During this Covid 19 crisis we have an opportunity to help create more affordable and homeless housing and to prevent homelessness. This is both an immediate and long-term need that we want the Pasadena City Council to address during its May 4th session, which will begin at 2 pm on Monday afternoon. Please join us in supporting homeless senior housing at Heritage Square South and a strengthened Eviction Moratorium. Please email the Pasadena City Council at:
We want the City council to give its final approval to the Heritage Square South project—69 units of homeless senior housing--on May 4th. Note that your letter must be 200 words long for it to be read during the City Council meeting. Below is a sample letter plus additional talking points. It is recommended that you briefly describe yourself, including what part of the city you live or work or worship in. If you have a moving personal story, please include it or use it instead of these talking points. If you have time to personalize your letter, it will be more effective. If not, please use the following template. Every letter submitted will be counted and will have an impact on our City Council members!
Dear Mayor and City Council members,
[As a long-term resident of Northwest Pasadena who attends Orange Grove Quaker Meeting]. I thank you for your unanimous approval of homeless senior housing at Heritage Square South in 2018. I urge you to give final approval for funding this project. At that time, you wisely urged the current developer to submit a proposal asap. Seniors are a growing segment of the City's homeless population and urgently need housing. According to the 2019 Homeless Count, one third of Pasadena’s homeless population is 55 years old or older. Many are on the street because of rising rents and a lack of affordable housing. Heritage Square South is an ideal site since it has wide-spread community support from churches and neighbors in Northwest Pasadena. It is close to a pharmacy, grocery store, restaurants and public transportation. It is next door to another senior facility that can provide supportive services. Using this site for affordable housing is appropriate since it was purchased with HUD funding for this use. It will not use the City's General Funds and may add tax revenue since the project also includes commercial use. The sooner we house our city’s elderly homeless population, the better!
1. There has been overwhelming public support for housing homeless seniors at this site from churches and neighbors. Over 1,000 letters and signatures were gathered to support this project. Hundreds of people have shown up in support during Council meetings. Opposition has been minimal. That’s why the Council unanimously approved mixed use (homeless senior housing and commercial) for this site in December 2018. The Council was so eager to house homeless seniors that it fast-tracked this project by quickly identifying an experienced developer to come up with a proposal and vet it with the community asap. That process has taken two years. It will take another two or three years to complete the project once it is approved.
2. The Covid 19 crisis has shown us that homeless seniors are the most vulnerable population and therefore have the greatest need for housing. According to the 2019 Homeless Count, one third of those experiencing homelessness in Pasadena are 55 years old or older, and many are homeless because of rising rents. The sooner that this population is housed, the better.
3. This is an ideal site for seniors. It’s near public transport, pharmacy, grocery store, and restaurants—everything that elderly people need. It’s also next door to another senior housing center (Heritage Square North) so resources can be shared.
4. If the project is delayed, it could jeopardize funding. This land was purchased with HUD money for affordable housing 15 years ago and at some point the money will have to be returned if the site isn’t used for this purpose. Since this project doesn’t require money from the City’s General Fund, now is the time to act and let this much needed project move forward.
Strengthen Pasadena’s Eviction Moratorium.
GPAHG is partnering with the Pasadena Tenants Union (PTU) to urge the Council to strengthen the Pasadena’s Eviction Moratorium ordinance and make it consistent with LA County’s Eviction Moratorium. Our Homeless Housing Subcommittee supports this as a homelessness prevention measure because 14% of those experiencing homelessness report that eviction was the cause (2019 Pasadena Homeless Count, p. 15). Pasadena recently passed an Eviction Moratorium that would delay eviction for three months and have a 6 month payback period. Tenants are required to supply landlords with proof of loss of income related to Covid 19 crisis. This ordinance will probably not prevent, but only delay eviction since most tenants will not be able to repay their rent in such a short time frame and providing documentation could be onerous.
Here are some of the provisions of the LA County's Eviction Moratorium that we would like Pasadena to adopt:
- Renters will have 12 months after the moratorium ends to pay any back rent (Previously six months)
- Landlords may not impose any new pass-throughs or charge interest or late fees for unpaid rent during the moratorium period;
- Landlords may not attempt to collect interest and late fees incurred during the moratorium period after the Executive Order is terminated for renters covered by the Rent Stabilization Ordinance and the Mobilehome Rent Stabilization Ordinance;
- Payment plans that allow landlords to accept partial payments from tenants during the moratorium are encouraged;
- Tenants may provide self-certification of their inability to pay rent, and landlords must accept this as sufficient notice;
- Landlords may not harass or intimidate tenants who choose to exercise the protections under this moratorium
To learn more about how to write an effective letter to your city official, check out: