Tag Archives: CCDA

Aljazeera Features how to be Downwardly Mobile for Jesus

14 Oct

I just returned from this year’s Christian Community Development Conference where over 3,000 attended. This year we met in Raleigh, NC. I feel so honored to be part of a national network of followers of Christ committed to Reconciliation, Redistribution and Relocation–the three “R”s that are the core of CCDA. This article that appeared on the front page of Aljazeera explains well some of the long term ramifications of developing under-resourced communities. Investing in a low income community can attract higher income neighbors pushing up the housing costs. This year I helped coordinate a Housing Symposium and an Action Tank–which looked at policies to help prevent housing displacement. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this amazing article.

Mathew Loftus holds a meeting of New Song Community Church's mental health group in his house after Sunday service.

Meet Matthew Loftus. “He doesn’t fit into the typical narratives about changing American communities. On one hand, recent housing policy has encouraged integrated suburbs by helping low-income families access communities of opportunity with more jobs, less crime and better schools. When integration moves the other way — into poor urban neighborhoods — it often tips over into gentrification as upscale amenities arrive, taxes and rents rise and longtime residents get priced out.”

Read the rest of Downwardly mobile for Jesus

Photo credit: Brooks Kraft for Al Jazeera America

Churches Can Initiate the First Step to Ending Homelessness by Counting

14 Oct

Pasadena is a model in many ways, with a host of volunteers conducting yearly homeless counts which provides hard data that has allowed the city and other non-profits to apply for funding and housing vouchers.

If a city has homeless and they haven’t yet conducted a count, this is the first step to ending homelessness. The Census Bureau itself does not require homeless counts and cities can often deny that they have homeless residents; this is where the Church can play a pivotal role. The book of Chronicles as well as other chapters throughout the Bible provide detailed lists of people by name recorded for all eternity. Churches can make visible the often invisible by initiating and participating in a count. Churches can contact Urban Initiatives to learn how homeless counts should be conducted and can play a significant role in the first step to ending homelessness.

Contact The Office of Urban Initiatives at Fuller Seminary

The city of Pasadena has done an excellent job of providing a significant level of services and housing for the homeless community thanks to Bill Huang, Director of Housing & Career Services, and Joe Colletti, Executive Director, of Urban Initiatives. The article below by Lauren Gold describes Pasadena’s 2014 homeless count and the significant role of Fuller Seminary.

“Homeless Count Helps Provide Data for Services” by Lauren Gold, reporter at Pasadena Star-News

Photo Credit: James Carbone for the Pasadena Star News


Making Affordable Housing Flourish through Local, State and National Advocacy

11 Mar

Making Affordable Housing Flourish through Local, State and National Advocacy

This year I hope to do a workshop at the Christian Community Development Association National Conference in Durham, NC, in Sept with Robert Baird and Samuel Gunter–both amazing folks.

Our topic: Making Affordable Housing Flourish through Local, State and National Advocacy. Below are Robert and Samuel’s bios and the description of the workshop we hope will be approved. Can you join us at the  CCDA Conference?

Workshop Description:

“How do we help policies and leaders protect, preserve and add affordable housing stock? How do Moses, Esther, and Jesus help us to understand advocacy?

These questions will be addressed by exploring: a brief survey how US housing policy has both devastated and/or helped our communities; joys and challenges of a ministry’s involvement in advocacy work.

A range of successful approaches and initiatives will be discussed with a more in-depth focus on: No-Net-Loss and Inclusionary Zoning–creating hundreds of affordable units without government funding, using smart growth best practices.”

Presenter bios:

Robert Baird, a community planner advocate, works on land use issues for Community Health Councils, a non-profit community-based policy organization in South Los Angeles.  His work includes efforts at developing healthy food retail in urban food deserts, zoning initiatives that address gentrification and displacement, urban design initiatives to promote health and wellness, and economic development policy in under-invested communities.  He and his wife, Jenny, helped plant New Life Community Church in East Los Angeles.

Samuel Gunter is the Faith Relations Coordinator at Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. He grew up abroad as the child of missionaries, served as a Peace Corps volunteer and an AmeriCorps member, and has worked in churches as well as faith- and issue-based advocacy organizations. He is a graduate of the University of Texas and Duke Divinity School and is married to Isela Gutierrez.

Jill Shook works as a catalyst to transform communities. She is author of Making Housing Happen: Faith-Based Affordable Housing Models, 2012. She earned degrees from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Multnomah School of the Bible, Denver Seminary (MA), and Bakke Graduate School (DMin).

Jill has led teams from UC Berkeley and Harvard to developing countries, and has founded STARS, a tutoring program; Pasadena’s Gun Buyback, and gang prevention initiatives. An adjunct lecturer at Azusa Pacific University, Bakke Graduate University, and Denver Seminary, she is married to Anthony Manousos, a Quaker peace activist.

“Everyone ’Neath Their Vine and Fig Tree”

19 Feb
Anthony Manousos and Jill Shook

Anthony Manousos and Jill Shook

Last Thursday the Whittier Daily News published a commentary written by my husband, Anthony Manousos, and me. We’re thrilled at this chance to share about issues of faith, stewardship, and social justice with the greater Los Angeles community.

We enjoy both co-authoring and co-speaking. In fact, on Sunday we spoke at the Quaker meeting in Santa Monica about each of our books. It was very well received and people were inspired to deeper trust and action. We closed by singing our marriage theme song, based on Micah 4:3-4: “Everyone ’Neath Their Vine and Fig Tree,” which is the article title.

In the commentary, Anthony and I discuss the ways in which we try to live out our beliefs. Among them is my work in affordable housing, based in my view of Jubilee and of justice for all, especially lower-income people.

Here are some excerpts:

Although my wife Jill and I come from very different theological perspectives—I am a liberal Quaker, and she is an Evangelical Christian—we share many core values in common, including a deep concern for God’s creation. We both believe that the “earth is the Lord’s” and we have a responsibility to treat the earth, and all life, as sacred. …

“God’s green earth” begins in our own backyard and local community. Jill and I do what we can to make our lifestyle sustainable. We grow our own organic fruits and vegetables … We have a passive solar system to heat water for our showers. We are installing a solar power system and are using gray water. We hope to reduce our water consumption by 20-25% and electricity bill by 100% within the next year. …

We also advocate for policies that will benefit the poor and the environment. As a member of the Christian Community Development Association—a multi-ethnic, interracial group of Evangelical Christians committed to economic justice—Jill advocates for policies to create walkable, less car-reliant communities that are racially and economically mixed. …

Jill’s views on housing and the environment are grounded in the biblical idea of Jubilee, which means the God is the ultimate owner of all land. She argues for the creation of more community land trusts (CLT) because in a CLT, people own their homes but lease the land. CLTs ensure that housing will remain permanently affordable. Over 200 cities have CTLs that provide affordable housing to low income workers.

You can read the full article on the Whittier Daily News website. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and how you may also be trying to live out your faith.

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