Tuesday, May 5, 2020

GPAHG Action Alert May 11

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 69 units of homeless senior housing at Heritage Square South and the Salvation Army "Hope Center" proposal for 65 units of permanent supportive housing.   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 11th. 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,
Dear Mayor and City Council members,
I thank you for your unanimous approval of homeless senior housing at Heritage Square South in 2018. I also want to thank you for your 100% vote in support of the Salvation Army proposal to build permanent supportive housing. I urge you to give final approval for both these proposals. Pasadena's homeless population will undoubtedly increase as a result of the Covid 19 crisis and its economic fallout. The Salvation Army proposal meets an urgent need and has not met with much opposition from neighbors. Heritage Square South  has wide-spread community support from churches and neighbors in Northwest Pasadena. Both are ideal sites. Heritage Square and the Salvation Army site  are both close to amenities that this population needs: a pharmacy, grocery store, restaurants and public transportation. And, Heritage Square South 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.  Both of these projects will not use the City's General Funds and will provide millions of dollars in economic benefits to our city because of the 20-20-20 rule. The need is urgent, and growing. The sooner we house our city’s homeless population, the better for our businesses and residents—but especially those without a home!

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.  

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