Search results for 'comparative analysis'

Open letter to the Pasadena City Council and Comparative Analysis of the Impact of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in three Pasadena neighborhoods

7 Jan

GPAHG ADU Case Study Comparison

Dear Pasadena City Council,

After your decision on 12-9-2019  to pursue a lawsuit in response to the new ADU policies, and your feelings that the State was making an overreach and deconstructing our neighborhoods, I feel compelled to re-send you the comparative study we did in 2017 which analyzed three Pasadena neighborhoods with upwards to 90 legal ADUs in each one, demonstrating no real impact on these neighborhoods.

We first identified 740 legal ADU in Pasadena, grandfathered in before Pasadena’s restrictive ADU policy in 2003.  We then plotted them on a map and proceeded to analyze these three neighborhoods, one in the southern part of Pasadena, one in the central north and one neighborhood in NW Pasadena. Please carefully read our study. GPAHG ADU Case Study Comparison We put much effort into this and feel that now it the time to re-visit this in light of our concerns about possible negative impacts.

Since there are no demonstrable negative impacts, we’d like to know why some feel that this new state policies would “deconstruct” neighborhoods.  What is the basis for this?

This excellent article I mentioned last week at the city council meeting focuses on housing for the “missing middle” by use of ADUs and a number of other policies in Portland, Boulder (CO), and Cambridge (MA). Helping the “missing middle” has been a deep concern of the City for some time.

Again we thank you in advance for reviewing this before any further discussion about a possible lawsuit. Here is the article: Gentle Infill of ADUs address the missing middle

Additionally, it seemed as if there may have been a misunderstanding about some of the state policies allow. It’s very clear in your staff report and appendixes that Junior ADUs require owner occupancy. This indeed would prevent absentee landlords from buying a home and using it as a “cash cow.”  See number C. 5. on the staff report: Pasadena staff report on State Policies

Thank you for passing many good policies regarding ADUs in recent years. These new state laws propose little variation from what you approved in the past. Let’s wait and see if the concerns you have may actually materialize before preempting them before the community has a chance to help the city provide sorely needed additional housing units.

Jill Shook, Executive Director of MHCH -Making Housing and Community Happen and GPAHG-the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group

Affordable Housing Rock Stars of 2019!

11 Dec

During MHCH’s “Affordable Housing Rocks” celebration in November, 2019, we gave Rock Star Awards to the following individuals:

Phil Burns:  Phil has been part of GPAHG for years, especially in helping to do research for ADUs-by creating a comparative analysis of streets with many ADU to adjacent streets with no ADUs (looking at crime, traffic, parking, property values, visibility). This year he has again jumped into housing justice work with his whole heart, mind and soul to ensure that GPAHG had solid research so that we could advocate for 20% or even 25% set aside for our inclusionary policy. He not only attended our weekly inclusionary meetings, he also met with key city staff and elected leaders to share this research.  God was stirring in his heart as well as in Jill’s heart to start a Church Land Committee, whereby churches may consider building affordable housing on their property. He has shown superb leadership and today chairs that committee. This team (Andre White-a Harvard trained affordable housing developer, Hugh Martinez, with 16 years of affordable housing development experiences, Cynthia Kurtz, an ex-city manager for Pasadena and John Oh-a pastor who now works with LA Voice also seeking find churches interested in building affordable housing on church land) has already has met with a number of interested churches to begin this discussion, and determine what is feasible on their land and to help them to walk down the path of building affordable housing on their property should God so lead.

Dan Davidson. Pastor Dan, of the Rose City Church, has been very faithful in his role as chair of Pasadena’s Partnership to End Homelessness Faith Community Committee and has encouraged people to embrace advocacy along with providing services. He has been extremely supportive of GPAHG and has spoken at several Housing Justice Institutes on the best practices to end homelessness. He understands the value of the Housing First model, and why permanent supportive housing is what ends homelessness.

