Update on my ministry and cancer journey

12 Nov

Dear Friends and Supporters,

May 16, 2018 survey found that 26 percent of Americans age 18-64 struggled to pay medical bills. According to the U.S. Census, that’s 52 million adults.  One million said they declared bankruptcy.  Some have gone into foreclosure.  One friend who’s father just passed away of cancer had to remortgage their home.  After what I have experienced in the past two months, I understand why.  Health care reform is long overdue. Health care cost are keeping people trapped in poverty and pushing many onto our streets. 

Some of you have already learned and others don’t yet know that I have been diagnosed with a type of slow-growing cancer called Follicular Lymphoma. Thankfully, it is slomom and jilw-growing and can be treated, but there is no cure. With treatment there is a 94% chance of survival, without 50%. But we know that God our Healer is big and able to do more than we can imagine.  It has been a whirlwind the past two months. Many have expressed a desire to learn what is happening with me.  The following timeline helps to explain why I have barely had a spare moment these past two months.  I has been a healing exercise for me to write this out, but you some of you may want to skim or skip the ministry update at the end.

donnaAugust. 31: I was at Shell Beach on the California Central coast, helping my sweet 88-year old Mom find a new once-a-week helper. In all the fast-paced urgency to find someone before I had to drive back to Pasadena I snuck in a shower and was disturbed by a lump I felt in my armpit—so I ran to the phone and made an appointment with my doctor. That week I had a flu shot and my sister said that sometimes swelling can be a reaction.

Sept 7: Dr. Cleo said that is was likely nothing—asking me how I go about shaving and recommended not to use a razor but to wax. But just in case, she sent me to get a sonogram that day. I waited almost two hours to get in, but the care I received was worth it. They were very concerned, called in the radiologist and did a biopsy on the spot.

Sept 8-21: Anthony and I had a never-to-be forgotten and much needed vacation in Hawaii, thanks to frequent flyer miles and Quaker hospitality it was affordable—and powerful to stay with locals and partake in Hawaiian activism. We received the call while lying on a quiet beach with deep blue sky and ocean, and verdant palm trees. The lump was indeed cancerous. It was follicular lymphoma. Dr Cleo explained that of all the cancers, this was the best kind since it is slow growing. She wanted to break the news after the trip, but what a better place to hear such news cushioned in such beauty. God had totally prepared me; I was actually not surprised.

Sept 25: Anthony and I met with Dr. Chung, the City of Hope oncologist in Arcadia, and he ordered PET and CT scans so we would know if it had spread. We were impressed that they got me an appointment the next day!  Dr. Chung assured me that it would be okay to keep my plans to attend a housing conference in Pittsburgh the next week.

Sept 26: A marathon test day—in the morning back to Arcadia with Dr. Chung to do a bone marrow test to see if it had spread into the marrow. He was able to get the perfect sample and even showed it to me—it looked like a tiny red pipe cleaner. But I don’t recall anything hurting so badly—it was extremely painful, even with a local anesthesia. From there I spent most the day preparing for, doing and recovering from the very long process of CT and PET scans.

Oct. 1-4. Again Quaker hospitably came through with a $25 a night stay in the Pittsburg Meeting Guest House making this trip affordable with delightful Uber trips to and from the conference. It was fabulous in every way! My hope is to have students from the One-Year Housing Justice Institute attend this Grounded Solutions conference next year.

Oct. 9: Anthony and I met with Dr. Chung to learn of the bone marrow, CT and PET scan results. I was not as emotionally prepared this time hear that it had spread. The area in my armpit measured 1” by 1.6”, plus two small spots in my gut and one tiny one in my clavicle.  But thankfully, none in my bone marrow!

Oct. 11: We went to see Dr. Budde for a second opinion. She is a renowned follicular lymphoma specialist and researcher on the City of Hope main campus in Duarte.  We waited four hours past our appointment time before we got to see her! She highly recommended that we go with a treatment plan of Rituximab plus Revlimid—a new front line use for follicular lymphoma. So new that it is not yet in the written protocols for insurance companies, but demonstrated via studies as recent as June 2018 that this combo of treatments significantly lower the side effects. This drug is essentially the same drug that created the Thalidomide babies in 60s born with deformed limb—therefore pregnant women cannot take this. No problem here since I had a hysterectomy in 2009 and just turned 65 on Nov. 1st.

Oct. 14: Back to see Dr. Chung to finalize the treatment plan and begin the marathon effort to figure out how to pay for it. Revlimid costs $165,000 a year in the US.  (My brother who lives in Australia called for my birthday. I was so impressed that he knew about Revlimid. It was just approved there, and in Australia it cost $43,000 because there on caps on what can be charged.) Blue Shield took a week before letting us know that they had denied its use and approved only 8 of the 20 treatments of Rituximab and at a lower dosage. How is it possible that an insurance company can determine your treatment plan above the word of a world-renown expert? Dr. Chung sent in an appeal. That took a week! Blue Shield finally approved the drugs at $16,000 a month!! Was there a way to get these meds covered without having to sell the home we had just paid off the week before?

