An African American Perspective on the Housing Crisis, and White House Efforts to Address it

8 Jul

Jill and I live in a neighborhood that was once predominantly African American and now has become gentrified, with Latinos and whites replacing many of the long-term African American residents. Approximately one quarter of African American residents have left our city in the past 15 years, largely because of soaring housing prices. We know only too well how hard it is for African Americans to purchase and keep a home. That’s why we are sharing this article written by Charlene Crowell and published in the July 4th issue of the  Pasadena Journal, a locally owned and operated African American newspaper. It presents a perspective worth keeping in mind: our nation’s housing crisis has had a much more severe impact on the African American community than on whites because of policies that are either racially biased or don’t take into account the historical legacy of racism in our country. As people of faith, we are called to treat all people without “partiality” and to make sure that everyone is treated fairly, regardless of skin color, socio-economic background, or ethnicity (see Galatian 3:28 and James 2:1).

A Harvard report finds that only 36% of all consumers could afford to buy their own home in 2018. With higher priced homes in 2019, the affordability challenge worsens.

“It is equally noteworthy that once again this key report shares how consumers of color continue to face challenges in becoming homeowners, noted Nikitra Bailey, an EVP with the Center for Responsible Lending. “According to the report, only 43% of Blacks and 47% of Latinos own their own home, while white homeownership remains at 73%.

“This 30% disparity deserves further examination and proportional remedies,” continued Bailey. “Greater access to safe and affordable credit, better fair housing enforcement, preservation of anti-discrimination laws – including disparate impact – can play a role in eliminating homeownership gaps. Further, as the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are publicly debated, a renewed commitment to serve all creditworthy borrowers must be embraced.”

Calvin Schermerhorn, a professor of history in Arizona State University’s School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and author of The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860, holds similar views to those expressed by Bailey. In a recent Washington Post op ed column, Schermerhorn addressed the historic disparities that Black America continues to suffer.

“One-fifth of African American families have a net worth of $0 or below; 75 % have less than $10,000 for retirement,” wrote Schermerhorn. “The enduring barriers to black economic equality are structural rather than individual…. “Escalators into the middle class have slowed and stalled, and the rung of the economic ladder one starts on is most likely where one will end up.”

On the same day as the Harvard report’s release, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that establishes a new advisory body that will be led by HUD Secretary Ben Carson. A total of eight federal agencies will work with state and local government officials to remove “burdensome governmental regulations” affecting affordable housing.“Increasing the supply of housing by removing overly burdensome rules and regulations will reduce housing costs, boost economic growth, and provide more Americans with opportunities for economic mobility,” stated Secretary Carson.

If Secretary Carson means that local zoning rules favor single family homes over multi-family developments is a fundamental public policy flaw, he may be on to something. However, this focus misses the crux of the affordable housing crisis: Wages are not rising in line with increasing housing costs. And now, after the housing industry continues to cater to more affluent consumers, while many older adults choose to age in place, the market has very little to offer those who want their own American Dream, including some who are anxiously awaiting the chance to form their own households.

Builders have historically, not just of late, complained about the time it takes to secure permits or the series of inspections that must be approved during construction and before properties can be listed for sale. What is missing from this new initiative is a solution to the financial challenges that average people face.

It was scant regulation and regulatory voids that enabled risky mortgage products with questionable terms that took our national economy to the brink of financial collapse with worldwide effects. Taxpayer dollars to rescue financiers while many unnecessary foreclosures stripped away home equity and wealth from working families.

Time will tell whether new advisors and proposals remember the lessons from the Great Recession.

California just added baby teeth to its housing laws

8 Jul

“They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.”–Isaiah 65:21

Jill worked very hard to help the city of Pasadena to craft one of the best Housing Elements in the state. The HE sets guidelines so that cities can meet their housing goals for different income levels, based on the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). Currently cities are required to plan to meet these goals (through zoning and other means); they aren’t required to actually meet them. And if they don’t plan for these goals, there are few consequences. The Governor’s latest bill provides some teeth-the LA Times calls them “baby teeth”–to enforce these laws. This is a baby step in the right direction. We need laws that will encourage people to “build houses and inhabit them” rather than prevent housing from being built in order to preserve the “character” of a city.

In January, not even a week into his new job, Gov. Gavin Newsom made a big, bold threat to cities that have stalled or shirked their responsibility to build enough housing to meet their community’s needs.

Don’t build housing? You won’t get state transportation dollars, the governor warned.

Six months later, Newsom is settling for a more incremental, but still necessary, change. The Legislature is expected to sign off this week on a bill that would allow a judge to impose steep fines — up to $600,000 a month — on cities that willfully flout the state’s “fair share” housing law, which requires that jurisdictions plan and zone for enough market-rate and affordable housing to meet population growth.

Note one big difference: Newsom originally wanted to hold cities responsible for actually producing enough housing to meet state goals. The compromise with the Legislature merely requires them to plan for enough housing.

Let California’s homeless community college students park overnight in school lots

8 Jul

“My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”–Isaiah 3:18

Jill and I have been concerned for some time about the problem of homelessness facing nearly 20% of community college students. We’ve seen and talked to homeless community college students who were hanging out in our neighborhood. We know a dean at PCC who is doing what she can to address this problem. Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions, apart from more affordable housing. So it’s heartening to hear that a bill is being considered by the state legislature that would allow community college students to sleep in their cars overnight in school parking lots. This isn’t an ideal solution but it’s a step in the right direction. We’d like to see a caseworker assigned to students facing homelessness who could help them to be housed.

Homelessness has come to California’s public colleges, just as it has to every other institution in the state. In the community college system, a recent report found that 19% of nearly 40,000 students surveyed had been homeless at some point during the previous year. Some community college campuses have food banks, and all are required by law to make showers in their athletic facilities available to homeless students. But few of the 114 community college campuses offer housing to any of their 2.1 million students, let alone homeless ones.

So Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto) has come up with a creative idea: Why not let homeless students who live in their cars park overnight on campus? Although that’s not a solution for homelessness, it would offer a short-term fix for homeless students with cars who are already working on a long-term answer — getting a college degree to broaden their options and increase their earning power.

10 policies that can help solve our nation’s housing crisis

5 Jul

I gave a  PowerPoint presentation on Housing Justice  at the Friday Forum of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) and was very grateful for the positive response. A Methodist pastor approached me and wants to learn more, and asked how the Methodist Church can become more involved.  I told him that  Jill is an excellent teacher and is willing to give workshops and lead housing justice institutes. Jill has helped me  as well as many others to understand the spiritual and religious dimensions of our housing crisis, and what policies work and will make a difference. I’m glad that Jill and I are partners in “Making Housing and Community Happen.” While Jill focuses mainly on Christian churches, I have connections in the interfaith community. To solve our housing crisis, we believe that people of diverse faiths need to work together. 

You can see my PowerPoint at: Housing Justice: Decent and Affordable Housing for All is Possible, Si, Se Puede!


Part of my talk was live streamed. You can see it at: Video of my ICUJP Presentation on Housing Justice

Here are 10 policies that can help end our nation’s housing crisis:

  • Increase government funding of affordable housing.. Elizabeth Warren has called for $500 billion to be spent on affordable housing for the next ten years—a huge sum until you realize that was the amount that Trump increased the military budget, and few said, “We can’t afford it.”[1] Such an investment in housing and jobs is not impossible. When Congress passed the Housing Act of 1968, it committed the nation to the goal of producing 2.6 million units of housing a year, including 600,000 annually for low-income families. As a result, in the early 1970s we were close to meeting the need for affordable housing, but since then HUD and other programs for housing have been cut every year, even though the need has increased.
  • Make housing a right, like the right to medical care and food, and provide vouchers to everyone who can’t afford market rate rent. This policy was recommended by Mathew Desmond, author of Pulitzer-Prize winner book Evicted; it needs to be combined with the building of more affordable housing with government support.[2]
  • Require that cities increase density and allow duplexes, four-plexes and accessory dwelling units in all residential areas. Many major cities, including LA, make it illegal to build multifamily residences on 75% or more of city land.[3] This is a major reason that housing costs have soared. The Oregon legislature is considering a law that would end zoning exclusively for single-family homes in most of the state. California lawmakers have drafted a bill that would effectively do the same. In December, the Minneapolis City Council voted to end single-family zoning citywide.
  • Require that permanent supportive housing be built by right and allow motels to be converted to homeless housing. Such laws are being enacted at the local and state level. They need to be passed statewide and enforced.[4]
  • Pass inclusionary housing ordinances that require a percentage of units be set aside as affordable. This policy has created or preserved over 1000 affordable units in Pasadena. Nationally, inclusionary housing policies have generated between 129,000 and 150,000 units, mostly in California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey In California, between 1999-2007, inclusionary housing programs generated 29,281 affordable units, just 2% of total units authorized for construction in the state during that time.[5]
  • Pass a “homeless bill of rights” that prevent homeless people from being driven out of cities through punitive ordinances and laws. Rhode Island has such a law and the California state legislature considered but didn’t approve one.[6]
  • Allow rent control and tenant protection.
  • Provide free legal aid to tenants facing eviction.
  • Adequate relocation compensation for those who face eviction without just cause.
  • Eliminate mortgage interest deductions on second homes and homes worth more than $1 million and channel that money to affordable housing. This tax break benefits the rich and doesn’t encourage home ownership. That’s why most affordable housing groups who had called for reform, like the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, propose that the savings from reforming the mortgage-interest deduction be invested back into housing for low and moderate-income people.







To find out how you can influence national housing  policy, check out:

National Low Income Housing Coalition 

National Fair Housing Alliance 

At the California state level, check out:

Low Income Housing Coalition of California

California Housing Partnership 

California Housing Consortium 


Rent Control Could Be Back on the Ballot

27 Jun

rent in too damn high


Jill and I were active during the recent rent control campaign here in Pasadena because we feel it is good policy that is consistent with Christian ethics: “good news for the poor.” We see how greedy landlords have been gouging tenants with rent increases as high as $500 or more a month, and it’s perfectly legal to do so. Speculators are buying up apartment buildings,  jacking up rents, and driving out low-income residents. And it’s perfectly legal. Our City Council opposes rent control, but the majority of voters in our city support it. That’s not surprising since most Pasadena residents are renters. The Pasadena Tenants’ Union plans to have another ballot initiative on rent control in Pasadena, and GPAHG will be supporting this campaign. To learn more and get involved with the Pasadena Tenants Union, see

Here’s an article from today’s LA TIMES describing the latest rent control initiative:

Proponents and opponents of rent control are prepping for another California ballot fight next year after the sponsor of a failed 2018 initiative was cleared to begin collecting signatures for a second try.

