Affordable Housing News, Action Update, With Two Joys….

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

While reading through the articles for this week, I am reminded of the scripture in Mathew 25:35-40 in which Jesus tells us that nations will be judged on how they treat the poor, sick and marginalized:  “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

As a Christian I believe that God wants our lives to overflow with mercy, love and compassion, as was the case with Dr. King, the late Pasadena City Council Member John Kennedy and Rev. William Barber. I want to encourage you, as I was encouraged by reading this week’s newsletter  to believe that we can make a difference. Marisol Torres   


Black Affordable Housing Rock Starse83328_6c934b1df9014f90aad57a74fd8e980f_mv2

Dr. King, the Poor People’s Campaign and Councilmember John Kennedy

by Anthony Manousos

Dr. King deserves recognition for his commitment to affordable housing and ending poverty. (Incidentally, since I’m being Pasadena-centric, did you know Dr. King spoke three times in Pasadena—In 1958, 1960, and 1965—at Friendship Baptist Church and CalTech?)

During the final year of his life, in 1968, Dr. King focused on two causes that made him many enemies and may have cost him his life: opposing the Vietnam War and leading the Poor People’s Campaign for economic justice. An important aspect of the Poor People’s Campaign was to petition the government to pass an Economic Bill of Rights, which demanded, among other things, construction of 500,000 low-cost housing units per year until slums were eliminated. Today Rev. William Barber is carrying forward Dr. King’s call for economic as well as social justice:

Instead of spending nearly $180 billion per year on mass incarceration, we could use those resources to build and maintain affordable housing for everyone. We could put the 18 million vacant homes to their intended use and end homelessness. The trillions of dollars being created and spent by the government and the Federal Reserve show that we have the resources to solve these problems and end this injustice. See Fact Sheet.

In 2018 Jill, Bert Newton and I partnered with Rev. Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign and made it the focus of the Palm Sunday Peace Parade, which lifted up Jesus as the Prince of Peace and attracted around 150 people of faith each year.  2018 was also the year when we started our nonprofit Making Housing and Community Happen (MHCH).

In 2020 Pasadena City Council member John Kennedy was given the MHCH Affordable Housing Rock Star award and has a special place in my heart because he was such an ardent advocate for affordable housing. He called for 1,000 units of affordable housing for low- and very-low-income residents in 1,000 days. Through his passionate persistence he helped our city to reach this goal. He also supported rezoning religious land for affordable housing and cast a vote in favor of this policy last summer. To our shock and dismay, he died three days later. We grieve his loss but are grateful that his legacy lives on. This year Heritage Square South—a project that will provide a supportive home for 69 unhoused seniors—will open up in Kennedy’s district. It was a project that would not have happened without his support.

The best way to honor the memory of this amazing man is to continue to advocate for what he liked to term “the least of these” and make sure that everyone in our city is decently and affordably housed. Yes, we can!

Stories in this issue – CLICK HERE

  • Black History Month: King and Councilmember John J. Kennedy.
  • MHCH Housing Justice Forum: “Pasadena Rent Control: It Is In Effect, Despite What Some People Say–Know Your New Rights and How to Assert Them.”
  • Two joys this week: A win for democracy and for our homeless neighbors!
  • “How Federal, State and Local Law and Policies Segregated US Cities….” “Segregated by Design,” a video based on Richard Rothstein’s Color of Law.
  • Black Affordable Housing Rock Stars: King and Council member John Kennedy. Video with John Kennedy receiving his award.
  • The Pasadena Affordable Housing Coalition Update by Ed Washatka.

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