It was now four days before my 65th birthday—when I could receive Medicare. I was in a race against time to find a new part D insurance company that would cover the Revlimid. I could feel the cancer growing in size in my armpit and the pain increasing.  I spend 8 hours on Monday, Oct. 29th and 8 hours on Tue, Oct. 30th on the phone calling companies and going over options with Marty, our insurance agent.  Nothing. By mid-Tuesday our agent had to attend to other clients but he gave me “homework assignments” –brilliant ideas—to find out the name of the pharmacy that City of Hope uses for Revlimid and ask what insurance companies cover it, and to call the company that makes  Revlimid, based in New Jersey. Bingo! This helped me decide on a Part D carrier…. Optum RX, but they are actually off the hook, because the Revlimid Company has a patient assistance program that we qualify for because of our lower income status—but just until Jan. 1st. So we will need to re-apply and hopefully again qualify.  Please pray.

We were to leave for the Christian Community Development Conference in Chicago on Oct 31, but we were too stressed and exhausted to consider going. Anthony spent the afternoon seeking to cancel our lodging and flights with the trip insurance.  I have not missed a CCDA conference in over 20 years. It was a huge loss, but we just were not up for it.

Nov. 8: From Nov. 1-8, after many more calls to get all the paperwork signed and submitted by the doctor before the end of the east coast business day (we lost several days before treatment could begin due to the time difference) on Thursday, Nov. 8th, we were scheduled for the first Rituximab treatment.  Everyone at the center was delightful, making us as comfortable as possible, and explaining it all so clearly. It took from 9am to 2:30pm for the first intravenous drip treatment since they slowly build up to a bigger dosage, checking vitals every half hour. They filled me up with Benadryl to minimize reactions—so the rest of that day I was half asleep. We go back for this intravenous treatment once a week a month, then once a month for 3 months, then once every two months. The full treatment for both the Rituximab and Revlimid is 2 years.

Nov. 9:   The Revlimid arrived in the mail. I take the pills once a day for three weeks, then one week off. I figure the pills are worth about $800 each. So I am praying like crazy that they are worth their cost and clean up this cancer!

anthony and jillNov. 11: It’s been four days since I’ve  started treatment and I thank God that there have been no major side effects—super thirsty, some fast heartbeat that settles if I rest, slightly lightheaded, and some tiredness. I was able to sing loud praises in church this morning, and enjoy fellowship.  Amazingly, I have been able to continue many ministry efforts squeezed between doctors’ appointments. Enjoy this update.


Ministry Update

  1. The two weekly Bible studies in our home, one with Mark who was formerly homeless and stays in our back house, continue to draw us closer together, closer to God and nurture us for the work that God has called us to do. Our monthly Quaker Bible study steadily grows both in size and depth. It is a huge blessing for us all as we meet God in the midst of sharing our impressions, experiences and insights
  2. Anthony and I were interviewed by a documentarian about the marriage mentoring course that we took that so helped us. Now we are featured on the Hope 4 Marriage website! See: http://www.hope4marriages.org/  I’m meeting with a pastor in the process of divorce, sharing tid bits of what we learned as she is ready to hear it.
  3. I have been able to keep several speaking engagements for a class at Cal Lutheran and in Spanish at for a course at Fuller Seminary.
  4. jil at partyIn the midst of this cancer journey on Oct. 27th the nonprofit we started, Making Housing and Community Happen was launched with a fund raiser with over 100 attending, raising over $3,000. This is a great start! Due to this cancer diagnosis, I am keenly aware of the need to hire staff. If you feel so led and are not yet giving to Mission Door, please prayerfully consider a one time or a regular contribution. See info below.
  5. Anthony is taking leadership in advocating for homeless housing. Research from
    mercy housing

    Mercy Housing’s Orchard House is a motel conversion in Santa Ana with 71 units for formerly homeless folks. It has significant environmental features.

    years of experience show that permanent supportive housing (PSH) ends homelessness. Pasadena wisely passed an ordinance to allow problem motels be converted into PSH. Presently in some motels rooms are rented hourly, drugs and homelessness abound. When converted all residents are well vetted, each has a case manager and one manager lives on site. Local businesses will see homeless neighbors housed as opposed to sleeping in their door ways. Anthony has a solid team in place with excellent ideas for reaching out to churches close to potential motels.

  6. I met Anne Marie and her husband Carlos because they want to build a back house anne marie(Accessory Dwelling Unit-ADUs) and were having trouble with the city’s impossible requirements. For all of Pasadena our ADU team was able lower the property size requirement and alleviate the $20,000 impact fee in exchange for affordable housing, or in the case of a family member living in the unit.  Anne Marie is now leading an effort to help shape the city’s pilot program to offer low-cost loans for those who wish to convert their garage or build a detached unit if they are made available to a low income resident at risk of becoming homeless.
  7. Our Inclusionary housing team (Inclusionary is where all developers set aside a percent of housing to be affordable, like a biblical tithe) proposed that all 533 affordable units produced via this policy should be placed into, and monitored by a Community Land Trust (CLT). A CLT is an excellent model, with over 300 cities today utilizing CLTs to preserve housing affordability in perpetuity—today much of our affordable housing is opting to go market rate! Our housing director (who knows and loves Christ) has invited me to join him and others to discuss this on Nov. 20th with City Bank. I have been promoting this model for almost 15 years because it fits hand and glove with Leviticus 25 land use laws. The fact that the city is exploring this is a huge answer to prayer!
  8. Mercy is leading an effort to insure that Fuller Seminary sets aside all 167 of themercy and jill units on its campus that were created via the city’s inclusionary policy.
  9. As a result of the One-Day Housing justice Institute we did in Monrovia in April, we have trained leaders who are now working with a faith-based team to capture a percentage of all the 2,000 new housing units Monrovia plans to build, to be set aside as affordable. Carol, speaking here at the fund raiser is one of those leaders.

