Be a Friend to Granny.. Granny Flats!!

13 Jun


The ADU (Granny Flat) subcommittee of our Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group is made up of city planners, church members, youth who don’t know how they will be able to afford to stay in Pasadena, and more. This is the letter we wrote to the City Council. Please pray that next Monday, June 19, we will be speak with clarity and power, in a way that will move the hearts and minds of our City Councilors. The Planning Commission voted for the property size we asked for–we were stunned and thrilled! But this does not mean that it will happen next Monday since the City Council has the final word. They are not obligated to take the recommendation of their appointed Planning Commissioners. Anthony and Parade House float

To: Pasadena City Council

100 N. Garfield, Pasadena, CA 91101

Date: June 12, 2017

Dear City Council Members

We are writing to ask you to support several of the Planning Commission and staff recommendations in regard to Accessory Dwelling Units—ADUs and for you to strengthen their recommendations in the following ways:

  1. We agree with the Planning Commission vote to adjust the minimum lot size from the staff recommendation of 7,200 to 5,000 since 5,000 is what the majority of comments at the community workshops recommended. Additionally because the majority of the cities chosen by staff to compare to Pasadena allowed ADUs in properties at 5,000 or less. For example. Santa Cruz allows ADUs on properties of 4,500 square feet, Long Beach 4,800, Santa Monica 4,000 and some cities have no minimum lot size at all (Arcadia, Glendale, Monrovia, LA City and County and Burbank). Other comparisons above 5,000 were Beverly Hills at 6,000 and San Jose at 5,445 and South Pasadena at 12,000.
  2. ADUs should be allowed in all Landmark Districts, with or without the units being visible from the street.
  3. Change the staff recommendation of 800 square feet limit on the unit size of the ADU, which is arbitrarily low, and does not accommodate the spatial needs of single occupants, couples, or families residing in accessory residences to be congruent with the state maximum allowance of 1,200 square feet or 50% of the total living are of the primary dwelling. This is what South Pasadena, LA County and Santa Cruz allow.
  4. The staff is recommending that the height limit of 17 feet stay the same. We are recommending that ADUs be allowed above garages by increasing the height to 25 feet. Pasadena allows homeowners to have a second floor in their homes and an ADU over an attached garage. Our recommendation is consistent with this. We are concerned about privacy issues and believe this can be mitigated by having no windows or entrances facing neighbors. Having the option to build an ADU above the garage will preserve off street covered parking and open space on a property. Instead of creating a new impervious surface, building above the garage is often more sensible to the environment.
  5. While we believe in affordable housing, we do not recommend affordability covenants for ADUs. In other situations affordability covenants are appropriate, but not with ADUs. In this case it can be a poison pill to prevent homeowners from wanting to build an ADU.
  6. Just as staff is researching if the residential impact fees of $18,979.88 can be exempted, we too are recommending that ADUs be allowed a waiver, especially  in exchange for an agreement to rent to Section 8 or affordable housing (without an “affordability covenant,” but monitored in some other way.

Given that our state in a housing crisis, with 1.3 million units short, thus pushing up the cost many times faster than wages, it is essential that you do all you can to help relieve this shortage. In addition to helping to increase sorely needing housing stock, there are many good reasons to support all of our recommendations:

  1. To create life cycle housing, for aging parents who might otherwise wind up in assisted-living facilities or nursing homes, thus reducing the cost of their care.
  2. To keep affordable housing from being concentrated in one spot and invite economic diversity and be in keeping with historic heritage. Hunt who designed our library, Bachelder and one of the Green and Green brother’s lived in ADUs. Pasadena’s broad streets with the large stately craftsman homes adjacent to more narrow streets with smaller homes, allowed the servants to live close to wealthier residents. This rich heritage of a mixed income community sets a precedent for ADUs.
  3. To house “boomerang” kids or those who wanted to stay close but couldn’t afford local housing.
  4. To provide a potential source of income when the homeowners ready to downsize, especially for seniors on a fixed income. They could live in the granny flat and family members could move into the main house, or rent it out for retirement income.
  5. To allow more money to circulate and stay in the community, through the employment of local contractors and construction workers, as opposed to large developers that are usually from out of town.
  6. To increase the property values and provide more property taxes for the city. This is a better use of underutilized land and infrastructure.
  7. To minimize traffic by allowing people to live closer to family and work. When Cynthia Kurtz was the City Manager, she adamantly opposed to the need for a traffic study in relation to Granny Flats, feeling this was a non-issue and waste of tax payer’s money. The number of people applying for permits to build ADUs in other cities has been minimal.
  8. To prevent a possible fair housing lawsuit due to the disparity between those who want ADUs but don’t have permission to build them due to the unreasonable 15,000 required lot size and those who have large lots, but don’t have the need for them.
  9. To help increase the city’s housing stock without the use of any subsidy. Due to limited federal funds for housing, the city has lost 85% of its budget for affordable housing. ADUs are one important source for helping to solve the housing crisis without spending tax payer’s dollars.


For all the above reasons, we ask that you allow the city to regulate the construction second units under the recommendations we are requesting.  This will help to remediate unpermitted, informal housing that can often be unsafe. Unpermitted housing exists in every jurisdiction, every geography, every demographic, and every socioeconomic stratum: unpermitted dwellings, garage conversions, subdivided houses, and occupied RVs exist across the City of Pasadena. Lack of affordable housing coupled with skyrocketing housing prices are partly due to unworkable zoning laws that stifle efforts to build legal accessory dwellings and therefore directly contribute to the proliferation of illegally built dwellings. It’s a simple calculus: when people need housing, people build housing. And when the zoning code creates barriers, people ignore the code.