The new initiative, backed by the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, would similarly allow cities and counties to implement stricter rent control policies than currently allowed under state law. Michael Weinstein, the foundation’s president, said continuing increases in rents are leading to California’s recent surge in its homeless population and hurting millions of struggling tenants.

The prospect of another rent control battle comes less than eight months after voters soundly rejected a previous measure on the ballot. Nearly 60% opposed Proposition 10, which would have repealed the state’s current limitations on rent control. The campaign topped $100 million with landlord groups out-raising the foundation and tenant groups more than 3 to 1.

Rent Control could be back on the ballot

Democratic candidates speak out about our nation’s housing crisis

24 Jun

 While Jill and I try to be nonpartisan in our housing justice advocacy, we feel it’s important to let people know where our elected officials stand when it comes to affordable housing. For this reason, we will share with you what the candidates are proposing. First, it is worth noting that Trump is proposing drastic cuts to affordable housing. See Trump Proposes Cuts to Affordable Housing.  As people of faith, we believe that our current housing crisis calls for more funding for affordable and homeless housing. As Jesus said,  “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21). Here is where some of the Democratic candidates stand:

  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren calls for a $500 billion federal investment over the next 10 years in new affordable housing. She says her plan would create 3 million new units and lower rents by 10%. Warren would also give grants to first-time homebuyers who live in areas where black families were once excluded from getting home loans. “Everybody who lives or lived in a formerly red-lined district can get some housing assistance now to be able to buy a home,” Warren told attendees at the She the People Presidential Forum in Houston this spring.

  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker would provide financial incentives to encourage local governments to get rid of zoning laws that limit the construction of affordable housing. He would also provide a renters’ tax credit, legal assistance for tenants facing eviction and protect against housing discrimination, something he’s made part of his personal appeal. “When I was a baby, my parents tried to move us into a neighborhood with great public schools, but realtors wouldn’t sell us a home because of the color of our skin,” Booker recounts in an online campaign video.

  • Sen. Kamala Harris has also introduced a plan for a renters’ tax credit of up to $6,000 for families making $100,000 or less.

  • New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has signed on to both the Harris and Warren plans, which have been introduced as legislation.

See Democratic Candidates on affordable housing

Blind to the Housing Crisis

22 Jun

When Jesus proclaimed his mission, he said that he had come to “preach good news to the poor” and “sight to the blind” ( Luke 4:18). As this LA Times editorial makes clear, in order to address our state’s housing crisis, cities need to zone for enough housing to meet the needs of all its residents, not just high end and single-family residents. Unfortunately, the California Assn. of Governments seems to be blind to this crisis. We need to help our elected officials see the dire effects of unaffordable housing and increasing homelessness, so that cities can do something about this growing crisis. –Anthony

Southern California is mired in a housing affordability and homelessness crisis that is undermining the region’s quality of life and threatening its economic prosperity. But local elected leaders apparently haven’t gotten the memo or simply don’t care.

How else to explain a recent vote by the board of the Southern California Assn. of Governments, which is composed of city and county elected officials from across the region, that vastly underestimates the number of homes needed to ease the existing shortage and to house the next generation of Californians.


“Investors” are buying homes, jacking up prices

22 Jun

“Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field,  until no place is left and you live alone in the land.” Isaiah 5:8.

 The prophet Isaiah makes it clear that God is not pleased with the rich who speculate in land and leave the poor landless and homeless. Yet this is what is happening in America today. “Investors” are grabbing homes and making it increasingly difficult for home buyers to find an affordable home. Another example of how the “free market” is exacerbating our nation’s housing crisis. Has the time come for the government to start building affordable homes, as it did in the 1970s? What would Jesus and the prophets call on us to do? –Anthony

A confluence of factors — rising construction costs, restrictive zoning rules and shifting consumer preferences, among others — has already led to a scarcity of affordably priced housing in many big cities. Investors, fueled by Wall Street capital, are snapping up much of what remains.

“If it weren’t bad enough out there for first-time home buyers, the additional competition from investors is increasingly pushing starter homes out of the reach of many households,” said Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, a provider of real estate data.

Cities Start to Question an American Ideal: A House With a Yard on Every Lot

22 Jun

I have felt led to post articles on affordable housing which are appearing with increasing regularity since our nation is undergoing a housing crisis. This article by

Single-family zoning is practically gospel in America, embraced by homeowners and local governments to protect neighborhoods of tidy houses from denser development nearby.

But a number of officials across the country are starting to make seemingly heretical moves. The Oregon legislature this month will consider a law that would end zoning exclusively for single-family homes in most of the state. California lawmakers have drafted a bill that would effectively do the same. In December, the Minneapolis City Council voted to end single-family zoning citywide. The Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Julián Castro have taken up the cause, too.

A reckoning with single-family zoning is necessary, they say, amid mounting crises over housing affordability, racial inequality and climate change. But take these laws away, many homeowners fear, and their property values and quality of life will suffer. The changes, opponents in Minneapolis have warned, amount to nothing less than an effort to “bulldoze” their neighborhoods.

