Seven big Housing Justice Accomplishments in 2019! Rejoice with us!

1 Jan

             Before Christmas POP! (Pasadenans Organizing for Progress) wanted a list of what our local affordable housing group has accomplished in 2019 in preparation for an “Progressive of the Year” award given to me—and really to all of us. It takes a huge village to make affordable housing happen. (see this link to read the article about our efforts Pasadena Now, Progressive of the Year Award

award from Judy Chu

No state or regional laws requires affordable housing, so when just one church wants to build it, one person wants to create an affordable granny flat in their back yard or one person shows up at a public meeting, signs a letter, contributes financially or more, it makes a real difference. In writing this list of seven accomplishments, I was truly humbled and amazed. So please read and thank God with us for what together we have accomplished in 2019…and give if God so leads.

 1.  Inclusionary: We successfully advocated to increase the affordable housing set aside from 15% to 20%, significantly increased the in lieu fee which will encourage on-site affordable units, and when it is paid this fee will provide more money to build even more affordable housing. We also advocated to end trade downs. Advocates from San Gabriel, Alhambra and Monrovia joined our team and are now working on inclusionary policies in their community.

2. Homeless housing: We successfully advocated for 134 units of permanent supportive housing (which ends chronic homelessness) at Heritage Square South and the Salvation Army. In anticipation of the approval of 94 more affordable housing units in the Civic Center, half for homeless, half for low income families, we have conducted vigils each week that the city council meets in front of the vacant YWCA. Some of churches that have participated are: First Baptist, Calvary, First UMC, Rose City Church, Neighborhood Church, Quaker Meeting, and Mennonites.  

 3. Housing Preservation: We planned a prayer vigil to preserve 169 affordable units in Chang Commons on the Fuller Campus with over 100 in attendance. This event and the team that emerged from it, helped to preserve these units and served to keep Fuller in Pasadena.

4. Church Land: We started a new subcommittee in the summer to help churches interested in building affordable housing to go down that path with expert consultation, with the end goal helping the church create their own Requests for Proposals (RFP) that they can float to affordable housing developers based on what is feasible, what they want and is in line with their mission, and what the community wants. This team is now working with seven churches in Pasadena and Southern CA cities. See:  

 5. ADUs: Formed a team that is researching how to make Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs or Granny Flats) more affordable with pre-approved designs and other ways to streamline the process. This team has supported the many new state ADU policies—most of which got passed! We can now build an ADU within the footprint of your home, plus in a converted garage or detached!  

6. Education: We had a leadership retreat in January 2019 with our One-Year Housing Justice students from CO, TX and Pasadena, in collaboration with our local GPAHG team. At this retreat we learned how to tell our own housing stories, played the Unjust Housing Policy game and more. In the summer/fall we collaborated with Blair Miller and Everyone In to plan three Homeless to Housed Bus tours, filling busloads of key leaders from San Gabriel Valley cities to tour permanent supportive housing—all a huge success! We had monthly educational forums on: Gentrification, Theology of Land and housing, Community Land Trusts, Rent Control and other tenant protections, plus Trauma in homelessness and supportive housing. We have attended many educational forums, events on workshops always learning to hone our knowledge and skills, including in Georgia and Texas to learn more about Community Land Trusts and housing justice efforts in other parts of our nation.

7. Internal capacity building: We designed and built a website: We finished a 6-min video about our housing justice Institutes: We raised $20,000 in donations during the year and won a $20,000 grant. We hired two staff: Morgan, our office beautiful and helpful assistant; and Bert Newton, our Liaison Church coordinator. Bert was hired to recruit 20 churches committed to our work, and has accomplished much in the these first four months of his efforts. In November we held a gala event with a live 40’s band from JPL, tables for partners including affordable housing developers, and Marshall High students—with 100 in attendance… see picture below of children who participated.  From this and Giving Tuesday, God moved in many hearts to give. We are so thankful and blown away!  But I also know that some may be lead to give financially. So here it is…  Should God so move you to participate in this way here’s a link in how to give:

Today I am busy today finalizing details for our upcoming leadership retreat this Saturday. This is specifically for our core group, committee chairs and those representing their churches. If you are part of a local church in Pasadena and would like to become more involved, please contact me or Bert Newton,

We can’t thank you enough for your part in making housing justice happen!

With Joy in this amazing journey, Jill Shook

Happy New Year! 

the kids go marching




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