“Safe Parking and Safe Haven”: Our January MHCH Forum

23 Jan

Making Housing & Community Happen (MHCH)  Housing Justice Forum

“Emergency Shelter For Our Unhoused Neighbors:  Safe Parking and Safe Haven”

safe parking jan

Living on the street can be hazardous. Over 2,000 LA County residents died on the streets in 2020-21. Two of our unhoused neighbors were murdered in Pasadena in 2022. Others face arrest and citations for minor infractions like sleeping in their cars overnight. 

Pastor Sharon Richter, Tashera Taylor  and Erica Tamblyn will discuss how congregations are addressing this crisis by allowing our unhoused neighbors to stay on their campus and have access to supportive services. While Safe Parking provides overnight parking spaces for those living in their vehicles, Safe Haven allows unsheltered people without cars to stay overnight on the property. Both provide services and a path to becoming housed. You will also learn how you can help ensure that religious institutions can have Safe Parking as a permitted use for their facility and how our unhoused neighbors can access these programs.

When: Thursday, Jan. 26, at 7:00 pm via Zoom

To register, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAqcuqhqzgrE9ABk9RRYcf3xyXiM3OEAezT

Erica Tamblyn is the chair of the Safe Haven Bridge to Housing Program.  A member of the Building and Grounds Committee, Erica is the head of the Paces Deferred Maintenance Team.  She is a member of the Rapid Response Team and the Sunday Food Ministry.  Erica and her wife, Marilyn have been All Saints parishioners for 23 years.  She is passionate about sumo wrestling and is a lifelong NY Yankees fan.

The Rev. Sharon M. Ruff Richter was a writer, editor, and Chinese translator for 25 years before feeling called to ministry. She has been pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Pasadena since 2018. In addition to pastoral duties, she leads Trinity’s Food Bank Ministry, Safe Parking Program, and Rejoicing Spirits ministry for adults experiencing developmental or cognitive disabilities.

Tashera Taylor is the CEO of Foothill Unity Center, which provides emergency food, health services, holiday assistance, personal goods, and shelter for people who live in eleven city service areas. Tashera earned a degree fom Azusa Pacific University and Oklahoma State.

For more information, contact anthony@makinghousinghappen.org or jll@makinghousinghappen.org

Write to City Council In Support of Safe Parking

12 Jan

This is a sample letter for you to send to Mayor Gordo and the Pasadena City Council in support of allowing Safe Parking as a permitted use on religious property. Please feel free to personalize this letter and to add your own thoughts. 

Please send it to:

vgordo@cityofpasadena.net,jerivas@cityofpasadena.net, jlyon@cityofpasadena.net, justinjones@cityofpasadena.net, thampton@cityofpasadena.net,smadison@cityofpasadena.net,fwilliams@city ofpasadena.net, gmasuda@cityofpasadena.net,correspondence@cityofpasadena.net 

Allow Safe Parking as a Permitted Use for Religious Institutions

I am writing because I’m  concerned about our unhoused neighbors living on the street and in their vehicles. On December 28, a 60-year-old woman named Corina Monroy was murdered here in Pasadena in the 99 Cent Store parking lot on Los Robles Ave, where she lived in her van. She was a kind, friendly person involved with Lake Avenue Church and was well loved by many. I don’t want to see tragedies like this happen again.

For this reason, I am asking you to allow Safe Parking as a permitted use for religious institutions in our city. Safe Parking is a program that allows people in their vehicles to sleep in designated parking spots, with supportive services, security and case management to help them become housed.

Safe Parking was a policy recommended by the Mayor’s Task Force and in our city’s Housing Element, where it was supposed to be studied in 2024.  I urge you to implement this policy as soon as possible.

A church in our city has a Safe Parking pilot program for over two years, with no serious negative incidents. The church partners with Foothill Unity Center that provides case management and support to help parkers to become housed. The church also contracts with a security company to ensure safety. So far, several parkers have been housed or have entered into a rehab program. 

Churches are permitted to have unhoused people sleep on their campus or in their social hall, but not in their vehicles in their parking lots. I urge you to allow Safe Parking as a permitted use for religious institutions, just as the City allows the Safe Haven program where people sleep outdoors or in tents on religious land.  Permitting Safe Parking will make it easier for religious institutions to apply for grants to run this program properly. If Corina Monroy had been in a Safe Parking program, she would likely still be alive.

