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Coalition Members Say City In a ‘Severe and Worsening’ Housing Crisis

Activist says upcoming meeting offers ‘golden opportunity’ to shape policy

Published on Monday, January 18, 2021 | 5:00 am

Several local housing organizations will discuss the city’s housing element from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday during the Zoom meeting titled “Planning Just and Fair Housing Solutions for our City.”

The Pasadena Affordable Housing Coalition, organized by Pasadenans Organizing for Progress (POP), Making Housing and Community Happen (MHCH), and Abundant Housing L.A. (AHLA), is calling for all Pasadena affordable housing advocates to attend the community forum to discuss the city’s housing element.

“Pasadena is the anchor city in the San Gabriel Valley. We are in the midst of a severe and worsening housing crisis,” stated Margaret Muñoz, a local organizer with AHLA.  

“It’s a crisis that strikes at the heart of many of the biggest challenges facing Pasadena and other cities,” Muñoz said.  “Homelessness and rent burdens are at all-time highs. It’s time for Pasadena housing activists to join with the city and write a housing policy that guides our future.”

California law requires cities to develop housing programs to address existing and future housing needs in their respective communities. To comply with state law and provide housing opportunities for residents, the city of Pasadena prepares a housing element. The housing element, a state-mandated chapter of the Pasadena General Plan, is meant to address the production, maintenance, and improvement of housing. 

The city must submit an updated housing element, which will guide the provisioning of housing in the city until 2028, to the state by October.  

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), which sets housing growth targets and requires jurisdictions to update their housing elements in compliance with these targets, is requiring the city to build 9,400 units of housing by 2029.

City officials have deemed the allocation impossible and appealed the requirement. But last week, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) denied appeals by the cities of Pasadena and South Pasadena.

“The housing element is a powerful tool to solicit community input in planning for sufficient housing for all income levels for the next eight years,” said MHCH Executive Director Jill Shook.  “We have a golden opportunity to participate in shaping this policy.”

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