We ask the “why” questions. Why are 53,000 people living in the streets in LA County? Why is our system not working for the “least of these” and how can follow the example of Jesus and all the prophets to change laws and allocations of resources to be more compassionate and just?  We see policy change as a ministry, which translates into transformed lives, transformed cities where God is redeeming the cancer in our systems to bring about housing justice.  Rejoice with us in God’s healing of our bodies, our cities, our decision makers and those of us helping to shape those decisions.  To God be the glory!

With deep gratefulness to you and with joy in this amazing journey,


Our fund raising goal: $15,000 by Jan 1st to hire a grant writer, and part-time assistant.

 You can contribute to Making Housing and Community Happen two ways:

On line: https://makinghousinghappen.wedid.it/

Or, send monthly checks made out to “Social Good Fund” with “Making Housing and Community Happen” in memo line to:

Social Good Fund, PO Box 5473, Richmond, CA 94805-4021

To contribute to Jill Shook’s missionary support with Missions Door you can contribute several ways, on line:       http://www.missionsdoor.org/missionaries/shook-jill

Or send checks to Missions Door

2530 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80205

Call to set up a credit card or direct deposit 303-308-1818

 Jill’s contact information:  

Blog: makinghousinghappen.net 

Website: makinghousinghappen.com,

Jill@makinghousinghappen.com   Phone: 626) 675-1316







One-Year Housing Justice Cohort: Informational Webinar- Saturday, Oct. 13th, 10 AM Pacific / 11 AM Mountain / 12 PM Central / 1 PM Eastern

29 Aug


temple city homeless coaliton

Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018

10 AM Pacific / 11 AM Mountain / 12 PM Central / 1 PM Eastern

We hope you can join us for an informational webinar on the new One-Year Cohort that the Housing Justice Institute is offering in 2019. This free webinar will provide background information for those interested in learning more about this training opportunity! if you attend this webinar, you will receive a $100 discount if you join the Cohort.

This informational webinar is a follow up to our Biblical Housing Justice 2018 Summer Webinar Series held earlier this month. For links to presentation materials and mp3 recordings of the Summer Webinar Series please visit www.housingministries.org under the Housing Justice Work section of the website.

Housing Ministries Network

Webinar Leader:
Dr. Jill Suzanne Shook, Professor, Advocate, One day and one year Housing Justice Institute coordinator


One-Year Institute

The One-Year Institute is comprised of a cohort of no more than 14 passionate and committed people of faith who will learn ways to address housing/homeless crisis in their communities through local churches, partnerships and policy. Participants will practice within their own community a theology of advocacy, land use, and housing as part of God’s mission and the human right to housing.

This course has been offered at Azusa Pacific University in the Graduate Social Work Department. If you wish to earn credit from your own higher learning institution, please email Jill@makinghousinghappen.com and she will send you approved curriculum that you may want to use or adapt for your institution.

We will meet in person for five days in January at a lovely retreat center in Sierra Madre, CA, adjacent to Pasadena. We have the freedom to adjust the year’s curriculum somewhat based on the expectation and needs of participants. From February to September we will meet on-line once a month and also enjoy a phone check in/reflection/prayer time once a month. In October we will attend the Grounded Solutions Network national conference, which will provide a wealth of support in long-term solution to the housing crisis with best practice practitioners from throughout the US.

We will examine case studies of how churches and faith-rooted visionaries, community developers, advocates and community organizers are addressing the housing crisis, and thereby transforming people and communities. Guest speakers, interactive assignments, readings, site visits, community-based research and skill development as well as firsthand experiences to engage with affordable housing developers, local decision makers, policy, best practice models and processes of systemic change within a community.


Please RSVP if you are interested in attending this free informational webinar. Click the RSVP Button below to register today! For questions please email Jill@makinghousinghappen.com

Housing Justice One-Year Institute Description (starting in Jan. 2019), consider applying.

23 Aug

Description of the One-Year Institute:

The One-Year Institute is comprised of a cohort of no more than 14 passionate and committed people of faith who will learn ways to address housing/homeless crisis in their communities through local congregations, partnerships and policy. Participants will practice within their own community a theology of advocacy, land use, and housing as part of God’s mission and the human right to housing.

This course has been offered at Azusa Pacific University in the Graduate Social Work Department. If you wish to earn credit from your own higher learning institution, please email Jill@makinghousinghappen.com and she will send you approved curriculum that you may want to use or adapt for your institution.

