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/

 

 

 

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