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The Affordable Housing Crisis and Pasadena

Expert Panel to Address Issues of Affordable Housing and Homelessness in Our Community

The growing shortage of affordable housing and increase in homelessness is a national issue, confounded by the increase in foreclosures, unemployment and declining value and availability of public assistance.

Pasadena is not immune to this crisis. Development agencies are scrambling for solutions while smaller non-profits and volunteer groups are helping with several initiatives aimed to keep people off the streets. As William K. Huang, Director of Housing for the City of Pasadena explains, " Pasadena, is experiencing a perfect storm scenario with increased demand for housing and housing program and funding reduced to unprecedented levels. The challenge is to continue to find innovative and effective ways to serve the needs of the low income population with significantly fewer resources."

Huang along with other participants in the event, believes that "We need to work with partners from the faith-based, nonprofit and business communities to leverage each other's resources to meet the most pressing needs."

An expert panel will examine the issues and controversies surrounding affordable housing and how it relates to homelessness on Wednesday, April 18, 7:00pm, at the Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center, Galpert Sanctuary, 1434 North Altadena Drive, Pasadena.

The panel includes Michelle White, Executive Director of Affordable Housing Services (AHS) in Pasadena; Peter Dreier, E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and Chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College; and, William K. Huang, Director of Housing for the City of Pasadena. Arnold Siegel, Board Chair of Union Station Homeless Services, the largest provider of services to the homeless in Pasadena, will moderate. Siegel is also Clinical Professor and Director of Legal Writing and Ethical Lawyering at Loyola Law School.

The discussion is open to the public and a reception will follow. The event is co-sponsored by Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for "repairing the world") Committee and Greater Pasadena Jews for Justice. It is just one of the initiatives of the Tikun Olam Committee to addressing the issues of homelessness.

The Committee recently helped furnish a bedroom through AHS whose mission is to develop housing for low-income and no-income households. The Adopt-a-Room project involved five units for recently homeless single women in a group setting and was the culmination of years of effort and coordination with the Housing Department of the City of Pasadena, private "Moral Capitalist" financing, and others.

Homelessness and poverty are, of course, inextricably linked. It is estimated that 3.5 million men, women and children experience homelessness each year and one in four US households report spending more on housing than is considered affordable.

The Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center (PJTC) is a synagogue and community center affiliated with the Conservative Movement whose members observe a wide range of Jewish beliefs and practices. PJTC is dedicated to perpetuating all aspects of Jewish life and to fostering a sense of Jewish identity among its members, both as individuals and as a community. The Temple provides an active house of prayer, education and assembly. PJTC seeks to include and accept all those who wish to worship, study, or develop cultural or social ties to Judaism. Grounded in our tradition's commitment to help heal the world, the Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center's Tikkun Olam committee coordinates ongoing charitable, humanitarian, and social action work within the Temple and the larger community. www.pjtc.net

The mission of Greater Pasadena Jews for Justice is to use our voice and presence, mindful of our history as minorities and immigrants, to inject Jewish values of tikkun olam, justice, and equality into local public discourse and policy. This mission includes working in interfaith coalitions, and linking matters of local concern to broader social, political, and economic issues.



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