Today the effect of single-family zoning is far-reaching: It is illegal on 75 percent of the residential land in many American cities to build anything other than a detached single-family home.



3 May

Homeless Resources

Resources for Renters 

Homeownership Resources

Food Resources-Community Meals

Recovery Resources


Homeless Resources

  • Info Line for those experiencing homelessness: 211

Foothill Unity Center

Contact Phone: Pasadena – 626-584-7420 Monrovia – 626-358-3486


About:  The Foothill Unity Center assists clients in three key ways: food, case management/crisis help, and access to health care resources. All services are free. To be eligible, clients must only live within the Center’s eleven-city service area and have an income at or below 150% of the national poverty level.

The Women’s Room at Friends In Deed- The Women’s Room is a daytime refuge for women who are alone and homeless or at risk. The Women’s Room offers showers and laundry facilities, a quiet place to nap, two computers and a telephone and other resources and activities. Currently the Women’s Room is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Friday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (For showers & laundry only. No upstairs services).  Volunteers are welcome. For more information, contact Marlene Martinez at

The Pasadena Public Health Department

Contact Name: Angelica Palmeros, MSW (Division Manager)

Contact Phone: (626) 744-6158

Contact Email:

About: The Pasadena Public Health Department has, or is in the process of developing, the following programs for those experiencing homelessness in Pasadena:

Care Navigator (Library Project) – open to all individuals experiencing homelessness, health issues, mental health and substance use. Provides intensive case management and linkage to care through the care navigator, stationed at Pasadena Central Library. Care Navigator conducts field visits at other libraries as needed.

HRSA Operation Link v2.0 – improving HIV Health Outcomes through the Coordination of Supportive Employment and Housing Services funded from 2017-

 Project Wraparound Services, located at the Jackie Robinson Center is a field based program that will conduct outreach and engagement to Transition Age Youth (TAY ages16-25) and TAY peer support groups to outreach and engage TAY who are at risk of or experiencing trauma as a result of homelessness. Will provide case management, mental health, and other supportive services. Staffing will include case managers, social workers and outreach worker.

2020.Healthy Aging and Wellness Services, located at the Jackie Robinson Center and Heritage Clinic. The program will use the Geriatrics Empowerment Model (GEM) designed to outreach, engage and house homeless older adults (55+). Staffing includes social workers, mental health clinician, housing case manager and registered nurse.

Establishing and developing a partnership with City Attorney/City Prosecutor Department, Criminal Prosecution Division to develop the implementation a judiciary system that incorporates supportive services to establish a Homeless Court Pilot Project, to support homeless residents in their efforts to make the difficult transition off the streets into the community by providing a wrap-around supportive services model.

For more info: Angelica Palmeros, MSW

Division Manager

(626) 744-6158

Social & Mental Health Division

(626) 744-6339

Hill Sides provides high quality care, advocacy, and innovative services that promote safe, permanent environments where young people can thrive. Hillsides consists of four core programs: Family Resource Centers, Residential Treatment Services, Hillsides Education Center (HEC), and Youth Moving On (YMO). Mental Health Only

 Beds for Homeless Families

  • Union Station: 626-240-4550

The 56-bed Adult Center provides homeless men and women with a safe, substance-free shelter, meals and supportive services. The Adult Center is also home to our Community Meals and Shower programs. Intake into the center is done on person Mon-Fri 7:30 am to 1:30 pm. Limited to 2 intakes daily and is based on 1st come 1st serve method. The Adult Center provides shelter, with separate dorms for men and women, meals, case management and referrals, medical and mental health services, substance abuse recovery support, employment search assistance through Sources Career Development Program, benefits advocacy, and classes in money management, self-esteem and life skills, and housing resources. Non-emergency shelter

Elizabeth House provides shelter, hope & support to homeless pregnant women and their children, as well as comprehensive program of case management, counseling, educational classes, prenatal care, and resources throughout the pregnancy and beyond. Elizabeth House is the only 501©(3) non-profit organization in the San Gabriel Valley that specifically addresses the needs of pregnant women who also have small children and who lack adequate shelter and prenatal care. All clients must be pregnant women, ages 18 and older that may or may not have children.

  • Haven House Crisis Line: 323-681-2626

Haven House is dedicated to helping abused women and their children on their way toward a life free of violence. A trained bilingual staff operates a confidential 24 hour hotline to provide crisis intervention, information, and referrals. Counselors are available 365 days a year. Operated in a confidential location of Los Angeles County, our residential program is a 30 day emergency shelter with the ability to accommodate 36 domestic violence victims and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Residents receive food, clothing and medical assistance to address their physical needs. Additionally, individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, domestic violence education, legal and social services advocacy are provided to address their emotional needs.

  • Family Promise SGV*: 626-569-0991

Family Promise of San Gabriel Valley is a nonprofit organization that was incorporated in May 2009 to provide temporary housing and other assistance to homeless families in the region. Family Promise has created a network of congregations across the western San Gabriel Valley that take turns, a week at time, housing and feeding homeless families that are admitted into the program. During the day, the children go to school, while the parents go to the Family Promise Resource Center where they receive assistance finding housing, work and social services they may need.