Your name

Uniting for Housing Justice: Organizations Joining Us….

2 Dec

Organizations to be available at our Annual Celebration, “Uniting for Housing Justice”

Dec. 3rd, from 2-4:30pm. At the FUMC—First United Methodist Church.

To demonstrate unity and how it takes us all to address the complexities of housing justice the following list of organizations will be present on tables with displays at our Annual Celebration on Dec. 3rd. This is a huge opportunity for people to get to know housing resources and the people listed (Those with * are not confirmed)

Our goal is not only to ensure that affordable housing gets built, but also to build what Dr. King calls the Beloved Community. That’s why we call our nonprofit “Making Housing and Community Happen.” “Uniting for Housing Justice”—the theme of this year’s celebration, lifts up the community and partners we work with, such as LA Voice, the Pasadena Tenants Union, Foothill Unity Center, the Clergy Community Coalition, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, the Pasadena Affordable Housing Coalition, and more. Together we are uniting for housing justice and making a real difference!

Affordable Housing Developers

  • Pasadena Studios (Jim Osterling) will have 180 affordable micro-units that will soon become available on Oakland down by Fuller Seminary (38 of these units can be for those who have been displaced from Pasadena in the past ten years)
  • National Core (Phil Hawkey) has just been approved to build 107 senior affordable units in the Pasadena Civic Center, right by the City Hall (10-20% will before seniors experiencing homelessness)
  • Heritage Housing Partners (Charles Loveman, ED) provides beautiful affordable homeownership. Right now, they have no availability but will in the future.
  • *Bridge Housing is building 70 units for seniors experiencing homelessness, at Heritage Square South—on the corner of Orange Grove and N. Fair Oaks)
  • *Salvation Army is close to finishing 69 units for those experiencing homelessness on the corner of Mentor and Union)

Pasadena Organizations:

  • Abundant Housing (Jake Pierce) mostly works on State housing policy.
  • Door of Hope (Troy Simpson) –provides transitional housing for homeless families with wonderful Christian Support
·        Friends-in-Deed (Ryan Greer) – has the Women’s room, Street Outreach, Eviction Prevention and Rental Assistance, a food pantry, and more.
  • Greenline Housing Foundation (Jasmin Shupper, ) which helps African Americans with down payment assistance and their Housing Justice group—710 stub.
  • Harambee Center (Tina Williams) is sponsoring the 20%ers—supporting those who have been displaced in the past 10 years, to get into 20% of the new affordable units with at least five units or more in size.
  • POP! (Brandon Lamar) POP! helped with our advocacy campaigns, and especially the Housing Element
·        PTU-Pasadena Tenants Union (Ryan Bell and team) provides a hotline for tenants and lead the campaign to pass rent control!
  • Union Station (Anne Miskey, ED) provides transitional housing, advocacy and case management for those experiencing homelessness throughout cities in San Gabriel Valley
  • IMA—(Pastor John Stewart) Interdenominational Ministerial Association-the oldest assoc. of African American pastors in the greater Pasadena area

Safe Parking: 

  • Trinity Lutheran Church (Pastor Sharon Richter) hosts the program and
  • Foothill Unity Center (Tashera Taylor, ED)—provides food, case management and more

Partners working with our Congregational Land Team (CLC):

  • The Arroyo Group (Phil Burns) is a planning firm based in Old Pasadena and known for Planning Old Pasadena, the Playhouse District, and the Civic Center. They work with congregations that have come to us for land use advisement on how to have affordable housing on their underutilized land.
  • *Mitchellville (Andre White) also provides professional affordable housing advisement for congregations interested in affordable housing. Andre lives on Hilton Head Island, but works on west coast time.
  • LA Voice (Andrea Vocos)—this organization plays a key role on our Congregational Land Team with advice and funding. They do justice policy work at the county and state level.

