Making Affordable Housing Happen in Pasadena: Our Story, God’s Story and the US/City Story, Nov 18th, register soon

9 Nov

Making Affordable Housing Happen event Sat. Nov. 18thOne day event on how and why to do biblically-based housing justice…

Who this is for?  This is for property owners, landlord, pastors and church leaders, city officials, community developers.  We want to work together to preserve and create new affordable housing options in Pasadena. 

 Where: Pasadena Church, 404 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, CA  91104

 Date: Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017

 Time: 8:30am registration—event from 9-4:30pm

 Cost: Free, thanks to sponsors (which includes lunch) 


Dr. Jill Shook, Dan Davidson, Pastor of Rose City Church and Chair of Pasadena’s Faith Partnership to End Homeless and Rosebud Coffee (social enterprise employing homeless youth), Bill Huang, City of Pasadena Housing Director, and Andre White,  Affordable Housing Development Professional

 RSVP: Register by Nov. 15th:

 Sponsors: Epicentre church, Lake Ave Church, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Knox Presbyterian, Pasadena Church, Pasadena Community Christian Fellowship, Rose City Church, Rosebud Coffee, Summit Evangelical

Any questions, call or text 626-675-1316



Next big roadblock for homeless housing

27 Jul

Mexican NIMBY’s (not in my back yard) are preventing  permanent supportive housing for our homeless neighbors. Jesus invited the most vulnerable to be the center of all his parables and teachings. We too need to be hospitable God will reward us. Isn’t it better to  have our homeless neighbors housed rather than on the streets?  We now have the funding with Measure H and Measure HHH. What we lack is the courage to overcome our fears and consider what really matters most- how we love our neighbors.


Homeless housing’s next big roadblock

“A  vacant lot between two venerable Eastside landmarks — Evergreen Cemetery to the west and the El Mercado mall to the east — is the focus of a dispute that portends difficulties for the city’s plans to spur the construction of 1,000 units of housing each year for the chronically homeless. A nonprofit developer has an option to build 49 affordable-housing units on the property, with half of them dedicated to chronically homeless people who have been diagnosed as mentally ill. It’s exactly the kind of project the city intends to support with the $1.2-billion homeless housing bond that voters approved in November. But it’s been stuck for nearly a year in the committee headed by one of the most vocal supporters of that bond, Councilman Jose Huizar…..”

The empty lot at 1st and Lorena streets where a nonprofit developer wants to build homeless housing.

Cities have nothing to fear from granny flats

27 Jul

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



Granny Flats

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

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

City alters ordinance regarding renters

17 Jul

After over a year of meetings with city staff and elected officials, our Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group successfully strengthened our local protection ordinance. Thanks especially to Darrell Cozen, who has played a calming, persistent, and passionate role in our group.

City alters ordinance regarding renters

“Pasadena’s City Council fixed a loophole in the city’s Tenant Protection Ordinance this week and expanded the number of renters who qualify, but the ordinance still does not offer protections to most of the tenants in the city.

Roughly one-half of Pasadena’s residents rent their homes, but only 91 tenants have benefitted from the Tenant Protection Ordinance in the last 13 years…..”

Castle Green in Pasadena.

A long road home

14 Jul

My friend Brad Fieldhouse is audacious. He challenged the Santa Ana city council with his God-sized belief that the city can do more.  I was astounded when I visited this huge operation Brad helped set up in the bus terminal. Today Hope & Housing is transforming the lives of homeless.

Donna Gallup , the Executive Director of American Family Housing, the affordable housing developer that built permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless from shipping container, will begin teaching  in Azusa Pacific University’s social  work department this  month.

Long Road Home

“For Kenneth Salazar, the past came back as a series of scenes in a fractured chronology.

Life after the Army had been one of dead-end jobs and episodes of sleeping in cars, each coming to an end when the vehicle was impounded.

“I woke up in a motor vehicle in other people’s driveway wondering, ‘What in the hell am I doing here?’ ” Salazar said.

Most recently, he was sleeping in a park when an outreach worker got him to go to the Courtyard, a shelter that opened last year in the former Santa Ana bus terminal. There he slept on a mat.

That turned out to be a steppingstone out of his past. For the first time since his discharge, Salazar, 60, now has a permanent home that cannot be impounded…..”