  • Door of Hope* Follow Prompts*: (626) 304-9130

Door of Hope is a non-profit, faith-based organization whose mission is to equip homeless families to rebuild their lives. Since 1985, they have been providing transitional housing and a restoration program especially designed for homeless families with children.  Door of Hope is one of the few places that will accept the three main family types of all sizes: Single mothers (including victims of domestic violence) with children, single fathers with children, married couples with children. There are two program sites, one in Glendale and one in Pasadena with different requirements.

  • Family Solutions Center. Call 211

The FSC is a point of entry for families who are literally homeless or at risk of being homeless and who are seeking services. The FSC staff conducts an initial assessment to determine the most appropriate housing intervention for the family. Families are then connected to services and housing options within their own community. Services provided: Standardized Assessments & Interventions including Rapid Re-housing and Prevention, Coordinated Supportive Service and Housing Plan, Connection to Crisis Housing, Connection to Community- Based Supportive Services, Housing Search and Placement, Financial Assistance for Rapid Re-Housing. To be eligible one must be, homeless or imminently at-risk of homelessness, a family consisting of one or more minor children in the legal custody of one or two adults, and income at or below 30% Area Median Income. The FSC can only accept referrals from two sources: Crisis housing providers and 211 LA County. Families seeking immediate housing assistance can call 211 LA County in order to get linked to the FSC.

Beds for Homeless Singles

  • Union Station: 626-240-4550

The 56-bed Adult Center provides homeless men and women with a safe, substance-free shelter, meals and supportive services. The Adult Center is also home to our Community Meals and Shower programs. Intake into the center is done on person Mon-Fri 7:30 am to 1:30 pm. Limited to 2 intakes daily and is based on 1st come 1st serve method. The Adult Center provides shelter, with separate dorms for men and women, meals, case management and referrals, medical and mental health services, substance abuse recovery support, employment search assistance through Sources Career Development Program, benefits advocacy, and classes in money management, self-esteem and life skills, and housing resources. Non-emergency shelter

Temporary Shelter available only during bad weather:

  •  Bad Weather Shelter

The Pasadena Bad Weather Shelter is a Friends In Deed program that provides shelter for homeless individuals and families during the winter season. For the 2013-14 season the shelter will be weather activated (40 degrees or below or 40% chance of rain) from the day after Thanksgiving until the 15th of March. The Bad Weather Shelter is located in the gymnasium of the Pasadena Covenant Church, 539 N. Lake, next to the Fire Station, and near the Gold line. The Bad Weather Shelter will not be able to accommodate families for the 2013-14 season. To find out if the shelter is open during the active bad weather season, call the Hotline, 1-888-915-8111. For all other questions, call 626-797-2402.  They do not take in families referred to Family Solutions Via 211

Additional Homeless Beds Resources, Call 211

 Resources for Renters

  • Friends In Deed Homeless Prevention Program*

Contact Name: Marlene

Contact Number: (626) 797-2402

This program provides some limited rental assistance to residents of Pasadena who are at risk of becoming homeless. For information regarding qualifications for this program or for an appointment, call Marlene at (626) 797-2402.

  • Lake Avenue Church

LAC provides crisis intervention and preventative assistance and support for those who are at-risk of eviction or are currently homeless. Our task is to “bridge the gap” for persons who are in a short-term crisis. LAC also works closely with the comprehensive range of resources available in the local community by providing prayer, guidance, mentoring, accountability, and advocacy.

For more information contact John Bowlin at 626.817.4534   Or Amara Ononiou at 626.817.4514

  • City of Pasadena Rental Assistance Program (Section 8)

The City of Pasadena Housing Department (CoPHD) administers the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program, a federally-funded program which assists very low income households obtain affordable, decent, safe, and sanitary housing. The assistance is in the form of a rental certificate or voucher which is issued to an eligible household. For more information on the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program, please call the Housing Department at (626) 744-8300. They also have a list of local affordable housing developments that you can obtain and call.

  • Pasadena Housing Search:com

Pasadena Housing Search is a free resource where people can list and search for rental properties in Pasadena and the rest of Los Angeles County.

Other resources for locating a room, apartment or home to rent or advertising such: Fuller Housing Department; Helping Hands (Lake Ave Church).

Tenants’ Rights Advocates and First Step Resources:

Pasadena Tenants Union advocates for renter rights and tenant protections from displacement caused by gentrification in Pasadena. ​​ PTU believes housing is a human right and renters have an inalienable right to safe, decent, stable and affordable housing.  PTU organizes tenant speakouts at city council, coverage by local media, and direction to additional support for tenants in crisis.  Join the monthly meetings and help advocate for yourself as a renter in Pasadena.

Monthly Meetings: 2nd Thursdays of the month, 7pm-8:30pm, open to all.

Throop Church, 300 S. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena 91101

Resources and Info for Renters:  This link includes a link to your rights as a renter, form letters to your landlord, legal resource links and organizations, and info on your district and city council members. They  have a team of 15 folks trained to help you with tenant Landlord issues.

Local tenant advocacy group for tenants in Glendale.  GTU’s focus is on building a better livelihood for renters, which make up 60% of Glendale residents. Open to all, join GTU, and become an active member.

Meetings: 2nd and 4th Mondays 7pm-9pm   open to all.