Thank you for reading our letter and taking serious consideration of our recommendations.


Elsa Rodriguez, City Planner for Los Angeles, Pasadena resident (District 1, Hampton)

Phil Burns, member of Pasadena Presbyterian and Pasadena Resident (District 6, Madison)

Catalina Gonzales, Day One, Pasadena Resident

Pastor Sylvester Williams, (District 3-Kennedy)

Lorynne Young, member of All Saints, Pasadena Resident (District 3 Kennedy)

Jill Shook, Housing Justice Professor at APU, Pasadena Resident (District 1, Hampton)

Maria Teresa Kowal, Architect, Pasadena Resident (District 1, Hampton


Rebuilding Hope in the Name of Jesus

30 May

I’m thrilled that my mission has punished this on their website:


North Fair Oaks, if you have even heard of it, is an easily dismissed area of Pasadena, California. To an outsider, this neglected neighborhood, where nearly 65,000 cars pass through its main street every day, leaves much to be desired. However, where most would see a neighborhood to cast aside, Missions Door missionary Jill Shook sees an opportunity for God to move mightily.

“North Fair Oaks is a place where people speed past, not noticing how God is at work. We are resurrecting hope in this high-crime, low-income Latino and African American community,” says Jill.

Jill’s ministry experience has opened her eyes to the damaging effects of neglect, disempowerment, and displacement from the high cost of housing. A lack of decent affordable housing in good neighborhoods often results in multiple families squeezed into tiny apartments concentrated in one part of town. This type of living often breeds gangs, homelessness, crime, and soaring school dropout rates.

This was exactly the case with Northwest Pasadena and God was calling Jill to change that. She built a team to start the STARS program (Students and Tutors Achieving Real Success) with Lake Avenue Church, located in a primarily Latino community.

Today, she is focused on North Fair Oaks, in collaboration with the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA), the oldest association of African American churches. Talking with people living there, she hears stories about how North Fair Oaks used to be a vibrant community with a thriving business district. There were local grocery stores, restaurants, and a theatre.

But none of that is there now.

A Passion for Social Justice

Jill loves Jesus, and her care for social justice runs deep into the core of her faith. Jill has been involved with Missions Door since 1977 when she served with Campus Ambassadors. After campus ministry, she worked with Food for the Hungry in Mexico.

In 1990, she came back to the United States and found her heart broken for the lower income neighborhoods of Pasadena where the dropout rate was over 50%. She wanted to use the same Christian community development principles she had learned in Mexico and apply them to her own city.

Using the ABCD approach (Asset Based Community Development), she combined the assets of Lake Avenue Church’s congregation of 5,000 highly educated members with its low-income neighbors to create the STARS program —an afterschool program where hundreds of youth at risk of dropping out are now in college and running other STARS programs. STARS continues to transform lives, the neighborhood and the church.

Jill is a connector and is gifted in mobilizing and developing leaders. As a community developer and organizer, her mission is to mobilize churches through biblical advocacy training, focused especially on ending homelessness and lowering the cost of housing.  Inspired by the example of Moses, Esther, the prophets and Jesus, who all spoke to kings on behalf of the most vulnerable, Jill seeks to empower leaders.

This unique calling is transforming Northwest Pasadena and other communities across the US where she has done Housing Justice Workshops. “The kingdom of God is a big part of my theology; trying to understand what it looks like, how we participate in it, and how to bring others into it,” says Jill.

Empowering Local Leaders

Though people reminisced about what North Fair Oaks had once been, they were skeptical about whether the city would actually invest in this neighborhood. Jill realized that hope needed to be resurrected, and the community itself empowered to engage in change. An example of this is the resource and employment fair that the IMA had been running within the area for six years. Progress was slow and local involvement was minimal, so in 2015, Jill decided that something needed to change. Rather than doing the fair for the community, she wanted to do it with the community and by the community in hopes of developing local leadership.

A hundred and fifty residents, churches, and businesses were surveyed about both their concerns and their dreams for the community, and if they wanted to help plan the fair. In 2015, there was an overwhelmingly positive response at the resource fair and, with over 500 in attendance, nearly the entire neighborhood was there. This turnout invoked support from the city of Pasadena, giving the neighborhood’s efforts credibility.

Zechariah 8:4 says, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age.’” This was the vision Jill and others began sharing, and it led her to Janet Randall, who attended a local church and had lived in North Fair Oaks her whole life.

“It was her turf,” as Jill put it. Janet loved the Lord, was interested in seeing change in her neighborhood, and needed a job. She was a quintessential example of the heart of Jill’s ministry.

Because Jill is passionate about empowering communities through local leadership development, she started a ministry project, the North Fair Oaks Initiative, and gave Janet a job working with her. Jill began to teach her how to engage with the city and the local churches, paving a way for change. Janet is thriving in her role as an advocate for her community, and is so excited by the opportunity to mobilize churches around her, and watch transformation happen before her eyes.

“My life is not the same,” says Janet. “I was so bored with my other work. It had no meaning for me. Now I have meaning in my life and I am doing the very thing I was created to do; bringing people together and helping them make a difference in our city.”

God is doing amazing things in North Fair Oaks, using a missionary whose love for Jesus motivates her to serve the poor and work for biblical principles of love and justice. In addition to empowering local leadership, the North Fair Oaks Initiative has partnered with the Complete Streets Coalition, to help fulfill the community’s goals to slow down excessive traffic and make it a safe and beautiful place.