This is a list of churches and organizations that have partnered with us in action:

¨ Ahiah Center for Spiritual Living

¨ All Saints Church

¨ Bethel Baptist Church

¨ Calvary Christian Center

¨ Clergy Community Coalition

¨ Community Church at Holliston

¨ Door of Hope

¨ Fellowship Church

¨ First AME Church

¨ First Baptist Church

¨ Friends-in-Deed

¨ Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance

¨ Knox Presbyterian Church

¨ Neighborhood Church

¨ New Abbey Church

¨ New Revelation Baptist Church

¨ Pasadena Church

¨ Pasadena Community Christian Fellowship

¨ Social Justice Committee at Pasadena Jewish Temple

¨ St. Andrew’s Catholic Church Social Justice Committee

¨ St. Elizabeth of Hungary Conference, Society of St. Vincent de Paul

¨ Throop Church

¨ Trinity Lutheran Church

¨ Trinity Presbyterian Church, Pasadena

¨ Westminster Presbyterian Church

Churches that have provided financial support

¨ Epicentre Church

¨ Kingdom Causes of Bellflower

¨ La Fuente Ministries

¨ Lincoln Avenue Christian Church

¨ New Hope Baptist Church

¨ New Life Holiness Church

¨ Orange Grove Friends Meeting

¨ Pasadena Foursquare Church

¨ Pasadena Mennonite Church

¨ The Church We Hope For

¨ San Marino United Church of Christ

¨ United Methodist Women of FUMC

Local Businesses

¨ Full Circle Thrift

¨ ​Rosebud Coffee




Restitution and Repair by Bert Newton 

1 Dec
Before and after the 710 Stub destroyed a mostly African American neighborhood

The City of Pasadena was given a huge gift, and we want the city to pay it forward…or maybe pay it back…I’ll explain.

The 710 freeway was originally supposed to connect with the 134 and 210 freeways, but it was never completed, leaving a “stub” comprising over 50 acres. This past summer, this whole area, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, was “relinquished” from the state to the city.

According to the city website, the construction and clearing of the 710 stub area occurred “over several years in the early 1970s and displaced at least 4,000 residents and destroyed 1,500 homes. A majority of the homes were owned or rented by low income and minority residents.”

MHCH is joining a coalition of local groups to advocate for this land to be used for affordable housing and/or restitution for the people whose families were displaced.

A lot of research must be done to find out who was there and what can be done, and we will keep you posted on the developments and on opportunities for advocacy.

Please contact jill@makinghousinghappen.org if you’d like to be involved in this campaign for racial justice.

Let’s stand up for democracy and public participation in Pasadena!

25 Nov

This is a letter I am sending to the City Council regarding its decision to stop meeting via Zoom and have only in person meeting. They chose to ignore a much more democratic option, hybrid meeting, citing cost as a factor. The cost is $250,000/yr for hybrid Council meetings. To put that into perspective, that’s how much a mayoral campaign now costs in our city.

I urge everyone who cares about democracy to write to our City Council letting them know you want hybrid meetings for the reasons I describe in this letter. You can contact our Council at





Dear Mayor Gordo and City Council members,

Every cloud, they say, has a silver lining. As Councilmember Hampton pointed out in Monday’s City Council meeting,  one of the benefits of the COVID epidemic has been increased participation by the public in city council meetings due to Zoom meeting. Hampton also pointed out  that “the level of engagement is tremendous now compared to what it used to be. People who are at home taking care of their families can’t attend live meetings. We should allow our residents to be able to make public comments online as well as in person. This is our work to listen to what our people have to say.”

The staff report doesn’t provide data to support’s Hampton’s claim and I strongly urge the Council to seek that data so it can compare public participation before and after Zoom meetings. As someone who has regularly attended Council meetings for the last ten years, I agree with Hampton that public participation has increased dramatically since COVID. And that’s a win for democracy in our city.

Others on the Council seem to agree:

Wilson pointed out that zoom meetings make it easier for people with disabilities to participate. Madison pointed out that the “Zoom methodology is a positive development.” Jess Rivas also expressed approval for hybrid meetings.

Despite these comments, the Council went along with the Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendation to go back to the status quo.  

I believe we need to move forward into the future and incorporate best practices such as Zoom meetings into our democratic process here in Pasadena.

Clearly, written comments aren’t taken as seriously as spoken comments. That’s why it’s important to give as many residents as possible a chance to speak. As Hampton noted, it’s the Council job to listen to constituents.