Armenian Cultural Foundation/Youth Center (the green building)

211 W Chestnut St, Glendale, CA 91204

Local tenant advocacy group for Los Angeles City. The LA Tenants Union is a diverse, tenant-led movement fighting for the human right to housing for all.  Since LATU covers all neighborhoods in LA City, they are broken into local chapters.  See LATU’s site for meetings and locations.

Resources:  This link provides resources on eviction defense and a LATU handbook.  The information is specifically for tenants in Los Angeles only since LA has more tenant protections than Pasadena, and LA has rent control.

 Tenants’ Rights Resources—including eviction defense

IMPORTANT NOTE: After receiving court documents in an eviction/unlawful detainer case, you must respond within 5 days. Saturday and Sunday count within the 5 days. Please do not allow this deadline to pass—even an attorney won’t be able to help you if this deadline passes!

  • Self-Help Resource Center at Pasadena Court House

This is a legal self-help center inside the courthouse in Pasadena (3rd floor).  The Self-Help Resource Center is where you can find the necessary documents you need to respond to an eviction/unlawful detainer case.  The forms include one where you must explain what happened, and one where you explain you don’t have a lot of money to pay the necessary filing fees for the response.  The workers in the self-help resource center ARE NOT LAWYERS.  They help in preparing the paperwork you need to file with the court.  They do not help you with your case.  When you finish preparing your response paperwork, a resource center worker has an attorney check it to make sure it is correct to file with the court—this attorney cannot help you with your case.  They are just checking that you can submit it with the court.  The center does do a clinic (see below), but you can access forms and form-assistance every day and time they are open (see below).

Self-Help Resource Center: 300 E. Walnut St. (Room 300, 3rd floor) Pasadena, CA 91101

Open Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Fridays 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Eviction/Unlawful Detainer Walk-In Clinic: Monday-Thursday 1:30 p.m.

Other locations in LA County, hours listed here:

The Housing Rights Center provides services including landlord-tenant counseling, housing discrimination investigation, advocacy, outreach, and education. This center conducts the Pasadena Housing Mediation program and oversees the Tenant Protection Ordinance.  The HRC will not represent tenants, this is not a legal service but a place to get information.  HRC does offer walk-in clinics around the LA area, check website for dates and locations.

Pasadena office: Jackie Robinson Center, 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103


Los Angeles Office: 3255 Wiltshire Blvd. Suite 1150, Los Angeles, CA 90010


To find out more information regarding one of the clinics, you must call and leave a message.  In addition to clinics, they hold office hours when possible, but you must call in advance to schedule an appointment.  For qualifying low-income tenants CLA-LA offers free 60-90 minute consultations at their legal clinics with legal teams led by licensed California attorneys.  They provide advice on a wide range of legal issues, including family law, criminal expungements, housing, small claims, immigration, and estate planning.  They also help reviewing paperwork and filling out forms so that you have a Personalized Action Plan with steps to take on your own.

Office: 333 West Florence Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301-1103

NOTE: Legal Clinics are offered at various locations and dates.  Please call 323-319-3559 and leave a message for further information and dates.  You can also see upcoming clinic dates here, but you still must call before attending:

Inquilinos Unidos is dedicated to empowering low-income tenants through community organizing, education and advocacy to fight for safe, decent and affordable housing in Los Angeles.  They offer tenant clinics and referrals for housing issues if they are not able to assist.

1709 W. 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017     213-483-7497

  • Tenant Resource Clinics: Mondays: 4:00pm – 6:30 pm

Walk-in hours every Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. No appointment is necessary.  Donations requested of $25 or more but no one is turned away due to lack of funds.

All clinics are open to the general public.

NLSLA works to preserve affordable housing and rent control, prevent unlawful evictions and foreclosures, and fight discrimination in Section 8 and other government-subsidized housing. Attorneys provide a range of services, from advice and counsel to individual representation and high-impact litigation.


Address: 1102 East Chevy Chase Drive, Glendale, CA 91205 Phone: 1-800-433-6251

Address: 13327 Van Nuys Blvd, Pacoima, CA 91331,              Phone:  818-485-0913

Address: 3629 Santa Anita Avenue, El Monte, CA 91731        Phone: 1-800-433-6251

  • The Eviction Defense Network (EDN)

A network of trial lawyers, advocates and tenants dedicated to defending the right to affordable housing and ensuring access to justice in housing matters to tenants in Los Angeles County. EDN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance and representation to tenants facing eviction.

El Eviction Defense Network, (EDN), La Red de Defensa Contra Desalojos, es una red de abogados, partidarios e inquilinos dedicados a defender el derecho a viviendas económicas y asegurar el acceso de inquilinos a justicia en asuntos relacionados a viviendas  en el Condado de Los Angeles.  EDN es una organización 501 (c) (3) no lucrativa que provee asistencia legal y representación a inquilinos que se enfrentan con el desalojo.)

Downtown Los Angeles office: 1930 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 208, Los Angeles, CA 90057


Free consultations taken on a first come, first-served walk-in basis: Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Basta provides low income households in Los Angeles County access to justice through non-profit eviction defense and housing rights.  In addition to eviction defense and housing rights, Basta also provides low-cost, non-profit immigration attorneys to Los Angeles County individuals and families.

Downtown Los Angeles office:

1545 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA 90017 Phone: 213-736-5050

Offices also located in Long Beach, Lancaster, Van Nuys.