Teresa Eilers: In her short time working with Everyone In (United Way) has already shown a tremendous understanding of housing justice and how to be an effective organizer. With love and great talent, she has connected with the key players and elected leaders in the San Gabriel Valley. She has helped to organize successful events such as the Homeless to Housed Bus Tours. In addition to being a superb organizer, she is a good listener and an articulate speaker.

Blair Miller:  Blair is a tireless affordable housing developer and advocateShe consistently shows up at the City Council and now serves on the Planning Commission, always supporting policies and zoning needed to make affordable housing happen. She came up with the idea of continuing our past efforts of hosting Homeless to Housed bus tours, which help to dispelling myths about affordable housing, by enabling key leaders to get inside beautiful affordable housing, see how it transforms communities and lives. This year she helped she created a team to plan two more highly successful Homeless to Housed Bus Tour.  In recent years, she also played a very significant role in our efforts on North Fair Oaks by deploying a team to create focus groups, who helped to identifying specific things like cross walks, signage, fixing broken sidewalks and “Complete Streets” plan to slow traffic—and how to get these things done.

 Anne Marie Molina. She was homeless as a teen. Today she is married, with five children and dealing with a life-threatening disease. Her commitment to housing justice goes back to when she helped to save hundreds of people from foreclosure by giving them home loan modifications. When she decided to build an ADU for her motherinlaw(a granny flat for granny) she turned a challenging situation into an opportunity to help others. She joined GPAHG and began to learn how to be an advocate. She has involved her family, including her daughter Lili, in housing justice work. She has created a team to learn all they could about ADUs, how to create a prototype to lower the cost and streamline the application process.  She and her team have become involved in advocacy at the local and state level. She has truly become a housing justice rock star.

Liliana Molina. At age 15 she has demonstrated commitment and leadership beyond her years, advocating for housing justice at the City Council, meeting with elected officials, and involving her friends in this work. She has served as an assistant to Jill and as an intern in the Pasadena Housing Department. She recently started an Advocacy Club at her school.

What are the impacts and benefits of Granny Flats?

10 Jul

Our Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group did a comparative analysis of two neighborhoods, one with only three  back houses, and  one with fifty and we found no significant difference in property values, traffic, parking, the visual impact or character of the neighborhood. See our study here: ADU Comparative Study

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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History of the Greater Pasadena Area Housing Group

3 May

The Early beginnings to present (1995-2019)

During the 1980s and 1990s, housing costs and eviction rates soared across the country because of the Savings and Loans crisis.  Many grassroots nonprofits and advocacy groups were formed at this time to address the growing need for affordable housing throughout the US.  In Pasadena, Affordable Housing Action (AHA), an advocacy group with Quaker roots, was birthed during this period. This was the forerunner of GPAHG.

AHA had their first meeting at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) office which was then located on North Fair Oaks Avenue. AHA met monthly to address the need for affordable housing in Pasadena. AHA was committed to the production and preservation of quality, appropriate, affordable housing with priority on the most vulnerable populations of low to no-income residents, and the dispersal of this housing throughout the city of Pasadena.

AHA identified their first official advocacy initiative in 1995 when A.B. 1164, also known as the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, was passed. This bill enabled owners in rent-controlled communities to establish their own rental rates after occupancy changes. To achieve stability in housing costs, AHA began to advocate for rent control in Pasadena, without success. (In 2017 this cause was taken up by the Pasadena Tenants Union and continues to be supported by GPAHG, with much more promising prospects).

In 2000, AHA changed its name to the Pasadena Affordable Housing Group (PAHG) and was no longer officially affiliated with the AFSC. In 2006, PAHG decided to expand its work to the San Gabriel Valley and changed its name to GPAHG—Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group.

In 2017, after twenty years of successful advocacy as a grassroots organization, with no paid staff, GPAHG began to feel the need to explore becoming a nonprofit to expand its efforts. In 2018, GPAHG became incorporated under Making Housing and Community Happen, utilizing the fiscal sponsorship of Social Good.