I urge the Council to reconsider its decision and use a hybrid approach for Council meetings and for Planning Commission meetings, where public engagement via Zoom has been robust. This would strengthen the democratic process in our city.


Anthony Manousos

Happy Thanksgiving from MHCH

23 Nov







Thanksgiving MHCH

We at MHCH wish you a happy Thanksgiving and hope you will be celebrating with family and friends. Some are not so fortunate. They don’t have a home and are living on the street or are housing insecure. That’s why we work to ensure that everyone has secure and affordable housing. 

Please support our efforts on GIVING TUESDAY (Nov 29) by clicking here. 

Our goal is to raise $50,000 by Dec. 31 and we have raised $30,000 so far. 

You are also warmly invited to our annual celebration, “Uniting for Housing Justice,” which will take place on Saturday, December 3, from 2:00-4:30 pm at the First United Methodist Church of Pasadena (500 E Colorado Blvd).

Music, refreshments, and inspiring stories of how Making Housing and Community Happen is addressing the housing crisis in Pasadena and beyond through affordable housing. We have much to celebrate:

  • Working with the Tenants Union to pass rent control in Pasadena.
  • Launching the San Gabriel Valley Community Land Trust as a separate nonprofit.
  • Rezoning religious land for affordable housing in Pasadena, Sierra Madre and Yorba Linda.
  • 69 congregations in So Cal are now seeking our advisement to have affordable housing built on their underutilized land.
  • Two successful One-Day Housing Justice Institutes, in Bellflower and Arcadia
  • People living in their cars getting housed.

RVSP at info@makinghousinghappen.org

or register to attend here: http://evite.me/EbuRgkzEpQ


Rent Control Provides Stability, Protects Seniors and People of Color

5 Nov

By Jill Shook, Co-founding Director of Making Housing and Community Happen (MHCH)

My friend Diowanni Tate, a transplant from Jackson, Mississippi, called me for help. She said, “On Friday, July 1st, around 9:00 a.m. I received an eviction notice along with my fellow tenants. The anxiety associated with being told you have 60-days to vacate the premises without any regard of your next home was extremely stressful and for some traumatic. As a four-year resident, I thought I had found my home-sweet-home here in Pasadena partly because I didn’t think I would experience some of the ugly issues my parents and grandparents faced during the Civil Rights era regarding housing.”

Her corporate landlord along with other corporate landlords in Pasadena had evited over 100 tenants so they could do renovations and jack up the rents. I told Diowanni that this was illegal because of an LA County Covid law. Then I advised her to contact the Pasadena Tenants Union (PTU). PTU organized the tenants to write letters to their landlord about the LA County law. They staged a press conference with those who had been illegally evicted. The very next day Diowanni’s landlord rescinded Diowanni’s her notice!

When the tenants contacted Pasadena’s city officials, many were advised to apply for relocation funds with a minimal focus on knowing their rights with this County law that protects tenants from no-fault evictions until the end of 2022.

Despite stories like these, some of our elected leaders are saying that tenants already have all the protection they need from our city, and that they can count on Pasadena to hold landlords accountable. But this has not been the experience of Diowanni and others.  

Michelle White, Bert Newton, and I tried to have rent control and just cause eviction passed in Pasadena over 20 years ago. The City Council didn’t support rent control then, and today the only City Council member to support it is Jess Rivas.  In contrast, in Baldwin Park the City Council voted it in. In the fall of 2021, the Mayor’s Housing Task Force called on the Council to support rent control to no avail. With such lack of Council support in Pasadena, PTU knew that the initiative process was the only way to get it passed. We all got busy supporting the campaign collecting approximately 20,0000 signatures (15,000 were valid but only 13,000 were needed—these are especially impressive numbers considering that this was during the Omicron surge). When I was collecting signature, I was happy to see a number of landlords sign the petition, which will provide clear guidelines for what is a reasonable rent increase.

There is overwhelming public support for Measure H: over 60 organizations have endorsed rent control, including the Abundant Housing, ACLU, ACT, CHIRLA, the Clergy Community Coalition, Foothill Democrats, The League of Women Voters, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Making Housing and Community Happen, NDALON, POP!, PTA, PUSD, Southern Cal Public Service Workers, Union Station, and many more.