Through Jill’s work in developing advocates, homelessness in Pasadena was reduced by 54% between 2011 and 2016. Her team helped to craft an inclusionary housing ordinance setting aside 15% of all new housing as affordable. And just this past week, the city council responded to a group of pastors and residents presenting their concerns (pictured left) and granted $265,000 to improve pedestrian safety. These victories have planted seeds of hope as people begin to realize that their city can again be the place it once was.

“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” Isaiah 58:12

Housing Justice and the Triumphal Entry: What are we afraid of?

13 Apr

“Night cannot drive out the night, only light, only light.  Hate cannot drive out the hate, only love, only love.”

This powerful song by Delonte Gholston, which  he sang with deep passion at the Palm Sunday Peace Parade last Sunday, kept ringing in my heart and mind for days after the parade. I was overjoyed that this year the poetry and syncopation of the African American tradition seasoned our Mennonite-founded-parade.

I felt so honored to be asked to speak this year right at the beginning of the parade as we gathered at the Lutheran Reformation Church before the above “floats” led us through the streets, carried by husband Anthony Manousos and a youth group from Long Beach. (Anthony and I met six years ago at this annual parade!) Of course, with this year’s theme, “Ending Homelessness and Ensuring Affordable Housing for All,” I was overjoyed to speak on my passion and calling.  Folks showed much appreciation for what I shared last Sunday, so I wanted to also share it with you.

Jill Shook’s speech, Palm Sunday Peace Parade, April 9th, 2017

The Triumphal Entry: What are we afraid of?

Today we are seeking to retrace the footsteps of Jesus, who started his ministry in Galilee, the poor part of Palestine and ended his earthly ministry in a city: Jerusalem. So we walk from NW Pasadena to the city center. Where we are now, is a very special neighborhood for me. I had the joy of helping to found an after-school program called STARS sponsored by Lake Ave Church and I recruited hundreds of children from this neighborhood.

After five years of pouring our lives into these youth, many were still dropping out of school. When I asked them why, some needed to work to help their parents pay the rent, others baby sat so their parents could work.  That’s when I felt called address the high cost of housing. At first I thought we were crazy, how could we address this seemingly in surmountable issue? But in the midst of this housing crisis our little housing advocacy group has helped produce and preserve hundreds of affordable units.

In Luke’s account of Jesus’ triumphant Entry into Jerusalem, Jesus rides on a borrowed donkey, while the people are laying out the red carpet just ahead of his arrival–laying branches and clothing in the donkey’s path to honor the coming king. The whole multitude rejoiced and praised God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, blessing Jesus as their King—the Prince of Peace.

But we know that there is no peace without Justice. And when I began to see our successes in increasing affordable housing units, I too shouted with joy at how God was using our little group.

Jesus died for our sins, but also died because he was a threat to society. In the Gospels he confronted the authorities 27 times, challenging them to be part of a new kingdom built on love and justice.  Seeing this side of Jesus’s ministry, following in the tradition of Moses who confronted Pharaoh to save his people, Esther who used her beauty, prayer and fasting to speak to the king to save her people, and all the prophets who spoke to kings on behalf of widows, orphans and foreigners, I realized that advocacy was clearly part of God’s work.

Jesus’s declaration of kingship was a clear threat to the existing king, raising their fears. Why were they afraid of Jesus?

This passage about Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem is sandwiched between three stories about money: First, a story about Zacchaeus, a tax collector who repented of stealing taxes and paid back five times what he stole, second, a story of ten servants, some who invested their money and talents well and others who didn’t bother leveraging what they had been given, and the third story, right after Jesus’s triumphal entry, he turned over the money changers in the temple.

So what were they afraid of? This passage makes it very clear.

Rather than being afraid of Jesus, when Jesus challenged Zacchaeus about his dishonest gains, with joy he gave half of his possessions to the poor, and paid back four times the amount he cheated.  Like Zacchaeus, Millard Fuller, a wealthy man, sold his airplanes, horse ranches and all he had to begin Habitat for Humanity, which up to 2013 had built over 800,000 homes around the world.

Perhaps some of you have helped to build a Habitat home and know the joy of this kind of service.

We may not be able to build 800,000 homes, but we could take out a loan to build one small home in our back yard to contribute to the 1.3 million short fall of housing units needed in CA. This high demand and this extreme shortage is causing our homes mortgages and rents to soar.

Anthony and I had the joy of creating a tiny room in our back yard and we have been greatly blessed to have a friend who was once homeless stay there. He is great a fixing the things we tend to break and has helps us to construct many of the green features of our home.

We all so need each other. With a high end community, you need to employ an army of lower income folks to serve that population: dishwashers, car washers, baggers, gardeners, house cleaners, and on and on.

But where do they live? Recognizing the environmental nightmare of traffic congestion, California requires that cities plan for sufficient housing for all income levels, seeking to enable folks to live in close proximity to their work. Any healthy city needs a mix of income levels to function well. This required plan, called the Housing Element, requires that we plan, but it doesn’t require that the plan be implemented. Certainly we can work with our city to move this plan into action. But fear often stops us short.

So again I ask: What are we afraid of?  It think it has to do with what we worship, our time and our property values. It takes time to know and understand the laws and even more time go to the city to make the necessary changes. But for those who go, they receive great joy and blessing in knowing the justice they are making happen.

Dorothy Edwards

Dorothy Edwards, who was a speaker at the parade had been homeless for seven years, addicted to drugs, sleep in her tent in her little “homestead” carved out an embankment by 210 Freeway. Housing Works nurtured a trusting relationship with her and got her an apartment. She has been housed for five year, drug free for four. Today she his on the Housing Work’s staff, helping others like herself to get housed. She is also on the national board of the Corporation for Supportive Housing. 

The great temptation is also to worship our property values, fearing having any lower income neighbor in site. But if we love God with all our hearts, minds and souls and love our neighbors as ourselves. And if we want a nice home for ourselves, then this means that we should want a nice home for everyone, especially those most in need, those who are at the center of every prophet’s message and the center of every parable of Jesus.


Marv’s place, a home for 20 formally homeless families, was recently build on Union and Mar Vista. This looks like a Mediterranean Villa. It has won an award as the best permanent supportive housing in all of Southern CA.

When the dilapidated Rosslyn Hotel in downtown LA was purchased by an affordable housing developer to make it all permanently supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals, they were blown away when they took off the dry wall and discovered marble walls, and when they removed the false ceiling and found an ornate Spanish sky light covered during WWII.

They found a small door that brought them below the hotel leading to a Speak Easy…. Certainly not want homeless folks need!

The beauty of these housing developments, like Marv’s Place and the Rosslyn Hotel help the most vulnerable in our society begin to claim that they have infinite worth.  It’s just like God to give the best of the last and least.

Again I ask: What are we afraid of?  Our dollars say, “In God we trust” but we spend more than all the nations in the world combined on our military and national security. Do we trust God or the military for our safety?  Costa Rica has no army, so they can invest their taxes on education and other domestic concerns like housing. When their country was formed, their plantations were small, thus preventing the need for slaves. And because landholdings were smaller, this prevented a few landowners from controlling their country, in turn creating a more just distribution of land and a more democratic country.

By contrast, our nation was built on the back of slaves and military might. In fact, today in the US we are considering increasing our military spending by 54 billion while cutting HUD —Housing and Urban Development– by 6 billion. This is not right.  Already over half our US budget is for the military.

The Palm Sunday Peace Parade started after 9/11 to declare a different response to war.  Jesus said that those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Rather than invest in guns that kill, we need to remove the occasion for war, recognizing that is obsolete and unnecessary. My favorite author Walter Wink, in his book Engaging the Powers, shows how many international conflicts have been won without a gunshot. The best way to destroy our enemies is to make them our friends. Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, that means to provide hospitality, food and in case of the Syrian refugees, a place to live.

Like Jesus, are we willing to confront the authorities about how our city and nation allocate our hard earned tax dollars?  Pasadena’s housing department in one of the best in the US—winning national awards with Austin, Texas for some of the best housing policy. But with the cuts from both HUD and Redevelopment, our Housing Department has lost 85% of its funding, and this is before the proposed 6 billion cuts to HUD.

We have the power to create new funding sources.  Twenty pastors in Montgomery County, Maryland, confronted their county. With their many sit down meetings at the county seat, they negotiated a change in how property taxes were allocated, dedicating 2.5% of all property taxes for an affordable housing trust fund, which has produced over 1,000s of units.

Just before Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, in Mark’s account of the story, Jesus asks the blind beggar Bartimaeus, “What do you want?” Very good question, “what do we want?” If we want, we too can find a dedicated source of funding for our local affordable housing trust fund. Our city spends 77 million on our police, and only 1.3 million for our housing department. Certainly with the churches here today we can find way to fund affordable housing.

In Jesus day, there was so much gold in the temple when the Romans sacked and destroyed it in 70 c.e. that the price of gold dropped fifty percent in nearby Syria as it began to circulate. When Anthony and I were in Rome, walking around the upper edges of the great coliseum, we were shocked to read that it was built with money stolen from the temple in Jerusalem and was built on the backs of Hebrew slaves.

No wonder Jesus over turned over the money changers in the temple after entering into Jerusalem. He came on a donkey to bring peace, but no one expected this kind of action to be part of peacemaking.

What do churches have in their treasuries?  Just in the last year, Lake Ave Church have given over $ 75,000 to keep people in their homes and prevent homelessness.  A Lutheran Church in Chicago was losing members, and so they put their church building up for collateral five times to buy five apartment buildings, making them all affordable. Their last purchase was a hospital they that adapted into affordable housing for seniors and for those living with AIDs.

Again, what do our churches have? We have members, and vision and a big God who delights to do more than we and imagine.  We have parking lots that could be made into affordable housing, or used for a safe parking program like Santa Barbara has, where 20 churches and nonprofits offer 115 parking spaces for homeless folks living in their cars. Safe Parking Santa Barbara. Each person living in their car has case managers, moving them on a path to permanent housing.

Churches have empty buildings that could house our homeless friends, like Family Promise that houses homeless families inside houses of worship four times a year, within a network of 14 congregations. Family Promise San Gabriel Valley. In Pasadena the congregations that host homeless families are: Lincoln Ave Baptist Church, Friendship Baptist, St. Andrews Catholic Church and Holliston United Methodist. The Quaker Meetinghouse in Claremont houses 11 homeless people throughout the year: CHAP Claremont. When people with Family Promise and those who stay with the Quakers of Claremont are permanently housed, the space is given so that other homeless people can enter these effective programs. These are two beautiful programs that utilize church buildings as a way to end the homelessness.

What ends homelessness are homes. If you are in a shelter you are still homeless, if you are in transitional housing, you are still homeless, but when permanent housing is secured, you are no longer homeless. Ending homelessness

Pasadena has ended family homelessness and lowered its homeless count by 56 percent since 2011 by permanently housing 220 of our most chronic homeless neighbors.  In 2017 we counted 544 homeless people. Surely with over 200 congregations we can find a way to house those 544 still in need of homes. Many American Cities and states are ending homelessness for all veterans. Cities and States ending homelessness

We too can do this.

Just before climbing onto the donkey, Jesus was just finishing his parable about challenging the ten servants to multiply their resources, and Jesus concluded with this bottom line point of his story:

“Those of us who use well what we are given, even more will be given.”

Wow!!!  Do we believe that? If we really believe this, we could solve the homeless and housing crisis. This is not a philosophy of fear, but of abundance, knowing that God supplies our needs of we do the right thing.

After Jesus overturned the money changers, he wept over Jerusalem. He longed for the city to understand the way to peace.

God’s is in the business of alleviating poverty through the redemption of all people, all systems that govern people, redeeming our cities and the soil on which we all depend for our food and housing.  If we really believed that God is the redeemer and the only true owner of land and if we were to conduct business by God’s rules, everything would change—including who we would be willing to embrace as our neighbors and how we plan our cities. For many us our identity and security is tied so closely with our home and property values, that we can be tempted to forget that we will not be judged on the value of our property, but on how much we value the most vulnerable.  We are free to embrace all people to be our neighbors because ultimately Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is our protector and provider.

The account of the Triumphal entry that we celebrate today had throngs of people shouting out in praise for the amazing acts that Jesus was preforming. Let’s us shout to the heavens today, celebrating the joy of being part of this new kingdom of love, justice and peace!!

See a word document of my speech here: The Triumphal Entry Jill’s speech

Thank you for reading my blog!! And thank you for caring! May you have a beautiful Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday! And remember: “Night cannot drive out the night, only light, only light.  Hate cannot drive out the hate, only love, only love.”


Marv’s Place, Home for Formerly Homeless family, the Best in SoCal

12 Jan

Image result for Photos of Marv's Place, Pasadena, CA

I’m so proud of my city of Pasadena. We have just filled this award winning affordable housing development with 20 formerly homeless families. It looks like an Italian Villa. This and other housing first best practices have brought our city national recognition among 34 US cities as having decreased the number of homeless 54% from 2009 and ended family homelessness. The Dec. 30, 2016 Daily News said that, “public and private sectors in the city began working together to fight for housing that led it to see a 54 percent reduction in homelessness in the years studied by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2009-2016, according to a report from the group. The city counted 1,216 as homeless in 2011, but only 530 in 2016. Officials in the Housing and Career Services Department say three times as many people would be homeless today if the city had ignored the problem.” Thank God with me for this great recognition. And may many more cities follow this example. See more beautiful photos here: Marv’s Place, Home for Formerly Homeless family, the Best in SoCal

Please join me to defend the rights of the poor by opposing the Predatory Lender, Steve Munchin for Treasury Secretary

11 Jan

Church and Ministry Leaders Oppose Predatory Lender and Treasury Secretary Nominee Mnuchin

Petition · Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch: Church and Ministry Leaders Oppose Predatory Lender and Treasury Secretary Nominee Mnuchin ·

Friends of Christian Community Development


As Christians, we are called to defend the rights of the poor. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensure justice for those being crushed, yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice” (Proverbs 31:8-9).

Therefore, you are urged to call upon President Elect Trump and his transition team to reconsider Mnuchin and to urge Senate Finance Committee and the Senate not to confirm him.

Jill Shook, a member of the Christian Community Development Association and a missionary who chose to move to a low-income, predominantly African part of her city, has personal experience with President Elect Trump’s choice for Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin. Living in Pasadena, CA, home of IndyMac, Jill experienced first-hand the effects of this “foreclosure machine.” Mnuchin’s hedge fund played a role in the housing crisis, after it scooped up the failing California bank IndyMac in 2008. Under Mnuchin’s ownership, IndyMac foreclosed on 36,000 families, particularly elderly residents trapped in reverse mortgages. Mnuchin was accused of running a “foreclosure machine.” The bank, which was renamed OneWest, was also accused of racially discriminatory lending practices. In 2015, Mnuchin sold the bank for $3.4 billion—$1.8 billion more than he bought it for.

Jill’s friends who worked for IndyMac saw the bank providing subprime loans to people who could not afford them. Loans were given to two immigrant families who had high hopes for the American dream of homeownership. The documents, required to be in Spanish, were offered only in English. The loans were intentionally made so that the borrowers could not repay them. This led these families into serious financial difficulty. Phone calls to the bank drew no response, while foreclosure proceedings proceeded faster than Jill and the families could fill out loan modification paperwork. After applying for programs designed to help, help never came. One family’s home was lost. The parents and their seven children were given fifteen minutes to pack up and leave.  In her book, Jill features Rose Gudiel who stood up to IndyMac/OneWest when they tried to foreclose on her home. Courageous people, including the religious community, began an around-the-clock vigil preventing the sheriff from evicting her. Others protested at Steven Mnuchin’s $26-million Bel Air mansion.  Only then did the bank decide to renegotiate her loan.

The Los Angeles Times reported on November 30, 2016, “Despite its secure financial footing, One West had a history of problems with regulators over its foreclosure practices and lending and has been accused of being unwilling to work with borrowers seeking mortgage loan modifications despite promises to do so. Community groups have accused the bank of being particularly aggressive about foreclosing on properties in minority neighborhoods.” In the years leading up to 2008, low-income people were targeted for bad loans and lost not only their homes but most of the life savings. Many have not yet recovered from this devastating economic setback caused by bankers like Steven Mnuchin.


