and may be faxed if necessary.  Both student and instructor must also fully complete and sign a contract for incomplete grade assignments; this may also be done by fax if necessary.  Both formal documentation of the emergency situation and the contract must be provided by the date the final assignment is due for the student to receive an incomplete.  If signed documents are not received, then the student will be graded according to assignments previously completed in the course.  Assignments of failing grades will be permanent.  In order to avoid this situation, students are strongly encouraged to complete assignments well in advance of due dates.

Policy on Information Literacy and Use of the Library:  Information literacy is defined as a

“set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the

ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information” (American Library

Association, 1989). In this course, teaching and learning processes will employ the following

information literacy standards, as endorsed by the American Association for Higher Education

(1999), the Association of College and Research Libraries (2000), and the Council of

Independent Colleges (2004). The students in this course will:


  • determine the nature and extent of the information needed.
  • access needed information effectively and efficiently.
  • evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
  • individually or as a member of a group, use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
  • understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and use information ethically and legally.


This course requires students to complete course assignments using resources available from the University Libraries.  

Academic Integrity Policy:  The mission of Azusa Pacific University includes cultivating in each student not only the academic skills that are required for a university degree, but also the characteristics of academic integrity that are integral to a sound Christian education.  It is therefore part of the mission of the university to nurture in each student a sense of moral responsibility consistent with the biblical teachings of honesty and accountability.  Furthermore, a breach of academic integrity is viewed not merely as a private manner between the student and an instructor but rather as an act which is fundamentally inconsistent with the purpose and mission of the entire university.  

A full description of what constitutes an academic integrity violation can be found in the APU Graduate Catalog online ( under Academic Policies and Procedures. Note academic integrity includes cheating (including self-plagiarism), fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagiarism. Please refer to the catalog for a full description of each of these areas. Students found to be in violation of the Academic Integrity Policy will be subject to sanctions as outlined in the catalog, and/or the Social Work Code of Conduct.

Copyright Responsibilities

Materials used in connection with this course may be subject to copyright protection. Students and faculty are both authors and users of copyrighted materials.  As a student you must know the rights of both authors and users with respect to copyrighted works to ensure compliance. It is equally important to be knowledgeable about legally permitted uses of copyrighted materials. Information about copyright compliance, fair use and websites for downloading information legally can be found at


Use of  If it is suspected that a paper may not be a student’s original work, it will be submitted for review by Upon receipt of the Originality Report, the student may be asked to meet with the instructor to discuss the findings as reported by this system.  Evidence of plagiarism is subject to the Academic Integrity Policy, as detailed above.


Department and University Policies:  All university and departmental policies affecting student work, appeals, and grievances, as outlined in the Graduate Catalog and/or Department Handbook will apply, unless otherwise indicated in this syllabus.

Support Services:  Students in this course who have a disability that might prevent them from fully demonstrating their abilities should meet with an advisor in the Learning Enrichment Center (LEC) as soon as possible to initiate disability verification and discuss reasonable accommodations that will allow the opportunity for full participation and for successful completion of course requirements.  For more information, please visit, or contact the LEC by phone at 626-815-3849, or email at

Emergency Procedures:  It is recommended that you inform contacts, such as family members, of pertinent course information in case of an emergency.  This includes the class title, meeting time, room, and building location.  The APU main campus phone number is (626) 969-3434 for such inquiries.


Course Schedule

*Note: Course subject to change at the discretion of the professor based on

the learning needs of the class.

Date Discussion Topic Assignments
Session 1: January 10 Defining the Scope of the Problem: Course Overview, Stories, Statistics, the Case for Affordable Housing.


Devotion: Stories of Jesus and the Prophets: that demonstrate who is at the center of the story: The widow and Feeding of the 5,000          

First day come having read:   Social Work, Social Welfare, and American Society, p. 543-566       

Read the following for Session 2, 1/17:

Making Housing Happen (MHH), Shook, Ch. 1

Faith-Rooted Organizing, Salvatierra, Ch. 4                         

A Decent Home, Mallach, Ch.1- Be prepared for these discussion questions:

  • Will the market alone supply the need for affordable housing in the US today?
  • Under what circumstances do we need affordable housing?


Preparation for Final Interactive Group Presentations:

  • Discuss questions with partner in the same geographical location for course work (by phone call or in-person meeting-No Email).              
  • Find out when the city council meeting is and set a time to attend the meeting before week 12 of Class
Session 2: January 17 Understand Underlying Causes for the US Housing Crisis and Rays of Hope: Segregation, Gentrification, and Displacement                                  
Devotion: Isa. 65: Building a Biblical case for why God’s ideal of a city is hindered.
Prepare for Quiz on US Housing Policy, Housing Disparity, and Trends
Read the following for Session 3, 1/24:

Making Housing Happen (MHH), Shook, Ch. 2                                                           A Decent Home, Mallach, Ch.2 and 7-Be prepared for these discussion questions


  • Come Prepared to discuss at least three key elements within the history of housing in the U.S.
  • In the city that you grew up in or the city you selected for your presentation, how do you see this played out?                                  