Most of the $280,000 funding to oppose rent control come from corporate landlords, including from Apartment Associations based in Chicago. Expensive, and misleading negative ads are filling our mailboxes. Don’t be fooled.

At one point the opponents of rent control caused me to have some doubts. When I assigned my MA Social Work students at Azusa Pacific University to debate rent control, I also dove deep into the research. What a fun surprise it was to learn that even Beverly Hills has rent control. I more I studied, the more I fully convinced that this policy is essential for society today, but sadly has a bad reputation based on misinformation. 

Some opponents of rent control cite a Stanford paper The Effects of Rent Control Expansion on Tenants, Landlords and Inequality: Evidence from San Francisco, taking its negative conclusions about rent control as gospel. However, as Dean Preston and Shanti Singh point out in the Shelterforce Magazine, “The Stanford paper fully supports the conclusion that rent control works to keep people in their homes: We find that rent control increased the probability a renter stayed at their address by close to 20 percent.’ The stabilizing effects are ‘significantly stronger among older households and among households that have already spent a number of years at their treated [rent controlled] address.’ In other words, seniors and long-term tenants find longer-term stability because of rent control” Because seniors are the fastest-growing segment of our homeless population, keeping seniors affordably housed also helps keep them from becoming homeless.

Furthermore, the Stanford study shows that Black and Hispanic households are 10% more likely to stay in their rent-controlled apartments than white households. This data has profound racial justice implications for Pasadena where 56% of the African American population has been displaced since 1990 primarily due to soaring rents and gentrification. Rent stabilization could help prevent the exodus of people of color from our city.

That’s why Pastor Kerwin Manning, an African American leader in our city, said: “I’d be very surprised if you found a pastor not in favor of rent control. Our members don’t even live here anymore. At least 75% of congregants were forced to move because of higher and higher rents.”

Opponents of rent control say that the rent control board is costly and not accountable. This isn’t true. Members of the rent control board will be chosen by the City Council. Furthermore, the Board will be funded through a small fee (approximately $11 to $15 per unit per month) paid by the landlord, not by taxpayers. (In contrast, our city uses our tax dollars to ensure that restaurants are inspected to meet health and safety standards). This fee will not be onerous to Mom-and-Pop landlords and is a small price to pay to protect tenants.

Terry Tornek says that rent control will prevent new development, but this is not the case since state law dictates that rent control can only apply to apartments built before 1995. Development has been robust in Santa Monica and West Hollywood, two cities with strong rent control ordinances. What stops development are onerous zoning laws, not rent control.

Rent control is one of a long list of tools needed to stabilize society and prevent people like my friend Diowanni and so many others from living in fear of unjust evictions and unreasonable rent increases. Over 60% of Pasadena residents are renters. They need and deserve the kind of protection that Measure H (rent control) provides.

To solve our homelessness and housing crisis, we need to unite for housing justice. That’s the theme of our annual celebration, to which you are invited. See makinghousinghappen.org/events.


·        “Dear Business School Professors: You’re Wrong, Rent Control Works.” By Dean Preston and Shanti Singh. Shelterforce, March 28, 2018/ https://shelterforce.org/2018/03/28/rent-control-works/

·        Shane Phillips, The Affordable City, p. 108.

·        https://www.pasadenanow.com/main/local-religious-organizations-endorse-measure-h

“Uniting for Housing Justice”: Our Annual Celebration Dec. 3, 2022!

29 Oct

Uniting for Housing Justice logo finalized ocr 18

In person or live stream, you are warmly invited to our annual celebration “Uniting for Housing Justice,” which will take place this year on Saturday, December 3, from 2:00-4:30 pm at the First United Methodist Church of Pasadena (500 E Colorado Blvd).

Music, refreshments, and inspiring stories of how Making Housing and Community Happen is addressing the housing crisis in Pasadena and beyond through affordable housing.

RVSP at info@makinghousinghappen.org

or register to attend here: http://evite.me/EbuRgkzEpQ

Please show your support the housing justice work of MHCH by clicking here.

You can watch livestream at the time of the event or at your convenience via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHO5JEEntqE

A Sneak Preview..

Stay tuned for the announcement on Dec. 3rdjohn kennedy of the John J. Kennedy Legacy Affordable Housing Rock Star Award! 