As followers of Jesus Christ and ambassadors of the Gospel, church and ministry leaders need to insist that all presidents of this great country choose cabinet members who are concerned about the rights and opportunities of all people, including the poor.

For this reason, we are urging supporters to contact President Elect Trump at

Find your elected officials are here:

This petition will be delivered to:

  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch
  • Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden

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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2016 Overview and Christmas Newsletter

22 Dec

Dear Friends and Supporters,


At Annie’s wedding

Mentoring and teaching emerge as a theme this year for me. Highlights include the joy of working with Sarah Pruitt to help organize my office and finalize the syllabus for my Housing Justice course at Azusa Pacific University (APU); Chase Andre, a Fuller Seminary Intern, and realtor, who did excellent research on granny flats—those back yard dwelling units (he discovered 750 in Pasadena!); Flo Annang and then Janet Randolph on Christian community development efforts on N. Fair Oaks (the city approved all the capital improvement projects we submitted—the community wants to feel more connected with crosswalks, thriving businesses and traffic slowing measures).


Sarah and Jill


Janet and Jill

On June 4th I led a day-long Housing Justice workshop in Denver for 36 faith leaders. I felt God’s hand working powerfully each moment and hearts move—including mine. In the spring, I felt very honored (and sometimes nervous) to play the role of professor to eight MA Social work students at APU. My student Denise sent this email: “All of the knowledge you gave me last semester is helping me at my agency as many of the homeless are sleeping at our building after the city decided it was against the law for them to sleep on public property.”

Another theme is advocacy. Proverbs 31:9 says, “speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” Not just Denise’s city, but many others, are seeking to make homelessness illegal, including Pasadena. “But where do they go?” asked Andy Wilson, a City Council member. Good question. Like Jesus, there is no room in the inn—shelters are full and housing is too expensive. The night that criminalizing homelessness was on the agenda, we went from only one council person, Tyron, who was against it, to 100% vote not to make aspects of homelessness illegal. I rallied 16 folks to speak on 16 talking points. It felt like church. When Pastor Manning preached how Jesus cares for the poor, everyone in the Council Chambers clapped! Throughout the evening Councilman John Kennedy disclosed “I think I’m not the wrong side of this issue; my mind is being changed”. The Holy Spirit was alive and well. We kept praying. And God answered. I will never forget what Daniel, one of the 20 homeless brothers and sisters who attended, said, “I never knew people cared about us until tonight.”

Part of advocacy is helping dispel negative notions about affordable housing. The prophets warn, but also help us to imagine a better world. Tours of award-winning affordable housing help us to imagine. I coordinated a tour for 65 folks for the CCDA national conference. We piled on the chartered bus and stopped at eleven sites—the ornate marbled-wall Rosslyn Hotel turned into 250 permanently supportive housing (PSH) units for formerly homeless; the 102 PSH Star apartments, with huge manufactured units stacked up like a star, and 1,093 senior units created over the a tunnel (who said we had no land?). When asked at the debriefing what was most impactful, many agreed it was when I gave folks a choice to climb the bus, or walk to the next site through a sea of homeless folks living in tents on the street. LA County is our nation’s  homeless capitol with 47,000 homeless people. May God have mercy and raise up more compassionate leaders with vision to address this crisis. Mentoring and teaching emerge as a theme this year for me. Highlights include the joy of working with Sarah Pruitt to help organize my office and finalize the syllabus for my Housing Justice course at Azusa Pacific University (APU); Chase Andre, a Fuller Seminary Intern, and realtor, who did excellent research on granny flats—those back yard dwelling units (he discovered 750 in Pasadena!); Flo Annang and then Janet Randolph on Christian community development efforts on N. Fair Oaks (the city approved all the capital improvement projects we submitted—the community wants to feel more connected with crosswalks, thriving businesses and traffic slowing measures). On June 4th I led a day-long Housing Justice workshop in Denver for 36 faith leaders. I felt God’s hand working powerfully each moment and hearts move—including mine. In the spring, I felt very honored (and sometimes nervous) to play the role of professor to eight MA Social work students at APU. My student Denise sent this email: “All of the knowledge you gave me last semester is helping me at my agency as many of the homeless are sleeping at our building after the city decided it was against the law for them to sleep on public property.”

I feel my book and work are more needed now that ever. A friend named Mike, who is presently reading Making Housing Happen, said, “I thought I would learn about housing from your book, but I’m learning more about Christian faith and action.  Thank you for such a meat-y book.” I never dreamed I’d be an author, or a professor, or be able to persuade city leaders, God indeed loves to surprise us. There was no surprise greater than for God to enter the world as homeless baby…to bring peace on earth.

Your Help is Needed!

You may be part of my regular support team that has faithfully given for years… thank you!! Last month one donor gave $1,200 donation.  If you can give this or $20, it is all needed to help our ministry.

This Christmas I invite you set up a monthly giving account to N. Fair Oaks Empowerment, to support Janet ‘s beautiful efforts to lead that initiative.  Also, please consider a direct withdrawal or monthly credit card contribution to my account: Jill Shook. A Homeless Summit with Pasadena churches and a Housing Justice Institute are on the horizon for 2017.   Homeless friends are slowly being housed but we have much more work to adequately house the  530 still living unhoused in Pasadena as well as the 26,000 low-income households on the waiting list for affordable housing.

Contact: Missions Door

2530 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80205

Phone: 303-308-1818

Jill Shook & Anthony Manousos

1628 N. Fair Oaks, Pasadena CA 91104

Jill’s Phone: 626-675-1316



Orange Grove Bible Study


Anthony’s Letter: From Peru to Washington, DC, Building Bridges for Peace

During a time when our country and the world are being torn apart by partisan politics and violence fueled by xenophobia, racism and bigotry, I feel that God is calling me more urgently than ever to work for peace and reconciliation. In January Jill and I went to Peru to take part in a world gathering of Quakers from every continent and theological background, from Evangelical to liberal. We had a blast making friends and helping to build bridges of understanding. All 350 of us united around a concern for sustainability, agreeing to take concrete steps to help preserve God’s precious creation for future generations. Since returning to the US, Jill and I have spoken about stewardship and living sustainably at a number of Quaker gatherings and given tours of our home.  I continue to serve on the board of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace—work that seems more important now than ever. Another highlight was going to Washington, DC, right after the election to take part in a lobby day sponsored by Friends Committee on National Legislation. Our theme was “love your neighbor: no exceptions.” Over 350 people of faith joined in this effort to lobby for mandatory sentencing reform; and I am now organizing advocacy teams in the LA area. Thanks to my wonderful spiritual director, I’ve connected with the Community of Divine Love, a group of Episcopal monks who do amazing prison ministry. For more about what I’ve been thinking and doing, see my blog, which includes an article Jill and I wrote about Bolivian Quakers engaged in sustainable cattle ranching:                                                                                              


Some 2016 Highlights

January: Jill and Anthony traveled to Peru for a world gathering of Quakers. We loved the Sacred Valley, Machu Pichu, and the local Peruvians we met.

February: We attended a memorial service for Grandpa Vic Heirendt, “romantic dancer” and “father of the year” who was brought up in an orphanage, raised 10 kids, & died at age 100 on Valentine’s Day!

March:  We were speakers on sustainability for the Orange County Friends Retreat in Julian, CA. We helped plan the Palm Sunday Peace Parade with the theme “Peace Without Borders: Welcoming Refugees.”

April: We celebrated at the Rose Bowl the 20th anniversary of STARS, a tutoring program started by Jill. We saw youth that Jill recruited, who are now grown, in love with Jesus, attending college, and running STARS.

May: We celebated Anthony’s 67th birthday at El Greco Café, a  Greek-themed dining area under our grape arbor.

June: Anthony coordinated peace and justice activities at Pacific Yearly Meeting at Walker Creek Ranch in Marin, CA. Jill lead a Housing Jusice workshop in Denver.

July: We organized “Complete Streets” event on N. Fair Oaks, with community leaders, churches, and neighbors. We also enjoyed a visit from Jill’s fun-loving brother Doug and his wife Vicki, who came all the way from Australia.

August: We went to New York for a conference with Mission Door, Jill’s mission; celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary at Niagara Falls, and visited Anthony’s sister and her family in Princeton Junction, NJ. At CCDA Jill gave a housing justice workshop and led an Affordable Housing Tour in LA.

September:  We loved attending Jill’s niece’s wedding. Annie Hereindt married Tervis in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We started “Marriage Mentoring” with a wonderful African American couple. Anthony helped organize “Not in God’s Name,” a conference focusing on an interfaith response to violence fueled by religion.  It featured Jewish, Muslim, and Christian scholars and honored interfaith peace activists.

October:  Anthony went camping at Joshua Tree with his men’s group. Jill led a strategic planning for churches addressing homelessness at Temple City. We started attending “aqua-therapy” at the Pasadena Rosebowl to help with our aches and pains.

November:  Anthony went to DC for FCNL’s annual lobby day and Jill went to Knoxville, TN, for a gathering of organizers at Highlander Institute. We celebrated Thanksgiving with the Heirendt family in a lovely home in the idyllic foothills near Fresno and we all went to Yosemite to enjoy its magnificence.

To see our letter  in PDF:




Can you fit all your belongings into a 60 gallon trash can?

2 Nov

Luke 12:16-21New Living Translation (NLT)

16 Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17 He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18 Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19 And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”‘

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’

21 “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

From my experience, I tend to accumulate, and wonder, “Where on earth to put all of my stuff?”, and I do not think that I am alone. Since 1949, homes and doubled and tripled in size, and storage units have sprung up across our nation. Our homeless neighbors are no different. I cannot imagine having to give up everything, except for what would fit in a 60 gal. trash can. Perhaps it would be fair to ask our homeless neighbors to do this, if we also did the same. Until we have enough Permanent Supportive Housing, we need to honestly grapple with how to treat our homeless neighbors with dignity and rights to own possessions.

Studies have shown that Permanent Supportive Housing for the homeless provides a long-term cost effective solution to ending homelessness.Cities across America struggle to respond to the need for increased affordable housing for homeless and low-income populations. In May of 2016, Los Angeles County had the Nations’s largest homeless count, but in order to work towards a real solution of ending homelessness, the city and county must seek long-term solutions. Criminalizing homelessness costs more money in the long-term because it does not provide a way out of the lifestyle.

The city of Los Angeles recently voted that homeless people cannot have more possessions than a 60 gal. bucket. Rather than humanizing the homeless population, and seeking long-term solutions, all but one of the city council voted on this measure. Councilman Cedillo of District 1 opposed law that restricted homeless people’ possessions.

Here is a quote by Councilman Cedillo: “We cannot go on two paths,” Cedillo said. “One path has to be toward building more housing, more shelters, more storage. The other takes us to more criminalization, an ongoing effort that has failed us.” See link below for the full article.

