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How to plan a One-Day Housing Justice for your community

8 Mar

How to start a Housing Justice Institute

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Root Causes of Segregation and Today’s Housing Crisis and Best Practices to End Homelessness

28 Dec

Root Causes of segregation and today's housing Crisis, best pra

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Envisioning affordable housing past and future….and how to get there!

28 Dec

Envisioning affordable housing past and future Saturday, Jan 5t.jpg

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A walk for walker tonight–results of long standing housing segregation

30 Apr

AWalkforChristopherFlier

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House of Hope Drop in Center and Shelter for homeless youth-12-17 years old

11 Mar

House of Hope Drop in Center for homeless youth-12-17 years old

Pastor Christopher Bourne is pictured second from left, with Darrel Cozen and Norma Pratt (right), both members of the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group.

The House of Hope is the only shelter for youth from 12-17 in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles. On March 4th, three members of the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group, Norma Pratt, Darrell Cozen and I, visited the House of Hope, sponsored by the Bethlehem Community Development Center. Our district representative from Senator Carol Liu’s office, Adam Carter, also joined the tour.

Christopher Bourne, pastor of the Bethlehem Church of Christ Holiness, at 1550 North Fair Oaks Avenue, in Pasadena, received us with great enthusiasm at 4:45pm on Tuesday, March 5, in the midst of the weekly House of Hope staff meeting.

Along with the shelter, the church and staff run a homeless drop-in center with computers, bus tokens, and all kinds of activities geared toward helping the youth feel loved, welcomed, well fed, and equipped to succeed in school and move forward in their lives.

The church has owned the apartment next door since the 80s. Homeless youth from 12 to 17 years old can stay in two of these very homey apartments for up to 21 days. One apartment houses up to three homeless girls along with a “house mom,” and on the other side of the parking garage, another apartment houses up to three homeless boys with a “house dad.” Those who qualify must not be on probation or in the LA County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) system.

The main goal of the House of Hope is not only to provide hope but also reunite the youth with their families when it is safe to do so. Life skills, food, clothing, case management and a loving environment all serve to move the youth closer to reunification.

Of the youth who have come to House of Hope, 85-95% have been reunited with their families. So far the ethnic make-up of those served have been White, Hispanic, and African-American youth.

In one case five kids, ages 9 to 19, were all abandoned due to a parent’s terminal illness. House of Hope staff partnered with other agencies to help those youth who were not within the age range they serve, and they were able to find ways to keep the siblings together. Presently one on those staying at House of Hope is a 15-year-old girl with a baby.

Since opening their doors in October 2012, they have housed 25-30 youth. Girls tend to stay longer. Boys tend to drop in and stay for only a day or two. After youth leave House of Hope, the staff continues to follow up on them for six months.

It seems that a real convergence of money, passion and need coalesced in the birthing of the House of Hope. More than 1.3 million children in the United States are homeless at some time each year. To meet this need in the San Gabriel Valley, three key things came together: the possibility of grant funding; having a location already zoned for a homeless shelter and available space in their church property for a drop in center; and the use of two of their apartments next to the church. All converged with the pastor’s passion.

The staff is reaching out to school districts and cities throughout San Gabriel Valley to let them know about this new and unique resource for homeless youth. Some of these youth have run away to Hollywood, whose arts and street life are a magnet for homeless youth, and staff are targeting that area as well.

If you know of homeless youth please contact House of Hope at 626-794-5216 or info@BCDCHouseofHope.com, or check them out on the web: http://www.BCDCHouseofHope.com.

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Cody reciting his poem at the City Council to support a Housing Commission, Feb. 3rd, 2014

7 Feb

Cody reciting his poem at the City Council to support a Housing Commission, Feb. 3rd, 2014

Pasadena Housing Commission

In times of corporate interest power and true human need, the question for today is do we sway towards love or greed?
We love our families dearly we know they make us complete, what if we had a family member sleeping on the street?

We thank you city council for furthering our mission, by voting yes for true progress and this Housing Commission!

We all see how everyone wants a place to live inside, and when we get this issue cared for we will feel the pride,* this is one step to stop people from rummaging though bins, for when we come together for the good everyone wins!

We thank you Pasadena for listening to her people, when it comes to these affairs let’s try to keep it real!

Diversity, as we all see is central to our future, respecting/protecting diversity, right here, ourselves we nurture,

So thank you city council for opening your heart, and helping us keep together that which we’re a part!

So thank you city council for furthering Love’s mission, meeting the needs of this city with a Housing commission!

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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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Former President Carter comments on affordable housing need

8 Oct

Former President Carter comments on affordable housing need

In this article from the Associated Press Former President Jimmy Carter gives his take on the need for more affordable housing. He addresses how even the middle class has been affected by the recent economic downturn. It seems to me that he got it right. Take a look and let me know what you think!

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_JIMMY_CARTER_HABITAT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

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