In 2018 GPAHG’s core leadership team voted to become faith-rooted in its approach. GPAHG is not exclusive to only one faith—all are welcome and respected, including those who are not religious. GPAHG is not shy about its Quaker and Christian roots, but neither does it minimize another’s faith or motivation.  GPAHG is founded on the belief in a God of justice and that with God all things are possible.  GPAHG urges its members and the city to dream and imagine a community where all are adequately housed.  It takes faith to believe that such housing can happen. It takes faith to believe that the hearts and minds of decision makers can be changed by the power of a loving God. GPAHG is committed to the redemption of the city, both its systems and its decision-makers.

Currently, GPAHG has an estimated 20 members. Over the years, GPAHG has 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.

In its twenty-year history, GPAHG, in collaboration with community partners twice GPAHG has employed tools like affordable housing bus tours and candidates’ forums. Bus tours served to dispel myths about affordable housing when people could see its high quality and how it serves not only to provide sorely needed affordable housing but also to beautify communities. Candidates forums have served to educate the city council, commissions, and Pasadena residents on policies that enable or incentivize affordable housing within the city.  At candidate forums, key questions are asked, with candidate starting their positions on specific housing issues. Forums take place before elections, and in public venues, thereby holding elected officials accountable to what they have stated. These are excellent organizing tools, but most of GPAHG work is done in small groups: researching issues, meeting one-on-one with stakeholders and elected officials, building consensus around a position on an issue, then gathering up crowds among a broad cross section of the city and especially the support of congregations, weigh in, strengthen and support the findings, and share talking points at public meetings.  Below you will read of key campaigns, wins and losses that that have shaped what GPAHG is today.

Inclusionary: A Powerful win for affordable housing! (2001-2010)

In 2001, PAHG was part of a citywide advocacy effort to pass an Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, which requires developers to set aside a certain percentage of their units as affordable when they build more than 10 units. As of March 2019, this ordinance has resulted in the creation of 577 affordable housing units at no cost to the city by requiring that 15% of all new housing include affordable units. (Because the ordinance required only a 6% set aside during its first year, many developers in Old Pasadena quickly pulled permits to take advantage of this.)

In 2010, reading the local Star News, GPAHG learned of an 800-unit proposal, the largest ever in Pasadena. GPAHG called Sares Regis, the developer, who was eager to meet to gain community support, and a meeting was set. At this meeting GPAHG asked if they were planning to pay the in-lieu fee or include 15% of units as affordable. When they responded that they would supply only moderate-income units on site, GPAHG stated that it supported only lower income units. In a follow up meeting two weeks later, Sares Regis decided to provide all very-low income units and go above the 15% required to 20%, resulting in 96 very-low-income units spread throughout their luxury development.

This TOD-Transit Oriented Development is smart growth at is its finest, undoing exclusionary practices, creating affordable housing indistinguishable from the luxury units, all within a few minutes’ walk to job-rich Old Pasadena, and a few more minutes’ walk to the metro station.

Many residents fear or oppose more traffic, often equating it with higher density housing. Surprisingly, higher density and affordable housing often lower traffic if the units are near jobs and transportation alternatives. This was the case with Westgate. Their traffic study was questioned, causing the city to make them redo it, with the same positive results.  With proximity to the metro, offering shared electric vehicles, zip cars and other traffic mitigation efforts, traffic at and around Westgate has been greatly reduced. Sares Regis has won green builder awards with their strong commitment to green building:

Not all developers are as generous as Sares Regis, opting to include all very-low income units.  Holly Street Apartments is the only other development with 20% of the units set aside as affordable.  To prevent the set aside units from being 100% moderate, GPAHG helped to change the Inclusionary Ordinance so that only 5% could be moderate and the rest either low or very low-income units. GPAHG also played a role in helping the city to increase the in-lieu fee option, so that is would cover a higher percent of the affordability gap. To date, this fee is still too low. In 2016, the housing department conducted a nexus study demonstrating that the fee should be increased by up to four times. In 2019, the City Council will consider increasing this fee. You will read more about inclusionary below.

