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MHCH Membership

10 May
Thank you for your interest in Making Housing & Community Happen (MHCH)!We have a number of ways you can become involved to make a real difference in housing justice:

1. ALLY – Receive MHCH’s newsletter! We invite you to attend Monthly Housing Justice Forums (4th Tuesday Each Month) and we encourage your participation.
Visit our website makinghousinghappen.org and complete our newsletter form to keep in touch.

2. TEAM MEMBER – To join one of MHCH’s OPEN committees you will need to contact the committee leader for an interview. MHCH’s committees are as follows: ADU (OPEN), ASHA (OPEN), Safe Parking (OPEN), Congregational Land, North Fair Oaks Empowerment Initiative (OPEN), CLT (OPEN). Visit https://www.makinghousinghappen.org/subcommittees for more information.

3. LIAISON – Represent your congregation (MORE INFO: https://www.makinghousinghappen.org/church-liaison)
Note: To become a liaison you will need to set up an interview with Bert Newton, Liaison Network Coordinator. bert@makinghousinghapen.org

4. PARTNERSHIP – Some organizations are official partners with MHCH with our common goals aligned but each of us operating in our strengths and own mission. We are better and stronger together.

5. DONOR – To sustain our efforts we need one-time and ongoing monthly commitments. Just click on this link: Donations.  We feel so grateful for those that have so generously supported our efforts.

6. There are other ways to become meaningfully involved that we are open to explore with you. Contact Jill Shook (jill@makinghousinghappen.org) to share ways that you might like to contribute.

To get involved, click on Membership Application. 

Our prayer vigil for affordable housing and racial justice was a great success

28 Apr

z vigil jillz vigil kennedy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over 60 people took part in MHCH’s prayer vigil for affordable housing and racial justice at the New Hope Baptist Church on Saturday, April 24. Many religious and community leaders took part, including state senator Portantino,  Pasadena city council member John Kennedy (pictured on right) and many others (see below). They read scripture, prayed, and shared personal stories. Jill Shook (pictured on left) composed a powerful liturgy of confession of past and present racial injustices and a commitment to righting them. It was inspiring to see Black and white folks coming together to support congregations that want to have affordable housing built on their property, but cannot do so because of restrictive zoning laws. We are committed to help congregations have the right to build affordable housing not only here in Pasadena, but also in other cities around the state and the nation. Check out this video: https://youtu.be/7gZCXA4Mq_M 

This is not a one-and-done event. MHCH plans to have another prayer vigil in a month or so, as well as meet elected officials until they make the zoning adjustments needed to enable congregations to do their part to address the acute housing crisis. Our city has a state mandate to plan for 6,000 units of affordable housing in the next 8 years, and congregations want to help our city meet that goal. 

You can download a PDF version of  our program here  :Prayer Vigil program 

PRAYER VIGIL PROGRAM

z vigil bertOverview and welcome by Rev Bert Newton (pictured on right)

Welcome by Pastor Paul Jones

Opening prayers by Pastor John Stewart, Blair Miller, Ibrahim Naeem

z vigil dr waltonReflection/Story by Dr. Gilbert Walton (pictured on left)

Words of support by State Senator Anthony Portantino, Pasadena Councilmember John Kennedy

Reading of Scriptures.

  1. Hyepin Im (Faith and Community Empowerment): “If there are any poor in your towns when you arrive in the land….do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need. Do not be mean spirited and refuse a loan because the year of release is close at hand.” Duet.15:7-9.
  2. Michelle Bailey (Friendship Church): “They will build houses and inhabit them; they will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They will not build and another inhabit, they will not plant and another eat.” Is.65: 21-22
  3. Rev. Marcos Canales (Pasadena Nazarene Church): “Then you want a certain piece of land, you find a way to seize. When you want someone’s house you take it by fraud and violence….you have evicted women from their homes and stripped their children of their God-given rights.” Micah 2:2,9.
  4. Rev. Sally Howard (All Saints Church): “Destruction is certain for you who buy up property so others have no place to live. Your homes are built on great estates so you can be alone in the land. But the Lord almighty has sealed your awful fate. With my own ears I heard him say, ‘Many beautiful homes will stand deserted’” Isaiah 5:7-9
  5. PJ Johnson: Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.” Luke 20:47
  6. Rev. DeRon Johnson (Calvary Christian Center): “Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid.” Micah 4:4
  7. Rev. Brita Pinkston (Pasadena Foursquare Church): “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:16-18
  8. Pam Wilson (Lincoln Avenue Christian Church): “And there was no poor among them, because people who owned land or houses sold them and brought the money to the apostles to give to others in need” Acts 4:34.

Prayer of confession and commitment

Rev Bert Newton: We confess that our city and other cities like ours have had a shameful history of racial injustice and discrimination that has harmed people of color in our city and all of Pasadena. We have treated people as if we are not all equally deserving of God’s bounty and a descent home. We repudiate all forms of discrimination and stand in solidarity in support of fair housing for all.

  1. Connie Tamkin (First United Methodist Church of Pasadena): “We confess the injustice of a massive land transfer from Mexicans to Whites from the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. California’s constitution had a Free-Soil provision, allowing whites to claim and own land while banning slaves, yet disallowing free Black people to claim land. This land which today is Pasadena was not exempt from this injustice.”

ALL TOGETHER: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic wrongs.