Ch. 7:

  • What are 3 tools being used today to undo exclusionary practices?
  • There are mostly state laws, why do you think it needs to be addressed at this level?
  • How do you see exclusion practiced in your community?


Read: “The Making of Ferguson: Public Policies” at the Root of its Troubles, by Richard Rothstein.
Read the Article “Historical Factors Accounting for Differences in Black and White Wealth and Homeownership”  (This will be provided in class)    

Preparation for Final Interactive Group Presentations: Research in your community and adjacent communities on the homeless counts and the demographics of those considered homeless. Find out how and when the count was done, and if it was done. Also, find out the number of homeless children in your school district.  Find out how “homeless” is defined by your city and the school district and compare the two definition and counts.  Come prepare to discuss your findings in class.  

Resources to discover homeless count for community chosen:

City’s Count and Demographics and School District’s Count and Demographics (if it is reported on).

Session 3: January 24 Define the Housing Problem: complexities and its interplay with federal, state, and city housing mandates and court rulings that have shaped our nation.  

Define: Concentration, Exclusion, Fair and Healthy Housing, habitability, discrimination, and housing rights.       

Devotion:  Leviticus 14:43-45

Quiz on US Housing Policy, Housing Disparity, and Trends

Read and be prepared to discuss on 1/31: To understand the role that healthy homes and their location play in healing clients and healing our communities chose one chapter from Part 1 of Evicted by Matthew Desmond. Come to class prepared to discuss the connection between unhealthy homes, location and community health. (Read chapter and notes in the back of the book for the chapter you have chosen)
Preparation for Final Interactive Group Presentations:

  • Define the housing need in your chosen community using statistics, census data and consolidated plan to find the percentage of people cost burdened and severely cost burdened).
  • Research some of the laws in your community that govern building codes for healthy housing, the number of people who can legally live in a home, group home or an apartment, and laws that protect tenants and protect landlords

Choose one of three reflection papers, all due 1/31

  1. List community resources available to social workers and clients when their rights have been violated. Call each one and ask them a question about a housing injustice concern and what can be done to address it. Record the length of wait time, number of referrals given and call backs before getting the kind of help you requested. Describe this experience and if it was helpful
  2. Locate an area where there is over concentration and overcrowding and interview a parent to discern the reasons for and implications of overcrowding from their perspective.
  3. Is gentrification inevitable? Why or Why not? Why Can’t Harlem Stop Gentrification?
Session 4: January 31 Developing  theological frameworks for ownership, land, housing, and redemption of the cities: Human Rights Perspectives                                      

Devotion: What was Jesus about?  Luke 4: 18-19 and 1 Cor. 15 (Comparative Analysis).

Read the following in preparation for class discussion on Feb. 7:

MHH, Shook, Ch. 2                                       

The Land, Brueggemann, Ch. 1-6  (Book Report due 2/14)

City of Quartz, Mike Davis, Chapter 3, Homegrown Revolution                                                         
Preparation for Interactive Group Presentations: Deeper understanding our housing stories and the story of their chosen  city/neighborhood.

  • Seek to understand the theological story of the city/neighborhood chosen, considering a theology of place, the centrality of the church, what do the placement of the streets, parks, homes and city buildings say about the values of the city.

Extra Credit: Teach a Sunday School Class or Bible Study on your understanding of biblical land and housing policy and write a brief reflection on how it was received (Can Replace one of the reflection papers)


Session 5: February 7 Integrate theological frameworks including: what is the gospel, the role of the church and stories of clients.                                             

Devotion: What should the church be about?

Prepare for Quiz on Terms of Housing and Affordability

Read A Decent Home, Mallach, Ch. 11- and be prepared to answer the following questions for a quiz in class on Feb 14  

  • Why are there so many homeless folks?
  • Describe the housing first model?

Read: The Land, Brueggemann, Ch. 7-12 and write a 1.5 spaced five-page book review on Brueggemann. Describe the social location of the author and how this influences his work, the core teaching of the book, and three new ideas you would like to apply to Social Work practice and to the community where you live or work. (1,500 words)                                                                                 

Preparation for Integrative Group Presentations: What are the faith communities doing within the chosen community/city? Are there any working around homelessness and housing?

