Friday, March 30, 2018

Sleeping on the Street with our Homeless Neighbors on Good Friday

"As you do for the least of these, you do for me" (Matt 25:40)
Safely House Homeless Seniors in Pasadena,
Create local jobs!

My friend Joe and I are sleeping on the street tonight (Good Friday) because we want to be in solidarity with our homeless neighbors. Joe is in his forties and I am almost 70 years ago. We both have homes, but there are over 80 homeless seniors sleeping on the streets of Pasadena. You can’t miss them. They are everywhere. The number of homeless residents has been rising in Pasadena in part because of skyrocketing housing costs. I am part of a group that advocates for supportive housing for our homeless neighbors. Supportive housing enhances safety for the community by providing homeless people with a long-term, affordable place to live, with services to help them with their issues.

North Heritage Square provides beautiful, safe affordable
housing  for homeless seniors and provided 6 million dollars
in local jobs, contracts, and building material.
On the corner of Orange Grove and Fair Oaks, there is a plot of land called Heritage Square South that the City purchased 15 years ago with funds from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other sources to be used for affordable housing. The City Council has let it be vacant, except for leasing part of it to Church’s Chicken. The City Council is finally considering how to utilize this property. Some Councilmembers want to see it sold and used for commercial development, even they this means forfeiting over a million dollars in HUD funding. If it is sold to commercial developers, the City cannot guarantee that a single job or a single dollar will be created for Pasadena residents. On the other hand, if the property is used for housing our homeless seniors, the City can access Measure H funding and require that developers have local hires and contractors and use local materials. The City can also require that preferential access be given to Pasadena’s homeless residents. The city-funded North Heritage Square housing (see picture) provided over 6 million dollars in jobs and purchases for Pasadenans. It not only houses Pasadena seniors, it is also a beautiful asset to our community.
If you want to see homeless people off the street and housed in a safe, beautiful environment like Heritage Square North, please contact the Mayor and City Council members.  You can email them at You can email me (Anthony) at or visit my blog at

Meanwhile, pray for your homeless neighbors. Remember that Jesus chose to be homeless like them so we would feel more compassion for the poor. “Foxes have lairs, birds have nests,” said Jesus, “but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matt 8:20). On the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested, he and his disciples were sleeping outdoors in the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem. Jesus told us that whatever we do for the poor, we do for him (Matt 25:40).

The City spent thousands of tax dollars to fence off this property
so homeless neighbors couldn't sleep there. We say, build housing,
not fences!
Tonight we will be sleeping near a park here in Pasadena for the sake of our homeless neighbors.  We are praying that the hearts and minds of our City Council will be open to the cries and needs of the poor.  What does God require of us? Go to the parking lot behind Church’s Chicken and you will see a banner proclaiming what God wants us to do with this property:

“Give shelter to the homeless” (Isaiah 58:7)