We will meet in person for five days in January at a lovely retreat center in Sierra Madre, CA, adjacent to Pasadena. We have the freedom to adjust the year’s curriculum somewhat based on the expectation and needs of participants. From February to September we will meet on-line once a month and also enjoy a phone check in/reflection/prayer time once a month. In October we will attend the Grounded Solutions Network national conference, which will provide a wealth of support in long-term solution to the housing crisis with best practice practitioners from throughout the US. See link: Grounded Solutions Conference

In the One-Year Cohort we will examine case studies of how churches and faith-rooted visionaries, community developers, advocates and community organizers are addressing the housing crisis, and thereby transforming people and communities. Guest speakers, interactive assignments, readings, site visits, community-based research and skill development as well as firsthand experiences to engage with affordable housing developers, local decision makers, policy, best practice models and processes of systemic change within a community.

Primary textbooks and recommended reading:

  • Brueggemann, W. (2002). The land: Place as gift, promise, and challenge in biblical faith (2nd Ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress.
    • Desmond, M. (2016). Evicted: Poverty and profit in the American city. New York: Penguin Random House LLC.
    • Shook, J.S. (Ed.). (2012). Making housing happen: Faith-based affordable housing models (2nd Ed.). Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, a Division of Wipf and Stock Publishers.
    • Mallach, A. (2009). A decent home: Planning, building, and preserving affordable housing. Chicago, IL: 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.

Dates, topics covered, and fees:

January 2-6 2019, Five days at the Friends Nature Lodge Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, next to Pasadena, CA. We will participate in team building assignments, affordable housing site visits, lectures, field trips, and course work on the following themes:

  • Defining the scope of the problem: course overview, stories, statistics, the case for affordable housing.
  • Developing theological frameworks for ownership, land, housing, and redemption of the cities: human rights perspectives.
  • Housing development: case studies and models.
  • Affordable housing preservation and solutions-reflection on field trip and all the tools to do affordable housing development (intermediaries).
  • Integrate theological frameworks including: what is the gospel, the role of the church, our stories, and how to help others tell their stories.

February 1 or 2, online (dates chosen based on class decision) Homelessness; defining housing challenges: homelessness–roots and causes and reason for hope, and key concepts.

March 1 or 2, (online) Understand underlying causes for the US housing crisis and rays of hope: segregation, gentrification, and displacement

April 5 or 6, (online) 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.

May 3 or 4, (online) Biblical city planning: Housing Element, CCD, New Urbanism, Smart Growth, housing trends, alternative building materials (Biblical basis for ecological and sustainable practices).

May 31 or June 1, (online) Going up the stream vs. Putting out fires: Intro to housing policy, how decision are made and how using spiritual practices we can influence them.

July 12 or 13, (online) Biblical basis of advocacy, how to be an advocate. Steps to advocacy.

August 2 or 3, (online) Advocacy practice/ You can’t do this alone. How to start a housing group and why. Jesus had a team.

September 6 or 7,  (online) Local, regional, state and national housing resources, empowerment theory and preparation for final presentations.

October meeting in person at national Grounded Solutions Affordable Housing Conference, dates and location to be determined. We will be sharing our final presentations of our years work with each other before, during and after the conference. See the conference for this year:


One-Year Housing Institute total estimated cost: $2, 500 (excluding travel to retreat, conference, and course materials) if you wish to fund raise for the cost of the course, we have a button you can use to set up a crowd sourcing event. Please consider inviting your church to support you. The deadline for applications submitted is Oct. 19th.  Since there is space for only 14 in the cohort, we encourage you to apply soon. We will let you know within two weeks after you have applied if you are accepted.



Summer series, Two webinars: Biblical Foundations and Practical Tools for Affordable Housing Advocacy, Aug 1 & 9 at 11:00 AM PST–register below.

23 Jul

Summer webinars


Pasadena’s Inclusionary housing regulations

8 Jul

Anthony and I are just finishing an article on why parts of these regulations need to be updated.  Stay tuned!

Here’s a peak into one of our main big ideas in the article: Some City Council members have alleged that the over-concentration  in this policy applies to Heritage Square South, a parcel of land was purchased fifteen years ago with HUD and other funding for affordable housing. According to the Housing Director William Huang, the best and most fund-able use for this property is for 69 units of PSH for homeless seniors. These homes will end homelessness for these seniors, bring more investment into that neighborhood, create a beautiful apartment complex … a development that the neighbors will be proud of, and which 80% of those surveyed already support.

It is important to note, however, that this over-concentration policy applies only to off-site inclusionary housing projects. Since the Heritage Square South is not an inclusionary offsite project, there is no legal reason not to approve this site for PSH. No exception to current policy needs to be made.[1]

[1] See Inclusionary Regulations Updated 12/28/17. This policy clearly applies only to inclusionary units:  “(v) Over concentration.  The proposed construction of the Inclusionary Units on the parcel proposed shall not result in an over concentration of low income housing in any specific neighborhood.  As used herein, an “over concentration” exists when either 50 rental units legally restricted (by means of a recorded instrument) to occupancy by Very Low and/or Low Income Households are located within one-eighth mile from the parcel proposed for the off-site Inclusionary Units, or when 200 rental units legally restricted (by means of a recorded instrument) to occupancy by Very Low and/or Low Income Households are located within one-quarter mile from the parcel proposed for the off-site Inclusionary Units.” (p. 7).