Granny Flat and Down-Zoning setbacks! (2003)

In 2003 PAHG experienced a major setback in response to AB 1866.This state law made it possible once again to build granny flats (Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs) behind homes throughout the state, but unfortunately it also allowed cities to create their own ordinances. Cities across the state began to pass restrictive ADU ordinances to prevent AB 1866 from being implemented. Pasadena’s passed one of the more restrictive policies. GPAHG felt it was prepared with 21 pastors standing strong until after midnight, with powerful stories, solid talking points with reasonable requests of allowing detached granny flats on 7,500 sf lots. But after midnight the City Council found a way to do the opposite, passing a highly restrictive ADU ordinance that required a minimum lot size of 15,000 sq. ft. Additionally, the city added the unusual requirement of a two-car garage for one of these small units. Furthermore, these units could not to be visible from the street, and no ADUs could be allowed more than 500 feet from any other ADU. As a result of so many restrictions, only ADU was built in 15 years! Nevertheless, GAHG remained committed to granny flats. Fifteen years later, thanks to a new state law, new city ordinances were passed to enable granny flats to be built in Pasadena, as will be explained later.

In addition to trying to restrict ADUs, the City Council began down zoning major sections of the city, posing further challenges to the creation of affordable housing. PAHG joined an effort to prevent downzoning on Los Robles between Orange Grove and Washington, whereby the zoning capacity would be cut in half, from 32 units per acre to 16 units per acre. This is not good news for affordable housing. Such low densities greatly limit housing development capacity, typically preventing affordable units. Even with 300 strong at the City Council in support of retaining the existing 32 units per acre, the neighborhood associations prevailed. But GPAHG did not give up and is still committed to higher density and smart growth.

Turning a Military Base to Affordable Housing (2005-2006)

In 2005, the Desiderio Army Reserve Center under the famous Colorado Street bridge was declared surplus by the United States Army. GPAHG researched and found that housing for homeless veterans was supposed to be a priority use when bases close. GPAHG showed up at each public meeting to remind the City Council of this priority. They also reminded the community that the development capacity on this site of 70 units could go a long way in meeting a very real need to address homelessness.  After the City went through many lengthy public hearings, the Department of Defense (DOD) and HUD-(Housing and Urban Development) initially rejected the city’s proposed use because it lacked any homeless housing. Reworking the proposal, the city was able to use units for homeless housing at Centennial Place to satisfy federal requirements.

Habitat proposed building affordable housing on the Desiderio site. GPAHG chose to support Habitat’s proposal with the strong support of many churches and ECPAC—the Ecumenical Council of Pasadena Area Churches. (ECPAC is now Friends in Deed). Today this site has nine beautiful Habitat homes, with three for veterans, and a neighborhood park in the works. See:

In 2006, PAHG decided to expand its work to the San Gabriel Valley and changed its name to GPAHG—Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group.

Advocating for the Displaced Disabled, Elderly (2007)

In 2007, GPAHG became aware that a developer named Singoli purchased Pasadena Manor and was evicting 157 elderly and disabled residents to make way for the Constance Hotel. With the support of Unite Here, and the sad yet powerful stories of displaced residents, GPAHG made this front-page news and repeatedly filled the council chambers with people demanding that if Singoli were to receive $11 million in federal revitalization funds, they should pay relocation costs for the displaced residents and the city’s living wage for hotels workers. Repeated city council meetings took place with no decision to honor any of GPAHG’s requests, and the deadline passed to submit the proposal for federal funds. GPAHG successfully prevented federal dollars from being used to make a luxury hotel that was displacing long term elderly residents, but more importantly, GPAHG worked with a lawyer that enabled many of the elderly residents eventually received relocation costs.See:

 Housing Department formed, inclusionary housing muLtiplied (2008-2019)

In 2008, GPAHG successfully advocated for Pasadena to create a Housing Department separate from the Planning Department. This has enabled a much higher production of affordable housing. For example, not only have 577 units been created through the inclusionary housing ordinance, but over 690 additional units have been created or preserved through leveraging fees that developers have an option to pay in lieu of including affordable units.