Two of this year’s honorees :Jess Rivas

Brendan Poon

Councilmember Jess Rivas for her strong support for affordable housing and rent control, and our intern, Brendan Poon, a junior at Polytechnic High School. Brendan has shown extraordinary commitment and leadership with Pasadena’s rent control campaign and recently published an op ed in Colorado Boulevard.  Jess and Brendan are truly affordable housing rock stars!

Uniting for Housing Justice sponor logos1024_1

Let’s Celebrate!

As we complete our fourth year as a nonprofit, we have much to celebrate in 2022:

¨ Launching the San Gabriel Valley Community Land Trust as a separate nonprofit.

¨ Rezoning religious land for affordable housing in Pasadena, Sierra Madre and Yorba Linda.

¨ 69 congregations in So Cal are now seeking our advisement to have affordable housing built on their underutilized land

¨ Two successful One-Day Housing Justice Institutes, in Bellflower and Arcadia

¨ People living in their cars getting housed.

Big goals for 2023:

¨ We are seeking to pass a bill that would rezone religious land statewide for affordable housing (similar to a bill that passed in Washington state).

¨ Have least three Housing Justice Institutes to foster housing justice teams in other cities.

¨ Host two “cohorts” for churches interested in affordable housing—one in Southern CA and one in Northern CA—to help congregations discern their readiness to move forward with our advisement.

¨ By the mid 2024 have congregations we are advising plan for 1,000 units of affordable housing!

And more.. stay tuned!

Our goal is not only to ensure that affordable housing gets built, but also to build what Dr. King calls the Beloved Community. That’s why we call our nonprofit “Making Housing and Community Happen.” “Uniting for Housing Justice”—the theme of this year’s celebration, lifts up the community and partners we work with, such as LA Voice, the Pasadena Tenants Union, Foothill Unity Center, the Clergy Community Coalition, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, the Pasadena Affordable Housing Coalition, and more. Together we are uniting for housing justice and making a real difference!

Upcoming MHCH Forum and Our Annual Event

19 Oct

You’re invited to join us for our Housing Justice Forum on Tuesday, October 25 at 7 pm and our Annual Celebration on Saturday, December 3, 2:00 pm-4:30 pm at the First United Methodist Church of Pasadena. 

Our Housing Justice Forum via Zoom: 

How to produce affordable housing and protect tenants….”

Tuesday, October 25, at 7:00 pm

Register in advance for this meeting:


“Tenant protections, homebuilding, and housing subsidies are all essential to improving housing affordability and household stability, but they can often be in tension. How do we build more homes without displacing existing communities?” Shane Phillips, author of the Affordable City, outlines a framework for balancing these goals, and discusses the important role that rent stabilization can play in achieving housing justice.

phillips_asu_image_1.1 (1)About the speaker: Shane Phillips manages the UCLA Lewis Center Housing Initiative, where he works to improve the public’s understanding of the causes of and solutions to Southern California’s housing challenges. He co-hosts the UCLA Housing Voice Podcast and is author of The Affordable City, and has written about housing for a variety of publications including the LA Times and The Atlantic. Originally from Seattle, Shane studied biochemistry at the University of Washington and urban planning at USC.


Our Annual Celebration will take place Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, 2:00 pm – 4:30 pmUniting for Housing Justice logo finalized ocr 18 at the First United Methodist Church of Pasadena, 500 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena CA. The theme for this year’s event is Uniting For Housing Justice.”  See makinghousinghappen.org/events.

Facts vs. Myths About Rent Control Webinar

21 Sep

Rent Control Webinar Evite Image

Join us for a webinar on the facts vs. myths about rent control. Ryan Bell, organizer for the Measure H Rent Control campaign in Pasadena, will explain the facts, dispel myths and answer questions about rent control. He will counter misinformation spread by “organized money” and explain how you can become part of efforts to empower tenants and transform our city.

Tuesday, Sept 27, at 7:00 pm.

Register in advance for this meeting:


Ryan Bell is the Southern California Regional Organizer with Tenants Together and a volunteer Member Organizer with the Pasadena Tenants Union. He is also a campaign organizer and finance coordinator for the Measure H campaign for rent control and just cause protections in Pasadena.

%d bloggers like this: