On Saturday, April 24, at 4:00 pm, Making Housing and Community Happen (MHCH) will have a Prayer Vigil for Affordable Housing and Racial Justice at New Hope Baptist Church, 1787 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103. Religious and community leaders will be present, including Councilmember John Kennedy and state Senator Anthony Portantino.
The prayer vigil will focus on how racial and economic inequity can be addressed through affordable housing. During this one-hour event we will offer prayers of confession, commitment, thanksgiving and petitions for our neighbors who are un-housed, displaced or housing insecure, and that religious institutions will be allowed to build affordable housing on their underutilized land.
“Some cities like Evanston, Illinois, and Manhattan Beach are finally acknowledging their racist history towards housing and land,” says Dr. Jill Shook, executive director of MCHC and a long-time resident of Northwest Pasadena. “We feel we are breaking new ground here in Pasadena by publicly confessing the racial injustices of the past and making a commitment to changes that will bring hope to low-income residents and communities of color.”
Dr. Shook is convinced that churches have an important role to play in transforming the city: “Churches throughout Pasadena are eager to help address the affordable/homeless housing crisis we are currently facing. One of the biggest obstacles to building affordable housing is finding appropriate sites. Partnering with willing churches seemed like a match made in heaven”.
New Life Holiness Church, located near New Hope Baptist, is one of the first churches in Pasadena to come up with a proposal to build 52 units of affordable housing on its property. A small church with a dwindling congregation due to gentrification, its pastor Othella Medlock is hopeful that building affordable housing on her church land will bring “new life” to her church and to her community:
“I would hope that our church will be seen as an asset to the community, that we have compassion and care about our neighbors. We don’t have a lot of resources like big churches, but we have a valuable asset, our land. In Acts 4, early Christians sold their property and provided for the poor. We want to use our land for the betterment of our community.”
To learn more see: https://pasadenaweekly.com/churches-with-ample-land-hope-to-build-affordable-housing-to-help-the-community/ and https://www.coloradoboulevard.net/lets-use-pasadena-church-lands-to-build-affordable-housing/
Making Housing & Community Happen (MHCH) is a faith-rooted nonprofit that equips congregations, community leaders, and neighbors with practical tools needed to transform their communities, to end homelessness, and to stabilize the cost of housing through education, advocacy, organizing, and advisement. Active for over 25 years, MHCH became a nonprofit in 2018 and has successfully advocated to pass hundreds of affordable units and an inclusionary ordinance that requires developers to set aside 20% of units as affordable, which has produced 1,100 units. Over 20 Pasadena churches belong to MHCH’s network.