In 2018 the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance was up for review. A GPAHG subcommittee spent a year studying ways to strengthen this complex ordinance. They decided to advocate for retaining the in-lieu fee option (at a much higher rate) since it is the only locally generated funding source for affordable housing. If affordable housing developers are approved for a project in Pasadena, they often apply for and receive in lieu funding from the city. They can then leverage this seed money anywhere up to 3-8 times to build out the funding needed to complete the project.

GPAHG is also recommending that Pasadena consider following the example of Chicago: there, if a developer wishes to pay a fee in lieu of building affordable units, they can apply the fee option to only half of the units set aside to be affordable, while the other half must be included on site. GPAHGs inclusionary team has proposed this option and other key points that would strengthen this ordinance. Additionally, they are recommending that the 15% set aside is doubled in TOD sites, ¼ mile around Transit Oriented Developments. Santa Monica and Hawaii have 30% set asides for their larger developments and Metro requires 35% of their land be for affordable housing. There are many other recommendations that GPAHG’s Inclusionary team has been proposing to the Planning Commission, the Housing and Planning Departments and the City Council. See: the city has conducted a feasibility study, it likely be voted on in mid-2019.

The “Greater Pasadena” part of GPAHG is finally coming to pass with several Monrovia residents joining the Inclusionary team to learn how to move forward in passing an inclusionary ordinance for their city.

 GPAHG Helps Pasadena Craft an Award-Winning Housing Element (2013-2021)

Over the years GPAHG has also played a pivotal role in shaping Pasadena’s Housing Elements (HE). This is a comprehensive document which plans for enough housing for all income levels and must be submitted to the state every 4-8 years.  The key word is plan. With the severe shortage of affordable housing, the state is adding more teeth to foster more accountability so that cities will implement these plans.

Only one public body in the city discussed affordable housing: the Economic Development and Technology Subcommittee of the City Council. GPAHG’s efforts to add an affordable housing commission to the city has not yet materialized, but the Planning Commission now plays the role of implementing the Housing Element. Their agenda is quite full, so the HE has not received the attention it deserves. But some added support was won by requiring the Planning Commission to devote at least two of their meetings a year to affordable housing. GPAHG also garnered support for the Housing Department to have two workshops a year on some aspect of affordable housing. Topics have included: ADUs, a debate on the pros and cons of a housing commission, and ideas for additional funding sources.

These extra city-based supports have been appreciated, but don’t go far enough. Thankfully, the state is starting to hold cities accountable for reaching their housing goals. Often cities simply say they don’t have the funding for affordable housing so it can’t be done. But groups like LA Voice with Faith in Action didn’t allow this to be a reason not to build affordable housing. In 2017 they organized their 58 member congregations to pass a quarter cent sales tax, Measure H, which provided the needed funding for permanent supportive housing, which ends homelessness. The challenge now it to get land use approvals so the funding can be accessed.

In 2014 GPAHG in partnership Public Council wrote a 21-page detailed analysis of Pasadena’s Housing Element. This included vetting every proposed site where affordable housing could be built. GPAHG visited each site and determined if affordable housing was feasible there.

GPAHG also advocated for the creation of some additional housing goals, which were included. For example, the innovative idea to “study options to change the tenant protection ordinance and for options for preserving non-deed restricted affordable housing by 2016” (p. A-32 of the 2013-2021 Housing Element). GPAHG felt that good landlords charging reasonable rents should be incentivized, perhaps with some green features in exchange for reasonable rents. While this out-of-the box idea made it into to the approved HE, it still needs to be thoroughly studied and implemented. Perhaps in 2019 this will finally take place, four years after the deadline.

GPAHG advocated for these deadlines in order to keep the city accountable to its commitment to create affordable housing. One year, at the ninth hour, GPAHG asked the HDC—the state’s Housing and Urban Development Department—to send the HE back to have deadlines added to many of the goals before it would be approved. Too many of the goals were “ongoing,” which would roll into the next HE 4-8-year cycle and not be addressed. For example, studying granny flats had been pushed into the next Housing Element cycle several times. Today, due to GPAHG’s effort, there are many more deadlines.