Session 6: February 14 Homelessness; Defining housing challenges: homelessness–roots and causes and reason for hope, and key concepts.                                                                   

Devotion: Discuss application of Acts 2 and 4, Nehemiah 1: 1-4 Heart Broken→ listened to God and the King
Quiz on Terms of Housing and Affordability

Prepare for Quiz on Homelessness

Read A Decent Home, Mallach Ch. 3 and Ch. 4- Answer Mallach Discussion Questions:                    

Ch. 3:

  • Why is design so important with affordable housing?
  • What are three essential elements of designing affordable housing?
  • How should decisions be made about the design of affordable housing?                                 

Ch. 4:

  • What are three of the criteria for selecting a site to build housing?
  • Why are good sites hard to find?
  • Describe the steps of getting projects approved.

Students choose one of the following case studies on new housing Development from Shook, MMH in chapters 3,7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 17 (Do presentation on one of the models for the class )
Preparation for the Interactive Group final project: Two choices: Have a conversation with someone in your community who is “homeless” (they may not think of themselves as homeless). Find out about their lives and family (with no attempts to fix or offer resources) or: Find out who is involved with homelessness in your community and interview them.

Session 7: February 21 Housing Development: Case Studies and Models                                                                                                     

Devotion: Story of the Shunamite woman, making an upper room for Elijah, having her home returned by the king after the famine

Quiz on Homelessness

Read A Decent Home, Mallach, Ch. 5 and Ch. 9- Answer Mallach Discussion Questions:                                                                           

Ch. 5:

  • What are three financial tools Mallach discusses to help fill in the gap needed to make housing affordable?
  • Can you think of any other ways to lower the cost that Mallach may have left out? (ex. Density Bonus).             

Ch. 9:

  • What are the benefits of affordable homeownership?
  • What are ways that churches can help people save their homes?
  • Describe what created the mortgage meltdown in 2007-2008

Read and Prepare Choose one of the case studies from Shook, MMH to present in class: 4,5, 6, 8, and 14
Preparation for Integrative Final Project: Find out about any affordable housing that exists in the city/community, who the developers were, and interview one of the affordable housing developers, asking questions we developed  in class.

Session 8: February 28 Field Trip                                            

Objective: To visualize and experience affordable housing, hear from their developers and residents, and understand how it changed the lives of the residents.

Turn in the Housing Models Evaluation worksheet.
Write a reflection paper on the field trip; A comparative analysis notes on their the partners, how they developed their funding source, challenges faced and lessons learned in each site.
Read A Decent Home, Ch. 6 and Ch. 10- Answer Mallach Discussion Questions:                       

Ch. 6:

  • Typically, to win tax credits you need a very experienced developer. So it’s best to start in affordable housing development by forming a partnership with one you respect so you can learn.        
  • What would you look for in an experienced and reputable affordable housing developer? (SCANPH Conference)
  • You would still want a team to work with the developer, what stakeholders should be on this team? (Think about your own community)    

Ch. 10                                                                                    

  • Why is affordable housing preservation so important?
  • What are two tools to preserve affordable homeownership?
  • What are two tools to preserve rental units as affordable?

Read: Read: Dreier, Peter.  “The phony case against rent control.” (31 pages) (
Preparation for Interactive Group Assignment: Make an appoint with one of the planning commissioners or city council persons from your community to have a one-to-one after Class Session 12 (April 4). This one-to-one is to discuss what the city official’s plans are to address homelessness in the city or community chosen and ask about the key policy you have chosen for your city (the key policies are taught in Session 12).

March 7 Spring Break
Session 9: March 14 Affordable Housing Preservation and Solutions-Reflection on Field Trip and all the tools to do affordable housing development (intermediaries).                             

Devotion: Acts 5-Ananias and Saphira, Look at Nehemiah’s partnerships

Read: Evicted, Matthew Desmond part II: each student takes a chapter, to read (chapter and notes for the chapter) and craft a presentation for class, retelling the story and key learnings that relate to connection what factors create housing instability and injustice, and landlords and policy.   


Preparation for Interactive Group Assignment: List the partnerships in our chosen communities that are  helping to bring about housing justice (banks, tax credits, bonds, business communities, churches, school districts). Are the cities and housing developers interviewed partnering with intermediaries (LISC-grants, Enterprise Partners, Policy Link) or HUD?

Session 10:

March 21

The Marriage of Macro Social Work and City Planning: Housing Element, CCD, New Urbanism, Smart Growth, Housing Trends, Alternative Building materials (Ecological Theory).                                        

Devotion: From the Garden to the City ; Rev. 21:2- New Jerusalem; The Space Between– Eric Jacobson; Two Kingdoms- Where are you? Gen. 3:9

Read: A Decent Home, Mallach, Ch. 8 and Ch. 12- Answer Mallach Discussion Questions:                     

Ch. 8:

  • Why is it important to consider housing development and community development at the same time?
  • As communities are revitalized, housing costs tend to increase. What are some strategies for maintaining a healthy mix of income levels within the community?
  • What are some national intermediaries that help local CDC’s reach these goals?    

