By Alex Cordero
The Making Housing & Community Happen (MHCH) group is celebrating its first anniversary on Nov. 2 and is inviting the entire community to join them for the event at First Baptist Church in Pasadena. There will be fun activities for children, live music and food.
MHCH has a lot to celebrate after a year of advocating in the community for affordable housing policies in Pasadena. Efforts to shape affordable housing policies in the city have been led, in part, by MHCH and their subcommittees who bring local residents and local resources in the city together to make it happen.
“In the last year Making Housing and Community Happen and our local effort, the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group (GPAHG), has been able to see 69 units approved for homeless seniors, and very soon another 65 we anticipate will be approved through the Salvation Army. This work is done with our amazing partners, Everyone In with United Way, Union Station, and many churches.” shared Jill Shook, affordable housing advocate and author of “Making Housing And Community Happen.”
GPAHG has been advocating for the YWCA building designed by Julia Morgan, at 78 N. Marengo, Pasadena, to be utilized for homeless housing; the group has been holding vigils every Monday at 5 p.m. for the last year, led by different local churches every week. The group joins council members at City Hall soon after the vigil to advocate for the property to be used for homeless housing during the public comment portion. “Many of those experiencing homelessness have joined us which has made these times especially rich and meaningful,” shared Shook.
Another example of MHCH promoting affordable housing in Pasadena is through their advocacy of ADUs or accessory dwelling units in the city.
“It was just past a few weeks ago that anyone in the state could build a granny flat in their home by subdividing their home and creating what’s called a junior ADU, or accessory dwelling unit. In addition, they can build a detached backhouse or convert their garage. This has essentially changed single-family housing for the entire state.” Shook added, “Between 2003 and 2017 only one ADU was built in the city of Pasadena because the policies made it near impossible. Since January of 2017 over 40 people have pulled permits to build ADUs, but only one that is intended to be affordable. Our hope is to change the statistic.”
MHCH has also recently started a new committee to examine the church properties as congregations are displaced throughout the city. “We have a unique situation in L.A. County presently, with funding to build affordable housing but limited sites that are getting approvals due to NIMBYism [a “not in my backyard” mentality] and other factors. Churches have a mandate to love their neighbors and care for the poor. Many churches are struggling with keeping enough members due to gentrification and displacement. Excess land can be used to build affordable housing. This team is helping churches walk through the process of vision feasibility and clarifying their goals around their land-use. Already, seven churches have indicated interest in walking down this path of considering affordable housing on their property in partnership with nonprofit affordable housing developers.”
MHCH is celebrating many more efforts around affordable housing this upcoming Saturday, Nov. 2. The event will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Visit Making Housing Happen to discover how you can support, join, volunteer, and get informed on affordable housing policies in your community.