17 Dec

nativity“It’s a universal story. It concerns a man and his pregnant wife. After a long journey they arrive at last at the man’s hometown, only to find there’s no place to lay their heads. Tired and discouraged, they come at last to a crowded inn and there’s no room so they ask if they can find shelter in the stable. Thus, was the prince of peace born.”

Rick Cole, former mayor of Pasadena and a member of MHCH, shared these words during our Dec 4th online gathering “There’s no place like home.” He went on to say,

“MHCH is all about making sure that everyone has a place they can afford, a place to call home. Our successes are making a large difference in the lives of our neighbors. Support us so we can find room in our community for all who need it.” (To donate, click here.)

During our online celebration Cynthia Kirby shared her story about living for 10 years on the street and how housing and the love of Christ changed her life. Members of our six committees told why they were moved to give their time and hearts to housing justice: Congregational Land Committee (CLC), Safe Parking, Affordable/Supportive Advocates (ASHA), Community Land Trust (CLT), Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and the North Fair Oaks Empowerment Initiative.  At a time of growing racial inequities, we thank God for the diversity on our teams and among the 23 churches in our network.  We heard religious and community leaders give testimonials about why they support MHCH.  We heard Elvis sing our theme song “There’s no place like home” and “Tramp on the Street” a moving music video by John York  (of the Byrds) about our homeless neighbors. Nearly two hundred people from across the nation and across the political spectrum joined together, united by the ancient biblical vision that “everyone will live under their own vine and fig tree, at peace and unafraid” (Micah 4:4).

Like the birth of Jesus, our celebration was all about hope in a time of darkness. About churches and our city coming together as a beloved community. About seeing Pasadena’s homeless count decline 54% in the last decade while the count in most of LA County increased. We celebrate hope because this fall the Pasadena City Council approved 112 units of affordable housing, right smack in the heart of our city, next to City hall, with 10% of these units for homeless seniors! We celebrate because 902 affordable housing units are in our city’s pipeline. We celebrate because 34 churches are interested in partnering with our Congregational land team; this could produce 1,000s of affordable units.  (112 people showed up at a city workshop to support a zone change to make this possible!)

None of this would have happened without advocacy, careful research and organizing. That’s why at our celebration we honored Allison Henry, organizer for Everyone In, along with our church liaison coordinator Bert Newton and two City Council members who are champions of affordable housing.

mcaustinMargaret McAustin, a City Council woman whom we honored for championing Marv’s Place, which provides homes for 19 formerly unhoused families, praised MHCH: “As an organization, MHCH has grown so much. It has become an organization that researches and studies best practices that help inform city policies on affordable housing. That’s how affordable housing becomes more a part of our city in everything that we do.”

kennedyJohn Kennedy,
 another Council member we honored, is counting on us to support his bold vision: to see 1,000 units of affordable housing built in the next three years. He says: “I want to see the city do more than just adopt a policy directive to house low, very low and extremely low income residents. These categories are the hardest to produce. But if the city partners with developers to produce this housing, we as a community can get this done.”

molinaAt the celebration Anne Marie Molina, mother of five and chair of our Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Committee, shared her moving story about being a homeless teenager and how her life was transformed when she was sheltered by the Salvation Army. She has become a proud mother, banker and advocate for affordable housing. She says: “Homelessness is not the result of drug use or any other single cause. It’s a kaleidoscope of reasons that people become homeless. MHCH understands that so well. Their work for housing justice makes our whole community better. Everyone should support their work.”

Peter Havholm, a retired English professor, helps our volunteers write their housing stories of hope. Andre White also told his story about leaving his job as a trader on Wall Street to return to Hilton Head Island to help his African American community save their land from large resorts.

During this holiday season we want to wish you all a blessed time, despite the COVID crisis and all its challenges. As we celebrate a child who was born in stable, please remember those who are without a home or housing insecure and consider how you can hope. There is much we can do!

If you are in the Pasadena area, we have openings in our ASHA, ADU and CLT teams. Please consider encouraging your church or faith community to become part of our network of congregations. You can also take part in a campaign or make a recurring donation.

When we work together, we can create what Dr. King called the “beloved community” where there is room for everyone!

With hope and joy,

Jill and Anthony

jill and anthony

“No Place Like Home” Celebration Videos

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