Ch 12:

What is inclusionary housing and under what circumstance does inclusionary housing work well.

  • What are typical incentives provided for developers and key elements of a successful inclusionary housing ordinance?
  • What are some of the legal hurdles that need to be addressed to make  inclusionary housing work?

Read: MHH, Shook, Ch. 15-16  
Read: Alexia Salvatierra, Faith-Rooted Organizing, Ch. 2, self interest vs. moral wisdom and faith tradition, and biblical theme: family, means are important as the ends, long team kingdom approach.



Integrative Group Presentations: Find the Housing Element for your chosen city and identify 3 goals with deadlines that see if these have been accomplished on time.

Session 11:  

March 28

Going up the stream vs. Putting out fires:  Intro to housing housing policy, how decision are made and how we can influence them.                                                                                                 

Devotion: Nehemiah 1:1-4

Read: A Decent Home, Mallach, Ch. 13- Answer Mallach Discussion Questions: Ch. 13

  • What policies will help increase the stock of affordable homes for low-income home buyers?
  • What can be done to preserve existing affordable rental housing?
  • How can we help renters to afford housing? How can we encourage more mixed income communities? Why are community land trusts and shared-equity

Read and Prepare presentation  on their chosen story (chapter and notes for the chapter) from Part III of Evicted, Matthew Desmond come prepared to retell the story and share feelings, key learnings the connection of this book to Macro social work.

Read: Faith-Rooted Organizing Ch. 5, Serpent and Dove Power; Ch. 8, Prophetic ways to use of our emotional, spiritual, intellectual and symbolic resources.
Integrative Group Presentations: Look at Key Housing Policy in the City and Community shaping the affordable housing picture

Session 12:      April 4 How to be an advocate-with that one policy. Steps to Advocacy.               

                                                                                    Devotion: Matthew 10: 1-30: Command to public courts as a public witness (Serpent Power).

Read: Evicted, Matthew Desmond, Epilogue
Read: Faith-Rooted Organizing, Salvatierra, Ch. 9 and 10                                       

Preparation Integrative Group Presentations:  Meet with a city official this week and practice what you have learned in class. Select which group will be featured in the next class. Have everyone research the one policy that the chosen team has selected

Session 13:       April 11 Advocacy practice/ You can’t do this alone.  How to start a housing group and why.  

                                                          Devotion: John 1-35-50: Selecting people as Jesus selected Nathaniel-He chose selected and chose the 12; Ryan Bell’s video

Read: Faith-Rooted Organizing, Salvatierra, Ch. 6, 7, and 9

Preparation Interactive Group Presentations: Find out if your community is part of any of the following  housing and housing related governmental agencies: HUD, tax credit syndicators, the CDC, intermediary housing organizations that are involved in funding, technical support, research, advocacy, and certifications( i.e. the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Enterprise Partners, Neighborworks USA, National Fair Housing, Community Land Trust Network), and any state advocacy organizations like Housing CA and more.

Session 14:      April 18 Local, regional, State and national housing resources and helping others tell their stories: Empowerment Theory


Devotion: Proverbs 8-9; John 1

Finalize Integrative Group Presentations


Session 15:      April 25 Student Presentations and Capstones

Objectives:  To learn from each other, how to provide meaningful feedback to each other, and show how we have been able to apply what we have learned within our own context.

Course Evaluations.

Present the final integrative group presentations:   Present the final integrative group presentations:  Using course learnings, and community based research, they will share their own housing story, provide their own biblical framework, describe demographics, income level, history and culture of their chosen community, the role of the church and social work, and how best practices in housing development, housing preservation, and fair housing may or may not have been practiced in this community and what could be done to move this community closer to housing justice.
Session 16: May 2 Student Presentations

Objective: To learn from each other, how to provide meaningful feedback to each other, and show how we have been able to apply what we have learned within our own context.

Course Evaluations

Present the final integrative group presentations:  Present the final integrative group presentations:  Using course learnings, and community based research, they will share their own housing story, provide their own biblical framework, describe demographics, income level, history and culture of their chosen community, the role of the church and social work, and how best practices in housing development, housing preservation, and fair housing may or may not have been practiced in this community and what could be done to move this community closer to housing justice.



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2 Responses to “My Course: Housing Justice and Community Organizing”

  1. Stuart L Smits January 1, 2017 at 6:26 pm #

    Best of luck with you new class. So much current activity to keep abreast.

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