InclusionaryRegulations_Updated_12-28-17 (002)

Overview of GPAHG—Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group

23 Jun

Initially we were Affordable Housing Action, then Pasadena Affordable Housing Group (PAHG) now GPAHG, the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group. We advocate for the production and preservation of quality, appropriate affordable housing with priority on the most vulnerable populations of low and no-income residents, and the dispersal of this housing throughout the City.

 Description and summary of the work of GPAHG

We have monthly general meetings, subcommittees and one-on-one meetings with elected officials. We do research on specific housing policies, decide our positions, then plan and execute our strategy on how to pass these policies.  We have had many wins since we began in the mid-90s. We have strengthened Pasadena’s Tenant Protection Ordinance, prevented criminalization of our homeless neighbors, increased production of affordable housing by 527 units by passing an inclusionary housing ordinance—like a biblical tithe with 15% of all new housing set aside as affordable. We have also fostered significant structural changes, such the creation of a City Housing Department.

Present work:

We have a core group that provides guidance to the overall organization, one monthly general GPAHG meeting, and presently two sub-committees:  Advocating for South Heritage Square to house 69 homeless seniors; and update on Pasadena’s Inclusionary housing policy. (we have laid our 3 year ADU–Accessary Dwelling Unit subcommittee to bed for now)

  • Heritage Square South—Permanent Supportive Housing for homeless seniors, contact Chair Anthony Manousos, interfaithquaker@aol.com
  • Inclusionary subcommittee, Contact Jill Shook, Chair, jill@makinghousinghappen.com

General Monthly GPAHG Meetings are held on the 4th Tuesday of each month, at 7pm at the Quaker Meetinghouse, 520 E. Orange Grove Blvd, contact: jill@makinghousinghappen.com (626) 675-1316  (We are taking a break in June 2018)

Who we are:

  • Over the 20 years we have been comprised of a diverse membership consisting of retired planning commissioners, retired city planners, lawyers, architects, nonprofit directors, pastors, caseworkers, former homeless individuals, and long-term advocates at the local and state levels. Under the above names we have been meeting since the late 1990’s. We are recognized as a legitimate group with a clear agenda by decision makers.


  • We have clarified our vision and aspects of our process as working as a group, had several retreats to do team building and further develop our decision making processes, organizational structures, platform and priorities
  • We have kept ourselves consistently tuned into the local governmental bodies that deal with affordable housing issues: committees, subcommittees, commissions, and the city council as well as some state and federal policy that have a bearing on local issues: i.e. the Roberti Bill and Costa Hawkins Rent control and SB 831 about ADUs.
  • We have met individually with city council members and other public officials, spoken at countless workshops and public meetings, bringing crowds to show their support.

We have explored and showed up consistently to support a number of local projects to promote the inclusion of lower income affordable housing:

  • Desiderio, where we were able to see nine Habitat for Humanity units approved.
  • North Heritage Square–supported the approval of 70 Senior Affordable housing
  • Pasadena Manor- we were able to stop 11 million revitalization funds from being sunk into the development of a luxury hotel where no public benefits were provided and relocation costs for 157 elderly seniors unlawfully evicted from their homes.
  • Redevelopment, Tax increment and other affordable housing funding issues
  • Westgate –we were won 97 Very Low income affordable units embedded into 800 units of high end housing close to the public transport, and jobs in Old Pasadena
  • Cal Trans property
  • Opposing Down zoning with over 300 showing up at the City Council.
  • Carmel Partners/Fuller
  • St. Luke’s redevelopment
  • 550 planned unit development in east Pasadena–where we won the inclusion of affordable units.


  • Sponsored an affordable Housing 101 class
  • Sponsored two additional community engagement workshops for the 2014-2021 Housing Element, at the Abundant Harvest Church and the Flintridge Center.

Events sponsored, cosponsored and attended:

  • We have had two prayer vigils at the South Heritage Square site where we are advocating for this site to house 69 homeless seniors. see:


and http://laquaker.blogspot.com/2018/06/house-pasadenas-homeless-seniors.html

  • Partnered with the Pasadena Tenant’s Union to help collect the 12,800 signatures needed to get  rent Control on the 2018 Pasadena ballot. We  obtained 10,224 signatures and plan to try again for 2019.
  • Cosponsored a bus tour of best practices for ending homelessness in 2017 where 54 pastor and community leaders participated.
  • Sponsored a Candidates Forum and cosponsored a second Candidates forum on January 31, 2014
  • Event to vet Housing Element properties selected for potential sites for affordable housing
  • City General Plan planning processes
  • We partnered with AARP in the phone calling campaign regarding prop. 99-98

 Members of our team were/are represented on the following:

  • Housing Affordability Task force
  • Condo Conversion task force
  • ULI’s Agenda for Action
  • The land use element meetings
  • AARP Statewide committees
  • Housing Summit
  • Housing Luncheons
  • The League of Women’s Voters
  • ACLU
  • Housing California
  • SCANPH (Southern CA Assoc of Nonprofit Housing Developers)
  • Housing Rights Conferences
  • Christian Community Development Association
  • We debated in support of a Housing Commission