You’ll need a $1,152 raise to make the rent

14 Jul

You’ll need a $1,152 raise

“Renters in the Los Angeles and Orange County metropolitan area would need an annual raise of $1,152 to keep up with expected rent increases in the next year, a study by real estate website Zillow says. The L.A./O.C. area came in second highest in the nation, after No. 1 Seattle at $1,248. That compares with $168 for the U.S. as a whole. In Seattle, L.A./O.C. and Boston, renters need their incomes to be at least $1,000 higher next year to have the same amount of money left over after paying the rent, according to the analysis…..”  -Marilyn  Kalfus

What are the impacts and benefits of Granny Flats?

10 Jul

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

Aiding and clamping down on the homeless: A law suit is transforming Pomona

10 Jul

It took a law suit by public council to move this city toward more compassion for its homeless population. My friend Will Watts, who was a lawyer with public council played a key role. As a Christian I use to think  lawsuits would be unacceptable. However when it comes to housing  and  the  lack  of  accountability  by our cities to meaningfully address the homeless crisis I have seen how law suits are not only necessary but also transforming. I am proud of you Will.

Aiding-and clamping down on-the homeless

“The band shell at Pomona’s Ganesha Park is a cozy spot where an acting troupe might perform Shakespeare on a summer night.  But on a brisk January morning, four tents held center stage — nestled around a rusted 55-gallon drum still warm from a bonfire the night before. By mid-morning, people stirred and tents came down. A young woman growled at the outreach worker who ventured near. The scene reflected one day’s uneasy equilibrium in the homelessness drama roiling the eastern Los Angeles County city of 150,000. While the city and county of Los Angeles attempt to conquer the problem with billions of dollars in new taxes for thousands of permanent supportive housing units, Pomona has taken a different tack……”

In the darkest corners of LA an Angel visits those close to death

10 Jul

I am moved to tears when I read this article about Anthony Ruffin, who found his calling among the homeless. I love Housing Works, a non-profit with a mission like that of Mother Teresa, yet here on the streets of LA loving homeless individuals most at risk of dying. Thank you Mollie for believing in Anthony. May God raise up “Anthony’s” across our nation , men who are emotionally engaged ,fully present, and committed to an ongoing presence being with the poor.

Angel in the Night 

“Mollie Lowery believed in Anthony Ruffin, and was convinced he would continue the work to which she had devoted her life. Before Lowery died last summer, the homeless outreach pioneer told me her protege had a story, but I’d have to get it from Ruffin himself.

I’d known the 48-year-old Ruffin as a tireless case manager for my friend Nathaniel Ayers. Aside from Lowery, I’ve never met anyone more dedicated to helping people with severe mental and physical illness. The work can be challenging, depressing and frustrating, because those with acute mental disorders often refuse assistance, and sometimes turn against the very people trying to help them.

But Ruffin keeps going back to the darkest corners of the city, undeterred, as if the next visit could bring a breakthrough. As if Lowery’s dictum — “whatever it takes, for as long as it takes” — is a call to duty……”


Eviction: a 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner is a must read, unveiling a tragic commentary on housing in the US

10 Jul

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, is a page turner that kept me awake at night as the characters came alive and reminded me of individuals I have worked with here in Pasadena! It also provides an excellent text for my Housing Justice course in the MA Social Work at Azusa Pacific University. Matthew Desmond asked me to write up a faith based study guide for this amazing book. I felt so honored. But time didn’t allow me to finish it within his time frame. I love how Desmond moved into the “hood” much like Jesus, and ‘dwelt among”  those most in need. This reads like a novel because he recorded conversations that helped us understand the pain and suffering of eviction in America. Using an ethnographic research and methodology he teaches at Harvard University. In addition he provided a statistical analysis enabling us to see the scope of eviction as well as rays of hope in how we can overcome this housing injustice.

Author: Pain of Eviction Affects Everyone


At the height of the recession, doctoral candidate Matthew Desmond moved into a mainly white trailer park on the edge of Milwaukee. The following year, he moved into a rooming house on the north side of town in a primarily African American neighborhood.
Like a fly on the wall, Desmond documented a rising tide of evictions, showing how losing one’s home impacts families, landlords and neighborhoods.

The book that emerged, “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.

In an interview with the Southern California News Group, Desmond described the toll evictions take on the communities in which they occur.

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