  1. Liz Murphy (Throop Unitarian Universalist Church): “We confess the injustice of 1862 Homestead Act: US citizens were granted 160 acres free if farmed for five years. African Americans and Native Americans were not given citizenship status; therefore, were not allowed to participate.”

ALL: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic wrongs.

  1. Pasadena City Councilmember John Kennedy: “Ezra Seymour Gosney founded the Human Betterment Association in Pasadena “to improve the human race,” resulting in over 6,000 sterilization operations in California, from 1909 to 1929, referenced by officials in Nazi Germany who adopted this practice. We denounce this horrific injustice and ask that this practice is ended in our prisons and detention centers today.”

ALL: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic and present wrongs.

  1. Margaret Lee (Professor, Azusa Pacific University): “Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) was created in 1913 to encourage homeownership. The US spends over ten times more on housing subsidies from these deductions for wealthy homeowners than on affordable housing allocation. This policy has allowed many in Pasadena to have deductions on first and second homes, while too many people of color have never been able to access homeownership.”

ALL: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic and present wrongs.

  1. Patrice Marshall McKenzie (Immediate Past President, Pasadena Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.):  “In the early 20th century, zoning laws were introduced to “protect” largely white, single family neighborhoods. Because multi-family zoning was allowed in certain neighborhoods and only single-family zoning in others, Pasadena became economically and racially divided.”

ALL: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic and present wrongs.

  1. Lawrence Davy (Deacon, New Hope Baptist): “At one point 65% of Pasadena had racial covenants recorded on their home deed disallowing ‘non-Caucasians’ from purchasing their homes. This was to ‘protect’ their property, fearing ‘encroachment’ of African Americans, who were only allowed to live in NW Pasadena. The long and lingering shadows of segregation persist in Pasadena, especially in our school district.

ALL: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic and present wrongs.

  1. Dr, Gilbert Walton (Deacon, New Hope Baptist Church): “By 1950, real estate sales were prohibited that would be ‘detrimental to property values’ if Black people were to move into a community.  Racial steering for home purchases is illegal today, but it continues. For example, in Pasadena, realtors say to potential homeowners that they need to have enough money to send their children to private schools.”

ALL: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic and present wrongs.

  1. Andre White (Mitchelville Real Estate Group): “Without explicitly mentioning race, exclusionary zoning was still practiced long after racial covenants were made illegal in 1968. African-American neighborhoods were often zoned for uses such as ‘industrial” or “commercia’ and used as a buffer to segregate the community by race. This led to a high number of liquor stores and other less desirable businesses along Orange Grove. The less desirable businesses encouraged and supported illegal businesses. To correct this injustice, we must rezone these areas to allow for affordable housing and mixed-use development to improve these neighborhoods by removing less desirable uses.”

ALL: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic and present wrongs.

  1. Anthony Manousos (Orange Grove Quaker Meeting). “Redlining prevented access to financial services and loans in predominantly African American neighborhoods. To obtain loans, enterprising African Americans created Family Thrift Saving and Loan which later became One United Bank on N. Lake and Washington Blvd which closed its branch in Pasadena but is nonetheless the largest Black-owned bank in the United States. Many banks such as Wells Fargo and One West targeted seniors and people of color for bad loans during the Great Recession, causing many to lose their homes and assets.”

ALL: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic and present wrongs.

    1. Phlunté Riddle: “The 1949 Housing Act no longer required one-for-one replacement of housing units cleared. Money from this Act provided for ‘slum clearance’ and ‘urban renewal.’ But some called this ‘Negro removal’ because so many Black residents were displaced from their homes in name of ‘renewal.’ Approximately 100 homes were demolished to make room for Parsons Engineering. Often, not enough money was paid to families to afford another home in Pasadena.”

    ALL: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic and present wrongs.

    1. Teresa Eilers (Union Station) “The 1959 Highway Act created a car-reliant society with highways that sliced through thriving Black communities across the US, leaving wealthier white neighborhoods intact. The 210 Freeway, which was built in the 1970s, combined with urban renewal, displaced thousands of mostly African American Pasadenans. This led to the decline of a Black Business District on N. Lincoln Ave that has never fully recovered. On the other hand, mostly white and wealthy residents of South Pasadena were able to block the 710 Freeway extension and preserve their neighborhood.”

ALL: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic and present wrongs.

  1. Dr. Larry Campbell (Pastor, First AME).The 1968 Fair Housing act had unintended consequences. African Americans of means living in NW Pasadena could now move anywhere, but it began to unravel much of the mixed income fabric needed for a healthy community. Due to redlining and this unexpected outcome, property values plummeted, opening the doors for gentrification. Today many professionals own homes in NW Pasadena, pushing property values high and pushing out long time African American families.

ALL: God, hear our confession of this injustice.  We commit ourselves to correct such historic and present wrongs.

Moment of silence

Rev. Bert Newton: Please take a minute and silently reflect on other ways that as a society we have allowed racial injustice and ask God to help us to remove these barriers to an equitable and fair society.

Prayers of Petition

Rev. Bert Newton: We confess that we have not done enough to repair the damage caused by racial injustice in our city, and we renew our commitment for each of us to do our part. Now we will focus on prayers of petition for those without a home and for God to allow congregational land to be part of the solution. Let us pray:

  1. We pray for our brothers and sisters who are experiencing homelessness. At last count, in January of 2020, over 500 of our brothers and sisters were experiencing homelessness, almost 300 were completely unsheltered, living on our streets.