Many in GPAHG believe that its efforts were at least partly responsible for this HE winning a Planning Award of Merit for Focused Issue Planning by the California-Los Angeles Chapter of the American Planning Association. Additionally, this Housing Element, alongside Austin, TX, won the 2014 Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award for Best Housing Element by the Urban Land Institute’s Tewillinger Center for Housing.  GPAHG continually participates at city council meetings to encourage the goals of the Housing Element are met and implemented.  See:

GPAHG Holds Fuller Seminary Accountable for Affordable Housing and Spurs a Stronger Tenant Protection Ordinance [TPO] (2014-present)

In 2014, GPAHG was alerted to Fuller Seminary’s sale of 197 student housing units to Carmel Partners, a luxury builder. By so doing it broke their 20-year Fuller Master Plan (MP) agreement with the city, which was adopted in 2006 and stated that all housing within its MP was to be used for affordable student housing. GPAHG sought to retain this agreement in multiple ways—first, by seeking to apply AB 2222, whereby a unit in which a lower income person had lived within the past five years had to be replaced in the new development. This law only applied to developments asking for a density bonus. The AB 1818 state Density bonus law allows up to 35% more units in a development if very-low income units are included, overriding existing allowed densities. Additionally, Pasadena allows an additional 50% density bonus in the central district to encourage new development away from single family neighborhoods. Typically, these are attractive tools to incentivize developers to provide affordable units. But Carmel Partners were not interested in taking advantage of this bonus, so none of the 197 lower income units were replaced. This was a huge loss and missed opportunity since this site is ideal for higher density housing.

Upon learning that no Fuller student displaced by the sale to Carmel Partners qualified to receive relocation costs, GPAHG began to research how to strengthen Pasadena’s TPO—Tenant Protection Ordinance. They found that the TPO was protecting landlords more than tenants. GPAHG discovered a loophole that was preventing relocation costs from being paid: Only those tenants with leases qualified for relocation funds, so landlord would simply change the tenancy to month-to-month, enabling them to bypass paying for relocation cost. Finally, in 2017, after a year of one-on-one meetings with staff and City Council members, letters and reminders, the City Council unanimously approved that all tenants in good standing living in households at or below 140% of the median income would be paid a relocation allowance equal to two months fair market rents as established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) for a rental unit of a similar size.

After an entire apartment complex was evited due to dramatically increased rents, in 2019, the city is again updated the TPO to determine if the city will vote to provide relocation costs in if rents are increased above a certain percent. GPAHG partners are working on this.

In 2019, GPAHG organized a prayer vigil on the Fuller Campus for another housing issue. On MLK Day, with close to 100 in attendance, pastors and leaders asked God to preserve Chang Commons, with 169 affordable student housing units, which are supposed to be preserved under Pasadena’s inclusionary policy. See:

Anti-camping Ordinance was fought and GPAHG won! (2016)

 In 2015 there was a significant rise in laws criminalizing homeless people in California, but these laws have only worsened, not solved, the problem. UC Berkeley Law’s Policy Advocacy Clinic conducted an extensive study of this problem in 2015 and concluded that “criminalization harms homeless people and perpetuates poverty by restricting access to the social safety net, affordable housing, and employment opportunities.”

A member of the city council initially felt that by making it illegal for homeless individuals to be on the streets, it would help businesses and the address homelessness. After GPAHGs Anti-Camping team met to do research, crafted talking points and presented their findings to the City Council, the Council decided not to pass this pernicious ordinance. This was a big win for GPAHG, garnering respect from many key players when they heard the excellent research that we done and the caliber of stake holders who so effectively presented their points. See:

After 15 Years, a Reasonable Granny Flats Ordinance is Approved! (2017)