Report on new Los Angeles law restricting the homeless to 60-gallons worth of possessions

The Spiritual Act of Community Planning

5 Oct

Proverbs 21:5 says that, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”

Bob Lupton, who wrote a fabulous chapter in my book about a prison turned into affordable housing in Atlanta, also tells the story of how his inner-city neighborhood created a Master Plan together for their community. It was signed, sealed, and approved with the city of Atlanta, and when the Olympics came, expecting to build stadiums and displace these communities, this neighborhood was not displaced due to the existing  Master Plan. Bob engaged his community and it was their work together that ensured the protection of their community.

Neighborhood planning is a spiritual exercise. If we do not participate in future plans, we may end up with communities that do not have enough density, zoning, or affordable housing set-asides to allow for affordable housing. It is also pertinent that already existing density, zoning, or set-aside for affordable units are not removed from city plans. Like Lupton, people of faith can collaborate with their cities and communities to ensure existing communities are preserved.

Below is an article about Mayor Garcetti and the city of Los Angeles’ intentions of updating community plans to provide greater accountability for developers and supply clear, comprehensive Neighborhood Plans. These plan updates will allow community members to provide input into their desires for the neighborhoods, and ensure that development follows the plans. With the influence of people who care about the just use of land, so that all a place to call home, we can begin to adequately house our nation.


Los Angeles skyline

(TNS) — Facing a potentially bruising ballot fight over real estate development next year, Los Angeles’ political leaders announced Wednesday that they will seek a sweeping update of the plans that govern the size and density of new buildings that go up in scores of neighborhoods…..

The Unsexy but Righteous Issue of Affordable Housing

28 Jun

I would like to introduce a new blogger into the blogosphere: my friend Hannah Petrie, a UU minister with a passion for social justice. I highly recommend her new blog: Justice Hustle (See

Hannah has done a lot of impressive work building bridges with the Muslim community and with the low-income areas of Pasadena where my husband and I live. Here’s a blog entry relating to the work that she and I are doing together around affordable housing:


Advocating for the issue of affordable housing is hard, hard, hard. There is all the grunt work of advocacy (advocate meetings, lobbying of city council members, writing letters, going door to door to organize stake-holders) without the excitement of marches and rallies (which is actually just fine with me – I prefer the steady hustle of behind-the-scenes activism). It’s also hard because there are a lot of arcane things one needs to grasp, for example, about land use and zoning and all the conditions needed to empower an affordable housing project to proceed. When it comes to affordable housing justice, the devil truly is in the details.

There are times, of course, when getting a crowd in City Council chambers is necessary, and the two women in Pasadena who get people to show up the past two decades and running are Michelle White of Affordable Housing Services (Michelle is an affordable housing real estate developer) and Jill Shook, author of Making Housing Happen. Their commitment is unmatched, inspiring, and educational to all who feel called to work on this issue. Currently they have attracted an attorney who works for Kaiser and is studying the conditions for optimal health (he has found the dearth of affordable housing to be a significant impediment), seminary students from Fuller, people of faith, pastors such as myself, and formerly homeless women who found their way to affordable housing and are giving back.

I worked with Jill and Michelle a lot about eight years ago when the activist group was known as PAHG (Pasadena Affordable Housing Group) and now I’m getting back in the game with G-PAHG (Greater Pasadena Affordable…). Back then I tackled the issue of granny flats, one piece of the affordable housing puzzle, where affordable housing is created by homeowners able to construct a second unit on their property for affordable rents. Sadly, the city officials didn’t find the political momentum to remove the prohibitive restrictions (your lot must be at least 15,000 square feet!), and G-PAHG is still working on it.

Since I have “been there, done that” with granny flats, I’ve joined a sub-committee that could have a lot more “bang for the buck” as far as creating the most affordable housing units per project moving forward. Affordable housing is so unsexy there isn’t even a catchy phrase for what I’m trying to describe, but here’s an attempt: Land development for affordable housing. Too bad I can’t throw a bikini on that.

Land is damned expensive, so one of the most important preconditions for an affordable housing project is to use land the city already owns. Every district in Pasadena has city-owned land that could potentially be developed in this manner (the beautiful new housing you see across from the Von’s on Fair Oaks, near Orange Grove, is one such project). Problem is? City Councilors say, “not in my district!”

But there is plenty of research showing that mixing low-income dwellings in higher-income neighborhoods have all kinds of good outcomes, especially for the children who grow up there; they are more likely to enter the middle class. Another important point to note is that if we care about keeping Pasadena diverse, then creating more affordable housing is a must. Already, the African American population has been cut in half in Pasadena since the 90’s, because they are priced out.

So I am setting up meetings with all the Pasadena City Council members to ask them to look at the land available in their districts, and present solid talking points about the win/win aspects of moving these affordable housing projects forward (among other pieces of the G-PAHG agenda). Thankfully, there is one City Council member who has already seen the light, Margaret McAustin, and the affordable housing project in her district is nearing completion. Setting her courageous precedent will work in our favor.

I’m also excited to participate in a friendly debate about why the city of Pasadena should have a separate Housing Commission, rather than the matter of housing be relegated to discussion only four times a year in the Planning Commission (which amounts to members being educated but no action taking place). Michelle, Jill, and myself make up the pro-side of the panel. This will take place Thursday evening, July 14th, and I’ll blog more about the details soon.

That’s enough for now – I’ll make affordable housing sexy, by golly! You’ll see. Until next time, Do the Hustle!

– Rev. At-Large aka Rev. Hannah Hustlin’ Hope Petrie!
Author revhannah
Posted on June 28, 2016

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