Tag Archives: City of Pasadena

A Churches Role in Preventing & Ending Homelessness

14 Oct

I really love the work Lake Avenue Church is doing to prevent and end homelessness in Pasadena. The idea of ending homelessness is powerful and possible. All too often our Churches are involved in simply managing homelessness by limiting their capabilities to feeding and clothing ministries, not realizing God can multiply our efforts if we learn and partner with an aim to actually end homelessness. We need to take that next step of building relationships with those homeless sleeping at our Church doorsteps. We need to build relationships with our local city and county programs that are working with the Housing First model, a model proven with clear nationwide evidence based research.

By holding hands with our homeless friends and Housing Frist programs, we can realize what the early Church did in Acts 4 when they ended poverty. Let us do the same. Mark out a manageable geographic of a few blocks around our Churches or a part of town where the most vulnerable stay and decide to end poverty in that area. We can’t do it alone. We need partnerships. We need other Churches, city staff and officials. Once we have done our homework, we may be in a position to educate our city staff and support them in what must be done. We need to help our planning departments initiate a homeless count so they become aware of local needs. With hard data our local cities can apply for the necessary resources.

Some Churches are seeking to prevent homelessness before it ever transpires, an even more affordable and sustainable approach. Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena has begun a program that helps prevent homelessness by helping those facing evictions. I thank God for Lake Avenue Church and the Lake Avenue Community Foundation, which is taking seriously the example of the early Church by focusing intensely on a manageable geographic and seeking to break the cycles of poverty through their outreach programs.

Lake Avenue Church: Crisis, Advocacy, and Prevention

“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.”

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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

Pasadena defers decision on affordable housing commission

10 Feb
City Hall, Pasadena, CA, site of City Council meetings.

City Hall, Pasadena, CA, site of City Council meetings.

On Sunday, Feb. 9th, the Pasadena Star-News covered the City Council’s February 3 meeting. In this meeting, the council approved Pasadena’s draft Housing Element, which will guide Pasadena’s affordable housing policy for the next eight years.

Lauren Gold, the reporter, wrote about Natalie Brown, age 11 (who spoke at the City Council), and also mentioned my book, Making Housing Happen.

Now it’s my prayer that folks in Pasadena will be encouraged to read it and be inspired by stories of faithful people across the US that have dreamed big dreams to address the housing crisis — and have actually made those dreams happen.

Here’s an excerpt from Lauren’s article:

Housing activist Jill Shook, who has authored a book on faith-based affordable housing, said she had hoped the city would have taken action on the commission to take a more active approach to the problem voiced by speakers Monday.

“I’m grateful that so many people and churches showed up to express their concern for affordable housing and to support the creation of a housing commission that would help give the focused attention this urgent need deserves,” Shook said. “It is possible to address this complex issue, it takes creativity, faith and imagination. Money is rarely the issue.”

You can read the full article on the Pasadena Star-News website. Let me know what you think of it.

Photo: cc by humbleopinion

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Natalie Brown, 11, speaking at the Pasadena City Council, Monday, Feb. 3, 2014

5 Feb

Natalie Brown, 11, speaking at the Pasadena City Council, Monday, Feb. 3, 2014

Good evening. My name is Natalie Brown, I am 11 years old and in the sixth grade. I am grateful to be one of the winners of the Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest of 2014. I am thrilled to be here tonight because my essay was about housing and homelessness.

My family attends church in Pasadena and I go to school in Sierra Madre. My dad, who is a doctor, would volunteer his services for Elizabeth House and Door of Hope residents. One day I was in the car with my mom waiting for the light to turn green at Michillinda and Foothill Blvd. I saw a young man that was dirty, thin, had dark hair and somewhat dark skin. He was standing on the middle island, holding a sign, and he looked hungry. I thought, why is he here, he is too young to be here. We saw him there more than just that day and each time we drove past my heart sank. We would be listening to happy music and then we would see him and each time my heart felt heavy.

I do not want to be remembered as a person who did nothing in this world. I want to make a positive impact in the community. In my essay I acknowledged that Dr. King gave his life to help people. I too would like to dedicate my life to those in need. I would like my legacy to be that I helped extinguish the quick spreading flames of homelessness.

Homelessness is such a hard and painful tragedy. There are mental illnesses and financial problems that can easily cause people to lose their homes and not be able to buy food. It makes me feel such sadness to see homeless people of any age. I want to help in the fight against homelessness.

A big step is to provide housing to homeless families. There are already places in Pasadena that house these families, but we need more. By giving people a home it gives them shelter while they can receive job training and education. The hope is they can soon afford their own homes.

After I won the MLK essay one of my teachers sent me an article on the homelessness fight in Utah. Utah has reduced homelessness by 78% just by giving people homes! They have done this under Utah’s Housing First program. Their goal in a few years would to have 100% of the homeless people in homes. This gives us great hope! To do this here we need a Housing Commission to move forward to provide adequate and affordable housing for all in need and to be an example and even partner with Sierra Madre where I to school and Monrovia where I live.

I believe that, with God’s help, all things are possible and anyone can help change the lives of those in need…even a young girl like me. This is the prize money I won in the essay contest. It is $250. I know it is difficult to find the money to fund the Housing Commission, so I would like to donate my prize money to the Housing Commission. I hope it will help in getting it started.
Thank you very much.

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