ALL: We pray for homes they can afford and for all that they need to thrive.

  1. 54% of those counted reported having lived in Pasadena an average of 21 years. Although African Americans make up 10% of our population, they accounted for 31% of people counted on that night.

ALL: We pray for homes they can afford and for all that they need to thrive.

  1. 24 households with children were experiencing homelessness on the night of the 2020 count, all of whom were staying in sheltered locations.

ALL: We pray for homes they can afford and for all that they need to thrive.

  1. 700 students in PUSD are also considered homeless by the McKinney-Vento Act, and a separate count found that approximately 19% of PCC students are experiencing homelessness.

    ALL: We pray for homes they can afford and for all that they need to thrive.

    1. There has been a 62% increase of homelessness among seniors in the past 3 years. The average age of death among people experiencing homelessness is 51 years compared to 73 years for the general population.

    ALL: We pray for homes they can afford and for all that they need to thrive.The majority (67%) of people counted on the night in 2020 count  identified as male, while 33% identified as female and less than 1% identified as transgender; 8% identified as LGBTQ.

    ALL: We pray for homes they can afford and for all that they need to thrive.

    1. 56% of youth and 14% overall reported having been in foster care.

    ALL: We pray for homes they can afford and for all that they need to thrive.

    1. 13% stated that they were currently fleeing domestic violence.

    ALL: We pray for homes they can afford and for all that they need to thrive.

    1. 38 persons identified as veterans.

    ALL: We pray for homes they can afford and for all that they need to thrive

    1. We pray that our city will allow churches to do what is right and fulfill their mission by providing the right zoning so that affordable housing can be built for those who are low income or experiencing homelessness.

    Moment of silence

    Rev. Bert Newton: Please take a minute and silently reflect on others in our city who suffer from the high cost of housing, the high cost of medical expenses, the loss of jobs pushing too many in our city into homelessness or who are on the edge on homelessness, causing them to live with constant anxiety. Ask God to help us to do what we can to prevent housing insecurity.

    PRAYER OF THANKSGIVIING: Rev. John Williams, Fellowship Monrovia

    (Please say “AMEN” after each expression of gratefulness.)

     

    • We are grateful that cities like Evanston and Manhattan Beach are making reparation for injustices committed against African Americans, restoring land and hope and opportunity. (AMEN.)
    • We affirm our city’s beautiful vision that “all Pasadena residents have an equal right to live in decent, safe and affordable housing in a suitable living environment for the long-term well-being and stability of themselves, their families, their neighborhoods, and their community.” (AMEN.)
    • We thank God for how affordable housing beautifies and strengthens our community by requiring local labor, local materials and local contracts thereby infusing millions of dollars into Pasadena’s economy. (AMEN.)
    • We are thankful that members of our City Council are committed to affordable housing and that they have the support of churches, homeless service providers and concerned citizens. (AMEN.)
    • We are thankful for the Housing Task force and ask for your wisdom and courage to exercise faith to be bold in their Imagination to bring about housing justice. (AMEN.)
    • We are thankful that churches want to be part of the solution to our housing crisis and are willing to use their land for affordable housing. (AMEN.)
    • We are thankful that Pasadena’s homeless count has decreased 56% over the past decade. (AMEN!)

    Moment of silence

    Rev. Bert Newton: Please take a minute and silently thank God for all the opportunities we have to make Pasadena a model for other cities. Thank God for all the nonprofits, faith congregations and those who give of themselves to bring about housing justice.

    Closing words and call to action  by Dr. Jill Shook

    Closing prayer by Rev. John McCall, Bethel Missionary Baptist Church

Fact Sheet on Overlay Zone: Making it possible for churches to have affordable housing built on their underutilized land

15 Apr

MHCH is pleased that the City is considering a zoning change (called an “overlay zone”) which  would allow churches to have affordable housing on their underutilized land. This could lead to over 1,000 units of affordable housing spread throughout the city. Seventeen churches in Pasadena have indicated interest in this and one church now has a proposal for 52 affordable units! To learn more about the overzone zone making this possible, download this fact sheet:

Overlay Zone Fact Sheet 2020.09.25

Talking points for Overlay Zone to allow congregations to build affordable housing on their underutilized land.

#1: We are asking the City Council to support an overlay zone because the time to address the need for affordable housing is now, more than ever. And we have religious organizations throughout the City eager to be partners in making this happen.

Simply put, an overlay will save significant time, significant money, and provide certainty for both the religious organizations willing to provide affordable housing and the communities where that housing will be located.

By supporting an overlay zone that will ensure the majority of housing that will be developed is affordable, the City can ensure that projects are feasible and done in a way that minimizes the need for City or other public money to make affordable housing happen.

An overly zone is needed and superior to other suggestions of incorporating such zoning to Specific Plan update of Public/ Semi-Public zoning designation so because these planning processes would not adequately address the unique needs of congregations.

#2: An overlay zone enabling churches to build affordable housing will provide new land that would not otherwise be available for affordable housing. This is a significant opportunity when so few sites exist. Using church land is a huge opportunity for affordable housing developers to have feasible and successful projects. When they work with churches, developers don’t have to buy land in advance or carry the insurance cost. They can be more confident of community support since they have the support of a church which is part of a neighborhood. Yet, if churches wish to supply affordable housing, the cost and time needed to create a zoning change on a case-by-case basis as opposed to an overlay zone, can be significantly lowered if there such a policy is in place. Plus, it makes the deal attractive to a more experienced developer.

#3:  An overlay zone enabling churches to build affordable housing will provide an opportunity for the city to significantly reach affordable housing production goals and further its goal of being a diverse community. Housing Element (2014-2021) vision:

 “All Pasadena residents have an equal right to live in decent, safe and affordable housing in a suitable living environment for the long-term well-being and stability of themselves, their families, their neighborhoods, and their community. The housing vision for Pasadena is to maintain a socially and economically diverse community of homeowners and renters who are afforded this right.” 

#4: An overlay zone that enables churches to build affordable housing provides an opportunity for churches to participate in addressing the homeless and housing crisis.  From the poll we conducted, 17 churches are interested in having affordable housing on their land, with the potential of 1,177 units if a Congregational Land Overlay Zone is passed. 95% of churches would support a Congregational Land Overlay Zone to help other churches build housing on their land. Additionally, 19 churches (nearly half of all respondents) would allow SAFE parking on their church’s parking lots. And 11 churches were open to having a FEMA trailer on their property. Twelve churches already own approximately 58 rental units. Only six of them rent at market rate.

#5: An overlay zone that would allow community minded congregations that are already willing and mission-driven to become partners with the city to meet a very real need make good sense.  This also allows religious institutions to practice their faith in a very tangible way. Community based organizations would do this sensitively and respectfully out of love for their neighbors. They will live with this for the long term, so design in keeping with the neighborhood and a commitment to good relationships with neighbors will go a long way in addressing NIMBYISM.

#6: An overlay zone enabling churches to build affordable housing will allows for both  flexibility and certainly enabling sensitive solutions and designs for each site. Certain development standards will need to be addressed to provide enough flexibility for projects to be feasible. An overlay zone allows for the kind of certainly with flexibility to balance sensitivity to the project and the adjacent neighborhood in regard to appropriate densities and parking requirements to enhance the character of the neighborhood.

#7: An overlay zone for churches to build affordable housing minimized the money, risk and time for affordable housing developers. They cannot invest a great amount of time, money and risk into rezoning processes, and they will not take this time when there are other, simpler opportunities available in other cities.

#8: Because churches are throughout the city an overlay zone would spread affordable housing development through the city providing geographic equity and opportunity and investment in neighborhoods. The city would be wise to take advantage of this since so few sites exist especially in all areas of the city.  In Pasadena, for example, we estimate that there is capacity to build approximately 5,000 units of affordable housing on excess congregational land (the number of affordable units needed with the new RHNA numbers for the 2021-2028 Housing Element cycle). We know that not all congregations will do this, but the potential is significant. An overlay zone would ensure that any housing be built would be within city guidelines appropriate for each community. We must recognizing the power of congregations as allies with their excess land, missional orientation, and base of support in the community.  An overlay zone would help the city to go a long way toward meeting an urgent need.

#9:: Church attendance is declining, Gallop says that 69% of U.S. adults were members of a church in 1998-2000, compared with 52% in 2016-2018. This is particularly the case within land-rich older and mainline churches. Some churches are looking to off-load over-sized parking lots, high-maintenance buildings, and extra space. With shrinking congregations, many churches are unable to keep up. Affordable housing on church land has enabled churches to bless their communities, stay within mission, and help to prevent displacement due to the cost of housing, the very thing that is hurting many Pasadena churches.  Should a church feel called to consider affordable housing on their property, an overlay zone enabling churches desiring to have affordable housing on their property would provide a huge leap forward in addressing the housing crisis.

#10: Churches have a successful track record of partnering with affordable housing developers to provide affordable dwellings on their excess land. Some churches have already put parking lots, buildings constructed for congregations much larger than those of today, and other space on their properties to higher and better use by including affordable housing. In partnership with National Core (which developed Marv’s place in Pasadena, the UMC church in Santa Ana will be providing 95 units, half for families and half for those experiencing homelessness. Churches are doing this because they are called to serve the community and particularly its most vulnerable residents. Yet at the same time, they are also often able to generate a modest level of economic benefit that stabilizes these often struggling, but longstanding and critical institutions of our social fabric. In some cases, affordable housing developers have even provided additional parking for a church or developed other community serving uses on a site. Adopting an overlay zone that would enable churches, feeling so lead, to provide affordable housing on their property. Such a policy would make the process more straightforward, facilitate high quality partnerships with affordable housing developers to create much-needed affordable housing.

#11: Rezoning church land is one way that the city can make right with past sins of racial inequities that served to displace people of color.  With Urban renewal, a thriving African American neighborhood where Parsons now sits was displaced, moving them away from the city center, which today is zoned for 90 units per acre. They were not given the opportunity to capture the added value of the land from up-zoning, but instead encouraged to leave. Thriving Black communities and businesses on N. Fair Oaks were also displaced because of urban renewal. The 210 Freeway pushed out even more people of color. Too many families were not sufficiently remunerated for their property to again buy in Pasadena.  And if they wanted to, banks often would not provide them loans and they often were barred from obtaining private mortgage insurance. Due to significant displacement, one church has 8 members left. Several have closed. As one pastor put it, their church building is in Pasadena, but no one from their congregation can afford to live here anymore. Rezoning church land to allow for affordable housing would serve to prevent more displacement and correct past sins.  Some Black churches are eager to provide affordable housing on their underutilized land, please allow them to do so.

#12: Churches are and have been for many years an indispensable part of our City’s social fabric and have dedicated themselves to feeding the homeless, tutoring children, raising the City’s youth, keeping people in their homes. This history of investment in the community and neighbors creates a perfect marriage with new neighbors living in affordable housing on their property.

#13:   Churches are and have been for many years an indispensable part of our City’s social fabric and but many today are on the ropes because of long term trends, COVID-19 and today some need ways to generate income and reduce expenses to be able to continue in their mission. Affordable housing on their property can do just that.

#14:  An Overlay Zone is a locally-focused solution that will do a better job than proposed state legislation. A local solution designed by the community enables us to craft the kind of creative neighborhood-based housing solutions that enhance the design, beauty and character of our city.

Talking points for Pasadena Housing Element Forum on April 15

14 Apr

The City’s Housing Element webinar workshop coming up tomorrow evening, Thursday April 15 is not just another city meeting.  It’s a crucial step in deciding whether Pasadena is going to be serious over the next eight years about affordable housing and homelessness.  Your participation will show the city that Pasadena residents care!

State law requires the city to turn in a completely revised Housing Element of the General Plan by October.  A Housing Element is supposed to be a comprehensive blueprint for how Pasadena realistically intends to make it possible over the next eight years to build 9400 additional units of housing — of which 6,000 must be affordable to very low, low and moderate income households! It’s a huge lift but the city is only scheduling a single round of workshops (one in English on April 15 and one in Spanish on April 22 ) before they turn in a draft Housing Element for state review in June.

These Housing Element decisions affect literally everyone in Pasadena.  Where will new housing get built?  How will we ensure that the new housing isn’t just luxury condos and apartments?  How can we stem the displacement of longtime residents, especially among communities of color?  Will essential workers (teachers, nurses, and grocery employees) be able to live locally or have to commute an hour to work and back?  Will you be able to retire in Pasadena – or have to move far away?  Will closed retail stores sit vacant – or be turned into needed housing?  How can we prevent more homeless living on our streets? 

This is the time the state requires cities to address all these questions.  Will you log on to ensure the city knows that you care – and you want to ensure these questions get adequate community dialogue before the final plan is sent off to the state in October? 

Very seldom is a meeting like this so important!  If the city were offering more opportunities for community voices to be heard, we wouldn’t be so concerned.  But this is essential!  If we want to have a city that works for everyone, we have to show up to be sure the city develops a housing plan that works for everyone!

Log on tomorrow, Thursday, April 15, 2021, 6-8pm:

https://zoom.us/j/96754116456

Rick Cole, member of the Pasadena Affordable Housing Coalition and MHCH

 

  1. What are the major housing issues and challenges in Pasadena today and in the future?

The major issue facing our city is a lack of affordable housing that is forcing many long-time residents to leave our city. Children growing up in Pasadena can’t afford to live here. Teachers and city workers can’t afford to live here.  Essential workers can’t afford to live here.  People of color are being displaced. There is a desperate need for more affordable housing. The City needs to plan for at least 6,000 units of affordable housing in the next 8 years.

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment estimates that our city needs 6,000 units of affordable housing in the next eight years. That’s a real and urgent need that is impacting the quality of life for many in our city. That’s why Councilmember Kennedy is calling for 1,000 units of affordable housing in the next 1000 days.

Homelessness continues to be a major problem in our city, which can only be solved with supportive housing. The official count is 526, but the actual numbers are much higher due to the pandemic. Our city has done an outstanding job in building supportive housing but much more needs to be done to ensure that everyone in our city has access to a decent and affordable home—the vision of our previous Housing Element.

According to the previous Housing Element, most Pasadenans are overpaying for housing. Housing overpayment refers to paying more than 30% of income toward housing. Moderate overpayment refers to paying 30 to 49% of income toward housing, and severe overpayment is anything higher. In Pasadena, 43% of owners and 51% of renters overpay for housing. At that time (2012), nearly 12,000 renters and over 8,000 homeowners were severely cost-burdened, paying over 50% of their income on housing. That’s what we need at least 6,000 units of affordable housing in the next 8 years.

Over 20,000 people are on Pasadena’s Section 8 waiting list. They qualify for affordable housing, but there aren’t enough Section 8 units so many end up losing their vouchers and remaining housing insecure or unhoused.

Even though the homeless population has declined 54% over the last decade, over 500 people are still unhoused in our city and many more are housing insecure. The need for supportive housing will likely increase in the economic aftermath of this pandemic, so we need to plan for at least 6,000 units of affordable housing in the next 8 years.

 

  1. What types of housing are needed in the community?

We need affordable housing for families and students that are homeless or housing insecure.  School districts define homelessness by a definition set forth in the federal McKinney-Vento Act, as someone who lacks a “fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence,” including those who are “doubled up” – that is, staying in a friend’s or family member’s home because they lost their own housing. By that definition, between 500-700 students are homeless in PUSD and 300 families (see https://doorofhope.us/2019/05/23/how-many-homeless-families-in-pasadena/).

We need affordable housing for Vets. Many veterans who attend Pasadena City College are homeless or housing insecure.

We need affordable student housing for PUSD. Between 10-20% of PCC students are experiencing homelessness. That’s between 2,600 and 5,000 students!

We need housing for transitional and foster youth, many of whom end up on the street where they face sexual abuse and other forms of trauma.

We need housing for women experiencing homelessness. Women living on the street are extremely vulnerable. It should be the goal of our city to house every woman experiencing homelessness as soon as possible. Dorothy Edwards and Cynthia Kirby are good examples of what happens when we place unhoused women into secure and affordable homes. Their lives turn around and they become assets to the community.

We need affordable and supportive housing for seniors. Because seniors live on fixed income and housing costs are rising faster than the cost of living, seniors are the fast growing homeless population.

  1. Where should new housing be located in Pasadena?

Affordable housing should be located in every part of our city. We know that well-designed housing like Marv’s Place enhances a neighborhood and creates safety.

We need affordable housing dispersed throughout out city, which is a good reason to allow churches to have affordable housing built on their underutilized property. Churches want to be good neighbors and will make sure that any housing built will be in keeping with the character of the neighborhood.

We need more accessory dwelling units built throughout the city! Studies have shown that ADUs do not increase traffic and tend to be rented at lower than market rate. ADUs held keep families together. Low-income homeowners should be incentivized to build ADUs for Section 8 renters.

Prayer Vigil for Affordable Housing

14 Apr

 

prayer vigil affordable housing masthead final

You are invited to a prayer vigil focusing on how racial and economic inequity can be addressed through affordable housing. During this one-hour event we will offer prayers of confession, commitment, thanksgiving and petitions for our neighbors who are un-housed, displaced or housing insecure, and that religious institutions will be allowed to build affordable housing on their underutilized land.

When: Saturday, April 24 at 4:00 pm

Where: New Hope Baptist Church

1787 N Fair Oaks Ave

Pasadena, CA 91103

We will meet socially distanced, outdoors. Please wear masks. RSVP bert@makinghousinghappen.org. We need a sense of how many people will be attending.

There are 15 parking spaces available for disabled or elderly. Please let Bert know if you need a space.

To download PDF version of flyer click here: prayer vigil affordable housing flyer

“ABCs of ADUs”:MHCH April Housing Justice Forum

9 Apr

ABCs of ADUs Masthead PictureJoin us to learn about Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), or “Granny Flats.” An introduction for homeowners and a  springboard for future workshops topics to be determined by a poll or survey (landlord training, how to choose a contractor…. etc.)

When: Tues. Apr 27, 2021               

7:00 PM 

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0qd–orTMpH9dnvHN3wUvj3nIsiOFah8_Y

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Click her for PDF version of flyer: ABCs of ADUs

ADU for blog

For many years, it was all but  impossible to build granny flats  legally in Pasadena. Today, thanks to advocates like MHCH, 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.

To support our housing justice work, click on

makinghousinghappen.org/donate

Job opening for executive assistant for MHCH

17 Mar

We are seeking a detail-oriented, tech-savvy and self-directed part-time Executive Assistant to work closely with the Executive Director, who is an author and workshop leader around the US.  This position is responsible for providing assistance to the ED and performing administrative and organizational functions in support of our organization Making Housing and Community Happen (MHCH), based in Pasadena, CA. MHCH has a track record of successful housing justice efforts for 25 years. This is an exciting opportunity to grow and learn what it takes to effectively address the housing crisis with a racial justice lens.

  • 15 hours per week, with 10 hours in our home-based office in Pasadena. Work can be conducted remotely until the assistant is fully vaccinated.
  • $20 per hour

Making Housing and Community Happen is a faith-rooted non-profit organization that equips congregations, community leaders, and neighbors with practical tools needed to transform their communities, to end homelessness, and to stabilize the cost of housing through education, advocacy, organizing and advisement.

Essential responsibilities and skills include the following. Other duties may be assigned. 

  • Communications: assisting with preparation of routine correspondence including emails, phone calls, and newsletters. Ability to work with (quickly learn) Mailchimp, Google Workspace apps, and Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel).
  • Filing and organization: maintain files, contacts, and news media in both hardcopy locations and electronic drives.
  • Mail management: help manage, streamline, incoming mail.
  • Meeting coordination: assist with the logistics of in-person meetings and Zoom meetings. Create minutes for meetings and maintain records of meeting agendas and minutes.
    • Core Meetings: Second Tuesday of every month from 6 PM to 8 PM
    • Housing Justice Forum: Fourth Tuesday of every month from 7 PM to 8:30 PM
  • Bookkeeping support: manage donor database, send thank you letters and receipts, manage receipts for reimbursements, and assist with donor communications.
  • Volunteer management: track and manage volunteer database and coordinate communication with volunteers
  • Trouble shoot technology issues, develop and implement more efficient and effective systems for managing information, projects and communications
  • Assist with office maintenance which may include tidying up files and mail or helping to purchase office supplies

Qualifications:

  • Excellent listening, verbal, and interpersonal skills, patient and understanding.
  • Curious and enjoys opportunities to grow and learn.
  • Flexibility in working non-traditional hours during key events (like our November fundraising event) and periods of high demand. This may require occasional travel to off-site meetings and include some evening and/or weekend hours to assist as needed with meetings and events.
  • Ability to demonstrate tact, discretion, and diplomacy with staff, volunteers, donors, and other stakeholders.
  • College degree preferred.
  • Prefer someone who is comfortable with social media, website and blog maintenance, and online communications.

To apply: please submit your cover letter (detailing your interest in the position), resume, and include the contact information for three references.  We will contact your references prior to scheduling an interview with you. Please submit all of the above to Margaret Lee margaret@makinghousinghappen.org

Organization website: https://www.makinghousinghappen.org/

Accepting applications until April 15th

Start Date: ASAP

You’re invited to our March MHCH Housing Justice Forum: Give Churches a chance to build affordable housing!

16 Mar

You’re invited to our MHCH Monthly Housing Justice Educational Forum. Learn how churches are having affordable housing built on their underutilized land,  and how we can make it easier for them to address the housing crisis and thrive.

When: Tuesday, March 23 2021                

7:00 PM Pacific Time

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEpf-Gsqj8qGN1OyOvDVQ3v6uU08ji0CgUA

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. For more info, contact Jill@makinghousinghappen.com.

Housing justice march 2021 picture of Wesley Hall

Above is a picture of Wesley Village, an innovative, adaptive reuse property in Orange County that features multigenerational affordable housing and services in collaboration with the Garden Grove United Methodist Church.

SPEAKERS

Sarah Walker is a Project Manager, Planning at National Community Renaissance based in Rancho Cucamonga, California.  National Community Renaissance (CORE) is one of the nation’s largest non-profit affordable housing developers with a 20-year track record in community revitalization. CORE promotes the future economic and social transformation of communities by building quality, affordable housing combined with best practice social services to improve the self-sufficiency of its residents. Sarah will discuss the benefits and opportunities for congregation seeking to have affordable housing built on their property.

As the leader of the Arroyo Group, a 40-year-old planning and urban design firm that planned Old Pasadena, the Playhouse District, and the Civic Center, Philip Burns brings the firm’s resources to the Congregational Land Committee to analyze and write zoning, secure entitlements, build consensus with community leaders and neighbors, and facilitate dialogues within churches. Philip has prepared transit-oriented development plans, zoning ordinances and transportation plans for Metro and the cities of Pasadena, Compton and Inglewood, among others. Having served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, Philip is bilingual in English and Spanish, and is the leader of children and youth ministry at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

“THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME” HOLIDAY GREETINGS FROM MAKING HOUSING & COMMUNITY HAPPEN (MHCH)

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

Join us Tues. Dec.15 at 6 pm to let the city know that churches should be allowed build affordable housing on their property

7 Dec

The City of Pasadena Planning & Community Development Department will hold a virtual community meeting to define regulations related to permanent housing on properties owned by churches and other faith-based organizations.

Please join us for a live webinar on Tuesday, December 15 at 6:00 PM where city staff will present background information and proposed options for housing on properties owned by churches and faith-based organizations, as well as answer questions from participants.

Please visit the city website to learn more:

www.cityofpasadena.net/planning/planning-division/community-planning/religious-facility-housing/

Or download this notice:  Notice_Email_Church Housing Webinar

All you need to do is log on to this link at 6 pm and state in the chat who you are, and say:

“I think it’s a great idea to allow churches and religious institutions to build affordable housing on their underutilized land.”

If you want to say more, talking points are below and you can cut and paste a comment that most speaks to you.

MHCH is pleased that the City will consider this zoning change (called an “overlay zone”) which  would allow churches to have affordable housing on their underutilized land. This could lead to over 1,000 units of affordable housing spread throughout the city. Seventeen churches in Pasadena have indicated interest in this and one church now has a proposal for 52 affordable units! To learn more about the overzone zone making this possible, download this fact sheet:

Overlay Zone Fact Sheet 2020.09.25

Talking points for Overlay Zone to allow congregations to build affordable housing on their underutilized land.

 #1: We are asking the City Council to support an overlay zone because the time to address the need for affordable housing is now, more than ever. And we have religious organizations throughout the City eager to be partners in making this happen.

 Simply put, an overlay will save significant time, significant money, and provide certainty for both the religious organizations willing to provide affordable housing and the communities where that housing will be located.

By supporting an overlay zone that will ensure the majority of housing that will be developed is affordable, the City can ensure that projects are feasible and done in a way that minimizes the need for City or other public money to make affordable housing happen.

An overly zone is needed and superior to other suggestions of incorporating such zoning to Specific Plan update of Public/ Semi-Public zoning designation so because these planning processes would not adequately address the unique needs of congregations.

#2: An overlay zone enabling churches to build affordable housing will provide new land that would not otherwise be available for affordable housing. This is a significant opportunity when so few sites exist. Using church land is a huge opportunity for affordable housing developers to have feasible and successful projects. When they work with churches, developers don’t have to buy land in advance or carry the insurance cost. They can be more confident of community support since they have the support of a church which is part of a neighborhood. Yet, if churches wish to supply affordable housing, the cost and time needed to create a zoning change on a case-by-case basis as opposed to an overlay zone, can be significantly lowered if there such a policy is in place. Plus, it makes the deal attractive to a more experienced developer.

#3:  An overlay zone enabling churches to build affordable housing will provide an opportunity for the city to significantly reach affordable housing production goals and further its goal of being a diverse community. Housing Element (2014-2021) vision:

 “All Pasadena residents have an equal right to live in decent, safe and affordable housing in a suitable living environment for the long-term well-being and stability of themselves, their families, their neighborhoods, and their community. The housing vision for Pasadena is to maintain a socially and economically diverse community of homeowners and renters who are afforded this right.” 