Walk-ins welcome, hours 9:30am-7:00pm

CES is dedicated to organizing low to moderate income people to win social and economic justice.  They assist tenants with living conditions, unjust evictions, and protecting against gentrification.

Office: 514 Shatto Place, Suite 270, Los Angeles, California 90020


Tenants Rights Legal Clinics: Wednesdays 7pm; Saturdays 10am

Clinics conducted at Plummer Park Community Center 7377 Santa Monica Blvd, LA 90046

Arrive on time!  Late arrivals  cannot be guaranteed they will be counseled.  One-On-One Counseling at the clinic where tenants have the opportunity to receive individual counseling and advice from a CES staff of volunteer attorneys and counselors.  There are no income restrictions or other requirements to receive assistance.  Please bring all relevant documents.

Donations are requested for assistance provided.  No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

  • Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

Assists tenants with various housing issues such as eviction defense, slum housing, veteran housing, subsidized housing.  Many languages offered.  Offices also in Long Beach, Santa Monica, and South LA.

General Information,  English/Español 1-800-399-4529

Hours: Mon.-Fri.9 a.m.-12 noon

Office: Ron Olson Justice Center 1550 W. 8th Street, Los Angeles, 90017

East LA Office: 5228 Whittier Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90022

Providing legal assistance to the most vulnerable.

North Hollywood Office: 12821 Victory Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91606


  • Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE)

A grassroots, non-profit group focusing on tenants rights, healthy housing, and equitable development. SAJE’s bi-weekly Tenant Clinic provides free education and assistance for community residents.  SAJE assists residents with questions about their tenant rights, assist in filing habitability complaints, and provide support as they work to resolve disputes with landlords.

Tenant ClinicsTuesdays 4:00pm-7:00pm SAJE office   213-745-9961

152 W.32nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

2nd and 4th Thursdays 10:30am to 12:30pm    Magnolia Place

1910 Magnolia Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

 How to note code violations:

The Pasadena City Citizen Service Center is where to go if you think there are safety or code violations in your rental.  You can submit online:

Or call 626-744-4633

Note to tenants: keep all materials you send to the City and the City sends to you.  Telling your landlord of health and safety issues, even in writing, is not enough in court.  Keep ALL exchanges between you and your landlord also.  You need to prove you contacted either LA County or Pasadena City. 

Homeless Youth

Youth Moving OnHillsides: (323) 254-2274  Hillsides has a youth drop in center at 456 East Orange Grove Blvd., Suite 140
Pasadena, CA 91104.  (626) 765-6956 Thomas Lee is the Division Director of Transition-Aged Youth Services. They provide housing and many services to youth, especially emancipated foster youth. Hillsides is a premier provider dedicated to improving the overall well-being and

Homeownership Resources

HUD certified organizations that provide first time home buyers down-payment assistance, foreclosure prevention counseling, financial literacy training and more for the San Gabriel Valley area:

  •  Neighborhood Housing Services of Los Angeles County (NHS): toll-free at 888-895-2NHS or 888-895-2647

Los Angeles County (NHS)   serves as a catalyst for local residents, business and government representatives to work together to build stronger neighborhoods, improve the quality of life for low to moderate income families of modest means and to revitalize communities into neighborhoods of choice. NHS provides programs in Homeownership Promotion and Preservation (Financial Education), Affordable Mortgage Lending, Construction Services and Management, Mission-Driven Real Estate Services, and Neighborhood Revitalization and Advocacy. NHS strengthens communities through the development and maintenance of quality affordable housing, creation and preservation of affordable homeownership opportunities, support of local leaders, providing financial education and increasing the financial independence of families and people in need.

Los Angeles County (NHS) has catapulted from a small local housing agency to the largest, non-profit affordable homeownership provider in Southern California. NHS is part of the NeighborWorks® America national network.  NHS delivers its programs and services through a business-like approach in the following five program areas:

  • Financial Education
  • Affordable Mortgage Lending
  • Construction Services and Management
  • Mission-Driven Real-estate Services
  • Neighborhood Revitalization and Advocacy

NHS L.A. County – 3926 Wilshire Blvd., #200, Los Angeles, CA 90010 – 213-381-2862

Center for Sustainable Communites – 1051 W. Rosecrans Ave., Compton, CA 90222 –


  • Montebello Housing Development Corporation (MHDC): 323-722-3955

The Montebello Housing Development Corporation seeks to assist individuals and families who are of modest financials means to secure affordable housing. To assist to this goal they provide programs such as homebuyer education classes, second mortgage loans programs, homeownership seminars, and foreclosure assistance.

  • HHP- Heritage Housing Partners: 626- 403-HOME(4663)

608 N Fair Oaks Ave #126

Pasadena, Ca 91103

provides affordable homeownership and first time homebuyers orientations

  • FACE-LA/KCCD: Phone: 213-985-1500 Fax: 213-478-0930

3550 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 736

Los Angeles, CA 90010  Email:

Programs offered: API Jobs Initiative, Homeownership, Foreclosure Prevention, Financial Literacy, Mental Health And Homelessness

  • Pasadena Water and Power: 626 744-6970

Pasadena Water and Power provides a number of rebates and incentives to homeowners for energy efficiency, water efficiency. Similar incentives are available to multi-family residential customers.

