Jill Shook was invited by Everyone In to speak in Alhambra on how our team won 20% of all new housing to be affordable in Pasadena.
This presentation was very well received! We hope you feel the same way. CLICK BELOW to download the presentation.
Inclusionary Housing Subcommittee
Inclusionary Housing (or Inclusionary Zoning-IZ) is like gleaning or a biblical tithe. Setting aside a percentage of all new housing to be affordable is a powerful way to provide much needed affordable units at no cost to a city, a county or portions of a community with certain zones. A few states have this policy state-wide, requiring every city to have a percent of all the housing stock to be affordable, such as Mass and New Jersey.
IZ has created thousands of affordable housing units nation-wide, at no cost to municipalities. There were 1,379 IZ ordinances identified in 886 jurisdictions with inclusionary housing programs located in 25 states and the District of Columbia at the end of 2016. In fact, this powerful policy has also generated revenue to build more affordable units. As of 2016, over a billion in fees produced approximately 200,000 more units. See: https://www.lincolninst.edu/sites/default/files/pubfiles/thaden_wp17et1_0.pdf
The incentive for residential developers to set aside a percentage of units to be affordable is typically density bonus laws. In CA, a state density bonus law allows this. (SB 1818). For example, if a developer includes 11% of the units in the residential development to be affordable at the very low-income level, they can receive up to 35% more units. This more than pays for the lower-income units within that complex. CA just passed a super density bonus, if 100% of the units are for Permanent Supportive Housing, there is an 80% density bonus!)
Most IZ ordinances require the following options: for all residential developers within a jurisdiction to set aside a certain percentage of their units as affordable, to donate land, to pay a fee or to build affordable housing off-site.
Our organization was part of a city-wide campaign that successfully advocated for IZ in Pasadena in 2001. As of March 2019, this ordinance has resulted in the creation of 579 affordable housing units at no cost to the city by requiring that 15% of all new housing include affordable units.
In early 2018 we learned that our city was to update our inclusionary policy. So, we formed a team to study how we might strengthen this policy. From the summer of 2008 to the summer of 2019 our team researched inclusionary policies from across the US and sought to learn best practices. We called planning staff members and asked, “Is this policy working? Is it producing units? Why or why not?
IZ must be tailored for each jurisdiction. Then we began to ask, what would work in Pasadena? What would our city support? In many ways, it’s like a big balancing act. What percent provides a fair return for a developer? And what percent might be so high that it would stop development? We often heard from our Planning Director and some of our City Council members as we were vetting our proposals with them, “You can’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg of affordable units.”
IZ is very complex, so to learn more, in the fall of 2018, Jill Shook attended the Grounded Solutions which was in Pittsburg, PA that year. Grounded Solutions provides excellent technical support for communities interested in bringing this policy. See: https://groundedsolutions.org/strengthening-neighborhoods/inclusionary-housing This powerful conference provided more clarity and mentors across the US. After much research our proposal for our city was completed in time to be included in the city’s official feasibility study, contacted out to AECOM. Upon evaluating our proposal, they included our and recommended to end trade downs (where developers could provide fewer than the required 15 % of affordable units if the units were at the lower income levels), but recommended that the policy remain at 15%. With the help of Phil Burns, an urban planner on our team, using AECOM’s proto-types we were able to prove that developers would still receive10-12% return even at an increase to 20% or 25% of all new housing units be affordable. With computer in hand one by one, we ran these numbers in front of our city’s housing director and City Council members.
When the inclusion update was finally on the City Council agenda we showed up in numbers, with excellent talking points, see: https://makinghousinghappen.net/2019/03/22/inclusionary-housing-proposal-from-the-greater-pasadena-affordable-housing-group/ We had successfully influenced the city to increase it to 20 percent. They were so committed to the 20% that they argued with others proposing a smaller amount. Today in Candidate forums we hear our City Council members talking about how proud they are of our 20% and how the ended trade downs.
Adjacent cities are also now encouraged to go create strong IZ policies. We are now working on creating a regional Community Land Trust whereby cities can place their new Inclusionary units to be monitored.
We have put our Inclusionary team to bed but are open to help support other advocate groups in this process. contact Jill Shook at firstname.lastname@example.org
CLICK HERE to access the Homeless Housing Subcommittee Team Portal
Homeless Housing Subcommittee
In 2018, this subcommittee successfully advocated for the approval of 69 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless seniors at Heritage Square South after a nine-month campaign. On Dec 17th, 2018, the City Council not only approved these units, Mayor Tornek surprised everyone with his recommendation to use the vacant city-own YWCA for homeless housing. This historic landmark was designed by the famous architect Julia Morgan (who also designed the Hearst Castle).
GPAHG’s Homeless Housing Subcommittee is partnering with Union Station, Faith Partnership to End Homelessness and other groups to advocate that the city not only to use this Y for homeless housing but also to create enough homeless housing to reduce our homeless count by at least 50% in the five years. In addition to advocating for homeless housing at the Y, this Subcommittee is supporting the 2018 ordinance that facilitates the conversion of motels to homeless housing by doing community engagement in East Pasadena, where many motels are located and where there is rampant NIMBYism.
If you are interested in joining this effort, contact Anthony Manousos at email@example.com.
Accessory Dwelling Units Subcommittee
In 2018 California state lawmakers saw that one way to address the state’s growing affordable housing crisis would be to ease restrictions on granny flats, otherwise known as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). GPAHG’s ADU subcommittee worked tirelessly with state and local players to convince Pasadena to abide by this state law and loosen its excessive restrictions. With such diligent research, steady persistence, and the power of a cohesive team, Pasadena’s overly restrictive policies were overturned, and a more reasonable local ordinance is now in place. Today any single-family homeowner can convert their garage into an ADU, no matter their property size, or build an attached or detached ADU if their property size in 7,200 sf.
Only one ADU was built between 2001 and 2017, since 2017. GPAHG also succeeded in preventing the $20,000+ impact fee from being applied not only to ADUs for lower income folks, but also for family members. ADUs are being built for family members, but not for market rate or affordable rental due to the impact fees. The ADU Subcommittee continues to monitor the implementation of City’s ordinance to make sure it is done properly and fairly.
CLICK HERE to access the ADU Subcommittee Team Portal
CLICK HERE to access the Safe Parking Subcommittee Team Portal
Safe Parking Subcommittee
This subcommittee was started to establish a “Safe Parking” program in the San Gabriel Valley area. Typically, Safe Parking is a free 12-hour night-time parking program for people who are living in their vehicles. A security guard and a restroom at a minimum are provided. In Los Angeles county, there are over 15,700 persons living in 9100 vehicles (cars, vans, campers, and R.V.s) each night, per the L.A. County Homeless Count performed in January 2018. These vehicle dwellers represent over 25% of the population of people experiencing homelessness in LA County. The goal of GPAHG’s Safe Parking program is to provide not only safe parking but also the case management needed for those experiencing homelessness to find jobs and supportive housing.
If you are interested in joining this effort, contact: Thomas Petersmeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.