  • We played a significant role in crafting and passing the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance in 2001 which has produced over 533 affordable units, with no cost to the city (actually helping to fund Pasadena’s affordable Housing Trust Fund with over $20 million)
  • Advocated for and succeeded to create a Housing Department separate from Planning Department.
  • Advocated for an increase in the in lieu fee and it was raised from 75% of the affordability gap to 100%.
  • As a result of our input Westgate made 97 of their proposed 800 units affordable for very low income.
  • We exposed the injustice around the Pasadena Manor obtaining front page headlines and helped them get representation so that the 157 residents evicted wrongfully, were able to obtain relocation costs.
  • We wrote a 21 page detailed analysis of the City’s Housing Element Draft which ultimately lead us to contact HCD (the state housing dept) resulting in the Draft not being accepted without the city including more deadlines and accountably. Those deadlines now give us the leverage to hold the city accountable to meet them.
  • For the past 20 years, we have consistently met with City Council persons and Planning Commissioners and developers, raising key questions about housing policies in the city.
  • We have also met with many residential developers, challenging them to include the 15% of affordable housing units at the lower income levels. With the 550 units proposed in east Pasadena, we recently won the approval of all the City Council for that developer to include the 15% affordable.
  • Economic Development and Technology Committee was the only place where affordable housing was discussed within the structures of the city. So in the process of seeking to have a Housing Commission for Pasadena, we have succeeded in getting Planning Commission to focus on affordable housing twice a year with an eye toward the implementation of the Housing Element, and additionally two workshops a year to be held by the Housing Department. We now have the Mayor and half of the City Council in support of a Housing Commission, with a goal to have the full support soon.
  • We have won a stronger Tenant Protection Ordinance, cleaning up a loop hole that allowed landlords not to pay relocation fees if they put their tenants on month to month.
  • In 2016 we stopped a proposed anti-camping ordinance which was to criminalize homelessness in Old Pasadena and other business districts. We conducted a survey of businesses in the Play House district and Old Pasadena about their attitudes toward homelessness.
  • We succeeded in lowering the property size requirement Accessory Dwelling Units (Granny Flats) from 15,000 s.f. to 7,200 s.f and succeeded in lowering the impact fees for an ADU from $20,000 to $957 if the homeowner agrees to: 1) an affordable housing covenant 2) to rent to Section 8 tenant 3) or to a family member
  • We have been quoted in the Local STARNEWS and Pasadena Weekly, in addition to articles that have been published














Rent Control in California: Seven Myths and Seven Solutions for Protecting Tenants. Churches in Pasadena favoring rent control

8 May

My husband Anthony and I have been involved with the Pasadena Tenants’ Union‘s efforts to stabilize rents in our City, where skyrocketing rents and rent-gouging have caused displacement and exacerbated our homelessness crisis. The recent homeless count showed that 50% of Pasadenans were forced into homelessness due to high rents. The Pasadena School Board recently voted to support rent control, in part because teachers and staff cannot afford to live in this City. And over fifteen churches  have allowed us to gather signatures from their congregants (see list below).

For the past few weeks, we have been canvassing neighborhoods in Northwest Pasadena, where we have gotten to know our neighbors and their stories.  For the most part, residents enthusiastically support rent control, and for good reason. We’ve seen tenants living in squalor, fearful of asking for needed repairs, lest the landlords raise their rent or evict them. We heard stories of landlords raising rents $500 or even $1000 per month, driving out tenants. We’ve also met compassionate and honest landlords who care about their tenants and treat them fairly. Many of these good landlords have signed our petition. And we have found overwhelming support for rent control in the African American community, since over 24% of this population have been forced to leave the City in the last ten years because of gentrification and rising rents

Despite the obvious need for rent control, there are many myths about it, which this excellent article by Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi dispels.

Rent control can help solve California’s housing affordability and homelessness crisis by decreasing displacement and protecting the rights and dignity of working families, the elderly, and long-term tenants. To demystify rent control in California, here are seven rent control myths followed by seven anti-poverty tenant protection ordinances cities can implement. 

By Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi / UrbDeZine

Articles and studies from newspapers to academic journals warn the public against the havoc and devastation caused by rent control ordinances. However, it is not tenants and community-based organizations that are funding these articles and studies, it is real estate investors, developers, and corporate apartment owner associations. For decades, tenants and community-based organizations across California have worked tirelessly to enact rent control ordinances to decrease displacement and protect the rights and dignity of working families, the elderly, and long-term tenants. Tenant advocates continue to direct their limited resources to local initiatives and ballot measures, not to fund studies, articles, and lawsuits.

Myth 1: Rent control is illegal.

Fact: Rent control is legal and an effective tool to address housing affordability.

California state law does not prohibit the enactment of new rent control ordinances.  Since 1976, California courts have upheld rent control ordinances. When a rent control ordinance is challenged, courts analyze the ordinance to determine if it is “reasonably calculated to eliminate excessive rents and at the same time provide landlords with a just and reasonable return on their property.”

Since 2016, rent control ordinances have been successfully enacted in Richmond and Mountain View, and rent control campaigns are underway in Long Beach, Glendale, Santa Cruz, Pasadena, San Diego, Inglewood, Sacramento, Santa Rosa, and Concord.

Despite the clear legal standard, investors, real estate developers, and corporate apartment owner associations file lawsuits each year challenging the constitutionality of rent control ordinances. In 2016 and 2017, the California Apartment Association filed challenges to new rent control ordinances in Richmond and Mountain View. In an attempt to avoid a decrease in profits, property owners sought a restraining order to prevent the new Richmond ordinance from going into effect. The court denied the restraining order, holding that the harm the corporate apartment owners associations alleged – possible lost profits – was not sufficient. The California Apartment Association dismissed its remaining case against Richmond’s rent control ordinance. Both lawsuits were unsuccessful. Tenants in both cities are benefiting from rent control ordinances while corporate apartment owners and their investors continue to receive a fair return on investment.

Tenants and community-based organizations across California are effectively utilizing rent control against increasing housing instability caused by the lack of affordable housing and the loss of redevelopment agencies and to prevent tenant displacement posed by new commercial and corporate development in cities likeInglewood.

 Myth 2: Rent control decreases the housing stock by disincentivizing new housing construction.

 Fact: Rent control has no impact on new construction because it does not apply to new construction.

State law prohibits rent control ordinances from applying to new housing units and requires rent control ordinances include vacancy decontrol. Rent control does not disincentivize new housing construction because new construction is not covered by rent control. Arguments against rent control on grounds that it disincentivizes building are legally inaccurate, misleading, and meritless. Nevertheless, real estate investors, developers, and corporate apartment owner associations continue to propagate this argument. The enactment and enforcement of rent control ordinances have no impact on development. In fact, the law banning vacancy control and rent control from applying to new construction, the 1995 Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, was a political compromise reached by the wealthy developers and investors who continue to propagate the myth that rent control has a chilling effect on new development.

While rent control does not have a chilling effect on new construction, it does have a chilling effect on the ability of real estate investors, developers, and corporate apartment owner associations to gouge hard-working families, the elderly, and others who rely on the rental market. Rent control allows corporate apartment owners and their investors to receive a fair return on investment, not a windfall in profits.

In cities that enacted rent control in the 1970s and 1980s, units constructed over the last thirty to forty years have been exempt from rent control, and cities with more recently enacted rent control ordinances exempt units constructed in the last 20 years:

  • Los Angeles exempted from rent control are structures built after 1978 (L.A.M.C. Section 151.28)
  • San Francisco exempts structures built after 1979 (S.F. Administrative Code Ch. 37A)
  • Berkeley exempts units built after 1980 (B.M.C. Section 13.76.050)
  • Richmond exempts units constructed after 1995 (R.M.C. Section 11.100.070)
  • Mountain View exempts units constructed after 1995 (C.S.F.R.A. Section 1720)
  • East Palo Alto exempts units constructed after 1988 (E.P.A. Mun. Code Ch. 14.04)
  • Oakland exempts units constructed after 1983 (O.M.C. Section 8.22.070)

Myth 3: Rent control causes the rental stock to decrease because rent control units will be converted to condominiums.

Fact: Ordinances restricting condominium conversions protect the stock of rental units under rent control.

The loss of all rental units through condominium conversions is not the inevitable, impending consequence of rent control, despite the argument put forth by real estate investors, developers, and corporate apartment owner associations.

Cities have the power to enact ordinances restricting condominium conversions. Limiting condominium conversions effectively prevents the removal of rental units under rent control from the rental market. Cities across the State of California have enacted and enforced condominium conversion ordinances to maintain a stock of rental units. These ordinances effectively recognize the need of century-old apartment complex owners to sell units when the cost of maintaining or upgrading an entire apartment complex becomes unsustainable while protecting the rental housing stock.

Note that there is no standard definition of a condominium conversion. Despite the common use of the phrase, converting a rental unit to a condominium is not a simple, overnight process that has the power to decimate the rental housing stock the moment a rent control ordinance is enacted. Instead, to convert a multi-unit rental complex into individually owned condominiums, a complex legal process must be followed. In addition to abiding by local ordinances, the process requires, at a minimum, providing tenants with notice of certain protections including the right to purchase, obtaining state approval to market residential units, a recording of a declaration of conditions, covenants, and restrictions, a recording of the subdivision or parcel map for purposes of creating a condominium, a recording of the condominium plan, and the conveyance of the unit.

Myth 4: Rent control hurts tenants.

Fact: Rent control helps tenants. Rent control studies are funded by real estate developments, investors, and corporate apartment owner associations, and their own data supports the effectiveness of rent control.

A recent rent control study released in October 2017 found that rent control in San Francisco caused a $2.1 billion net benefit to tenants with tenants aged 40-65 benefitting most from rent control. The study which is a Working Paper of the NBER Real Estate Institute, incorporated in 1920 with $116 million in assets and 2017 corporate sponsors AIG, ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, Vanguard, and JP Morgan Chase, concluded that rent control destroys rental housing stock and causes gentrification. Another study, prepared for the California Apartment Association, concluded that rent control laws make low-income residents worse off and argue for a free market approach to addressing the growing housing affordability crisis.