#4: An overlay zone that enables churches to build affordable housing provides an opportunity for churches to participate in addressing the homeless and housing crisis.  From the poll we conducted, 17 churches are interested in having affordable housing on their land, with the potential of 1,177 units if a Congregational Land Overlay Zone is passed. 95% of churches would support a Congregational Land Overlay Zone to help other churches build housing on their land. Additionally, 19 churches (nearly half of all respondents) would allow SAFE parking on their church’s parking lots. And 11 churches were open to having a FEMA trailer on their property. Twelve churches already own approximately 58 rental units. Only six of them rent at market rate.

#5: An overlay zone that would allow community minded congregations that are already willing and mission-driven to become partners with the city to meet a very real need make good sense.  This also allows religious institutions to practice their faith in a very tangible way. Community based organizations would do this sensitively and respectfully out of love for their neighbors. They will live with this for the long term, so design in keeping with the neighborhood and a commitment to good relationships with neighbors will go a long way in addressing NIMBYISM.

#6: An overlay zone enabling churches to build affordable housing will allows for both  flexibility and certainly enabling sensitive solutions and designs for each site. Certain development standards will need to be addressed to provide enough flexibility for projects to be feasible. An overlay zone allows for the kind of certainly with flexibility to balance sensitivity to the project and the adjacent neighborhood in regard to appropriate densities and parking requirements to enhance the character of the neighborhood.

#7: An overlay zone for churches to build affordable housing minimized the money, risk and time for affordable housing developers. They cannot invest a great amount of time, money and risk into rezoning processes, and they will not take this time when there are other, simpler opportunities available in other cities.

#8: Because churches are throughout the city an overlay zone would spread affordable housing development through the city providing geographic equity and opportunity and investment in neighborhoods. The city would be wise to take advantage of this since so few sites exist especially in all areas of the city.  In Pasadena, for example, we estimate that there is capacity to build approximately 5,000 units of affordable housing on excess congregational land (the number of affordable units needed with the new RHNA numbers for the 2021-2028 Housing Element cycle). We know that not all congregations will do this, but the potential is significant. An overlay zone would ensure that any housing be built would be within city guidelines appropriate for each community. We must recognizing the power of congregations as allies with their excess land, missional orientation, and base of support in the community.  An overlay zone would help the city to go a long way toward meeting an urgent need.

#9:: Church attendance is declining, Gallop says that 69% of U.S. adults were members of a church in 1998-2000, compared with 52% in 2016-2018. This is particularly the case within land-rich older and mainline churches. Some churches are looking to off-load over-sized parking lots, high-maintenance buildings, and extra space. With shrinking congregations, many churches are unable to keep up. Affordable housing on church land has enabled churches to bless their communities, stay within mission, and help to prevent displacement due to the cost of housing, the very thing that is hurting many Pasadena churches.  Should a church feel called to consider affordable housing on their property, an overlay zone enabling churches desiring to have affordable housing on their property would provide a huge leap forward in addressing the housing crisis.

#10: Churches have a successful track record of partnering with affordable housing developers to provide affordable dwellings on their excess land. Some churches have already put parking lots, buildings constructed for congregations much larger than those of today, and other space on their properties to higher and better use by including affordable housing. In partnership with National Core (which developed Marv’s place in Pasadena, the UMC church in Santa Ana will be providing 95 units, half for families and half for those experiencing homelessness. Churches are doing this because they are called to serve the community and particularly its most vulnerable residents. Yet at the same time, they are also often able to generate a modest level of economic benefit that stabilizes these often struggling, but longstanding and critical institutions of our social fabric. In some cases, affordable housing developers have even provided additional parking for a church or developed other community serving uses on a site. Adopting an overlay zone that would enable churches, feeling so lead, to provide affordable housing on their property. Such a policy would make the process more straightforward, facilitate high quality partnerships with affordable housing developers to create much-needed affordable housing.

#11: Rezoning church land is one way that the city can make right with past sins of racial inequities that served to displace people of color.  With Urban renewal, a thriving African American neighborhood where Parsons now sits was displaced, moving them away from the city center, which today is zoned for 90 units per acre. They were not given the opportunity to capture the added value of the land from up-zoning, but instead encouraged to leave. Thriving Black communities and businesses on N. Fair Oaks were also displaced because of urban renewal. The 210 Freeway pushed out even more people of color. Too many families were not sufficiently remunerated for their property to again buy in Pasadena.  And if they wanted to, banks often would not provide them loans and they often were barred from obtaining private mortgage insurance. Due to significant displacement, one church has 8 members left. Several have closed. As one pastor put it, their church building is in Pasadena, but no one from their congregation can afford to live here anymore. Rezoning church land to allow for affordable housing would serve to prevent more displacement and correct past sins.  Some Black churches are eager to provide affordable housing on their underutilized land, please allow them to do so.

#12: Churches are and have been for many years an indispensable part of our City’s social fabric and have dedicated themselves to feeding the homeless, tutoring children, raising the City’s youth, keeping people in their homes. This history of investment in the community and neighbors creates a perfect marriage with new neighbors living in affordable housing on their property.

#13:   Churches are and have been for many years an indispensable part of our City’s social fabric and but many today are on the ropes because of long term trends, COVID-19 and today some need ways to generate income and reduce expenses to be able to continue in their mission. Affordable housing on their property can do just that.

#14:  An Overlay Zone is a locally-focused solution that will do a better job than proposed state legislation. A local solution designed by the community enables us to craft the kind of creative neighborhood-based housing solutions that enhance the design, beauty and character of our city.

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