With 58,000 homeless people counted in LA County in 2017 alone, and a severe housing shortage statewide, state lawmakers saw that one way to address this crisis would be to ease restrictions on granny flats, otherwise known as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). GPAHG’s ADU subcommittee worked tirelessly with the state and local players, including AARP and many churches, gathering up stories of how ADUs would help families grow, college ages children have independence or the elderly affordably age in place, preventing displacement. Additionally, Chase Andre, a Fuller intern with GPAHG, was able to identify 740 legal ADUs, built prior to Pasadena’s overly restrictive 2003 ordinance. With the help of Phil Burns, a city planner on GPAHG’s team, plotted all 740 ADUs on a map of Pasadena so that statistics on crime, the number of parked cars, property values, traffic and other factors could be compared with adjacent streets that had no ADUs. Opponents were saying that ADUs would destroy single-family neighborhoods. The results showed that there was on impact in any of these areas on streets with a high number of ADUs: See:

With such diligent research, steady persistence, and the power of a cohesive team and the help of the state policy causing cities to relax their strict rules, Pasadena’s overly restrictive policies were overturned, and a more reasonable local ordinance is now in place. Today any single-family homeowner can convert their garage into an ADU, no matter their property size, or build an attached or detached ADU if their property size in 7,200 sf. Whereas only one ADU was built between 2001 and 2017, since 2017, 40 ADUs have been completed with 13 set aside with either an affordable covenant or rented to a Section 8 tenant. Thankfully, GPAHG also succeeded in preventing the $20,000 impact fee from being applied not only to ADUs for lower income folks, but also for family members. See:

 GPAHG Successfully Advocates for Homeless Housing (2018)

In 2018, GPAHG successfully advocated for the approval of 69 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless seniors at Heritage Square South after a nine month campaign that included several prayer vigils; religious leaders participating in an all night stay on the site with some of those experiencing homelessness; close to 1,000 letters sent to City Council; and packing public meetings with key community leaders and pastors sharing compelling talking points. On Dec 17th, the City Council not only approved these units, Mayor Tornek surprised everyone with his recommendation to use the vacant city-own YWCA for homeless housing.  This historic landmark was designed by the famous architect Julia Morgan (who also designed the Hearst Castle).  This is GPAHG’s 2019 campaign, in addition to seeking to house some of Pasadena’s 677 homeless neighbors counted in 2018, in motels converted to homeless housing.  GPAHG has strongly supported the 2018 ordinance that facilitates the conversion of motels by doing community engagement in East Pasadena, where many motels are located and where there is rampant NIMBYism. See:

 GPAHG was not ready for Rent control in 1995 but it is today

 In 1995 Pasadena was not ready for rent control but in 2017, thanks to the Pasadena Tenants Union, there was tremendous support for rent stabilization: they came close to getting it on the ballot by collecting over 10,000 signatures.  (This support surpassed the 8,200 votes garnered by the Mayor, who opposes rent control.) In 2018, over 54% of Pasadenans voted for the state Prop 10 ballot measure, which would have allowed cities to have rent control if passed. PTU will try another local initiative in 2020, with support from GPAHG.



Cities have nothing to fear from granny flats

27 Jul

I thank God for Chase Andre our intern from Fuller Seminary who helped us identify 140 back houses in Pasadena. We plotted these on a map and identified two neighborhoods in our city that are very similar. With the only difference that one neighborhood had over 50 granny flats and the other had only 3. We compared the two neighborhoods in terms of traffic,  parking,  crime, visible character of the neighborhood,  and property values. There was virtually no significant difference between these two neighborhoods. Our hope is that this will allay the fears of  any higher density  that may result  from  accessory dwelling units-those cute back houses that everyone would like to  live  in. I thank God for this article describing this comparative  analysis  that was  published  in our  local star news on July  14th.  Please  pray with us that this article will serve to turn fear into many opportunities to adequately house our community .



Granny Flats

Volunteers built a 500-square-foot accessory dwelling unit on this property in Santa Cruz in 2014. (File photo from Santa Cruz Sentinel)

“Fear of the unknown, fear of change and fear of lowered property values and traffic often stand in the way of constructive solutions to the Southern California housing crisis. One of the solutions, granny flats, known to planners as accessory dwelling units or ADUs, could add needed housing stock and help keep homes affordable for homeowners, with no cost to our cities themselves……”

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