The NBER study focused on San Francisco’s limited rent control ordinance which is applicable to apartment units constructed before 1980. In its analysis, the authors found that as of 2017, more of the half-century-old units under rent control had been converted to condominiums than the newly constructed units not under rent control, resulting in a $5 billion loss to the rental housing market. However, not only were all of the units under rent control built more than a half-century ago, each unit was part of an apartment complex, adding to the cost of maintenance and upgrades, and increasing the likelihood of condominium conversion. If the age of the buildings under rent control were accounted for in the context of conversions, the tenant gain would be greater than $7.1 billion, creating a net gain to tenants of more than $2.1 billion.

Building upon this finding, the authors conclude that the characteristic of rent control, rather than the characteristic of building age or the need for a stronger condominium conversion ordinance, was the factor that caused the condominium conversions. Since condominium conversions can lead to displacement and gentrification, the authors took their findings a step further and declared that rent control was the cause of gentrification in San Francisco. However, the lack of affordable units is the factor at play in displacement, not local rent control ordinances. Without rent control, low-income, long-term tenants would have been displaced sooner and in greater numbers.

For the rest of this article see https://sandiegofreepress.org/2018/03/rent-control-in-california-seven-myths-and-seven-solutions-for-protecting-tenants/


Here’s a list of the all the churches that so far have had tables to receive signatures after church-I thank God for these open doors. Let pay that the Catholic Churches will also see the value and open their doors.

  • New Revelation
  • Scott United Methodist
  • First United Methodist
  • First Presbyterian
  • Refuge Christian Center
  • Lincoln Ave Christian Church
  • Pasadena Church
  • Metropolitan Baptist Church
  • Bethel New Life
  • Bethel Church
  • Bethleham Church of God
  • Zion AME
  • Frist AME
  • Zion Star
  • New Macedonia Missionary Baptist
  • Morning Star Baptist


To God be the glory!! Jill


Housing Justice Institute next Sat, April 7th in Monrovia, join us!

31 Mar



Monrovia Housing Justice Institute

by Mountainside Communion



REGISTER by following the above link

Event Information


Making Affordable Housing Happen in Monrovia: One Day Housing Justice Institute

Led by Dr. Jill Shook, Founder of the Housing Justice Institute,Author of Making Housing Happen: Faith Based Affordable HomesProfessor at Azusa Pacific and National Housing Advocate

Who is this for? Pastors and religious leaders, affordable housing advocates and developers, property owners, landlords, city officials, neighborhood leaders, and people ready to learn and collaborate.

This is a FREE event. Lunch will be provided.


Our Story, God’s Story, and the City’s Story

TOPICS INCLUDE: Our own housing stories; biblical foundation for stewardship of the land, affordable housing models, ownership; the larger US Story: the unjust housing game; Monrovia’s housing story and strategic steps for loving our city: best practices to end homelessness, and faith based advocacy.


Dr. Jill Shook, Rudy Salinas from Housing Works, Julie Mungai from National Community Renaissance, Pastor Dan Davidson of Rose City Church and Rosebud Coffee Social Enterprise, City of Monrovia, Marv’s Place in Pasadena, Family Promise and more.

EVENT SPONSORS: Mountainside Communion, Interior Services, Fellowship Monrovia, Foothill Unity Center, Life Church, Foothills Kitchen, Volunteer Center of the San Gabriel Valley.

Housing Justice Institute



Do grannies really get a chance for a better roof over there heads in Pasadena?

29 Jan

Larry Wilson, editor of our local STAR NEWs wrote on Dec. 20, 2017, “Will this granny flat business not ever go away?

No, it will not, or at least not until we get granny — or those Art Center and Caltech students you know in need of a place to stay, that brother-in-law with health issues, along with all the other single people you know in need of cheaper housing in this crazy-expensive market — into her flat.

This past January, the state Legislature’s Senate Bill 1069 went into effect, easing regulations on what are also called accessory dwelling units, or ADUs: Secondary units built on the same lot as a single-family home, including legally converted garages, guest houses, or, yes, smaller units with their own kitchens within an existing home.

The state law eases some regulations on granny flats by removing onerous parking restrictions, adjusting fire-sprinkler requirements, not adding new water and sewage fees and increasing the maximum allowed size of a granny flat.

But when it comes to housing and other planning laws, California cities are deservedly famous for simply ignoring what Sacramento says”….

… read on to find out how Pasadena voted on Dec 11th …./Grannies get a chance for a better roof over their heads

Margaret-McAustin-District-2In this article you will see how God is answering our prayers.  I thank God for City Council member Margaret McAustin’s change of heart on Granny flats…or ADUs–Accessory Dwelling Units as they are now called. It is my prayer that others will follow her good example.  Margaret supported permanent supportive housing for the homeless in her district–now this great support for ADUs!

Bill Huang, our housing director, would like to start a pilot program with low cost loans for ADUs in exchange for  Section 8–but this won’t work with the high fees that we have, between $25,00 and $31,00 for an 600 sf unit! These are only the fees–no construction costs!  With 1.5 million housing units short in CA–we can do better than this to incentivize the private market to help meet this urgent need. Please pray with us as we research, meet with other council members and more. The vote on our fees should be Feb. 26. Stay posted, more to come on ADUs. Jill



Are you a friend of Granny–Granny Flats? if so, join us Monday, Dec 11, 7pm.

6 Dec

City Council granny flat flyer december 12-2017

Are you a friend of Granny--Flats, come Dec. 11-2017 7pm0001

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