  •  Under One Roof-Collaborative of LANHS, Water and Power, and Grid Alternatives: 626-744-6970

Designed specifically for low- to moderate-income families, this new partnership provides money-saving programs and low or no interest loans that help Pasadena residents buy, keep, and revitalize their homes.  GRID Alternatives provides low or no cost solar energy systems.

  • Maintenance Assistance and Services to Homeowners (MASH): 626-744-7620

Maintenance Assistance and Services to Homeowners (MASH) consists of men and women in a unique training program who provide numerous services to home owners as well as business owners and city departments.  Services provided by MASH include the following:

  • Emergency/Disaster Response Assistance
  • Mash Plus Program
  • Minor Home Repair such as painting the exterior of homes, replacing broken windows, rodent proofing repair screens, and yard work.
  • Training Opportunities
  • Summer Rose Program


MASH is available free for qualified applicants. Qualification is based on the following criteria: Applicant must be owner/occupant of single family residence (renter occupied or multi-family residences are not eligible), must be residents of the City of Pasadena, must meet the financial criteria imposed by the Federal Government, Housing and Urban Development Department.(HUD)

  • The Pasadena Village: 626-765-6037

The Pasadena Village is an intentional community for seniors who want to remain independent. The Pasadena Village maintains a small office with a director and a diverse group of volunteers. Members of the community share activities and help each other with service requests. Village- approved volunteers and service providers are also available to help members. The Pasadena Village services the city Pasadena and the adjacent communities. Members can be as young as 55. Services such as help moving furniture, referrals to vetted contractors, local transportation, appointment accompaniment, minor home repair/maintenance, brief house-sitting services, are available. Income based organization fees less than 32,000 annually fee is $10.00 monthly 32,000 – 52,000 annually fee is $20 and income above that annually fee is $60.00 monthly

Rebuilding Together is the nation’s largest volunteer organization preserving and revitalizing low-income houses and communities. Rebuilding Together provides critical repairs and renovations for low-income homeowners across the United States. For almost 25 years, Rebuilding Together has provided extensive home rehabilitation and modification services to homeowners in-need.

Other services for homeowners and renters:

  • City of Pasadena Planning and Community Development Department

The Planning and Community Development Department works to maintain the economic vitality and safety of the neighborhood in Pasadena. The divisions included in this department are Building and Safety 626-744-4200, Code Compliance 626-744-4200, Cultural Affairs 626-744-7062, Planning 626-744-4009, and Public Works 626-744-4195.

Food Resources-Community Meals

  • Pasadena Presbyterian Church

Pastor Walter Conteras-

PPC’s “God Loves You” Food Ministry has three different emphases.

PPC provides hot meals to several dozen people each Thursday evening.  This fills a critical need for these people, many of whom are homeless.  Your dollars make this ministry possible.

We provide “take-away sacks” for homeless people who come on Sunday and during the week to the church office.  You may donate money, or any of the following: granola bars, power bars, power drinks, small bottled water, apples, oranges, or canned food with easy-to-open pop-tops.

Members of PPC also serve a meal once a month at Union Station with PPC providing the food.

  • The Pantry at Friends In Deed

The Pantry at Friends In Deed serves supplemental food to 200 low-income and homeless households each week. To contact the pantry directly, call 626-797-6072 or email The only requirements for receiving food are identification for each member of the family and proof of low-income status. The Pantry is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10AM-3PM. Registration is on Wednesdays between 10AM and 12 noon.

  • Food-n-things: 951-768-0840

Food-n-Things welcomes anyone in need or homeless in the Pasadena community to come and receive food, donated clothing, counseling, emergency needs as well as spiritual needs.

Pasadena Community  Christian Fellowship

500 S. Pasadena, Pasadena, CA 91105

  • Food for Faith -Pasadena Church of God*: 626-794-2951

404 E. Washington Blvd,

Pasadena, CA 91104
Meals: Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 6pm

Saturdays in Central Park at 4:00pm

  •  Jackie Robinson Center: 626-744-7300.

1020 North Fair Oaks Ave.

Pasadena, CA 91103

Meals Thursdays 5pm-7pm

  • Villa Park Community Center: 626-744-6530

363 E Villa St.

Pasadena, CA 91101

Meals Thursdays 5pm-7pm

  • All Saints Church: 626-796-1172

132 N. Euclid Ave.

Pasadena CA, 91101

Meals Mondays 9am-11am

  • Grant Park

232 S. Michigan Ave.

Pasadena, CA 91107

Meals Mondays 6:30pm

  • First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena: 626-351-9631

3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd.

Pasadena, CA 91107

Meals Sunday 10am

  • Lake Avenue Church

393 N. Lake Ave

Pasadena, CA 91101

 Every Sunday (except the 1st and 5th)

  • First AME Pasadena also now offers food.

Recovery Resources

  • Walter Hoving Home*: 626-405-0950

The Walter Hoving Home is a residential spiritually-based home. It is a non-profit organization serving women ages 18 and over who have been involved in drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution and other life-controlling problems. The 6 or 12 month program is geared to rebuilding broken lives in an atmosphere of warmth, trust, support and love.

  • Impact: (866)-734-4200

Impact is a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Pasadena. Impact seeks to provide a continuum of care including a 130 bed residential campus, two outpatient clinics, two in-custody programs, and four transitional living residences.

* denotes faith-based organization



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