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Staying Connected

This is the inaugural column of a new regularly updated “blog” of current news, happenings, and action steps published by Housing Claremont and our action movement, Inland Abundant Housing.


St. Ambrose Episcopal Church—Doing public outreach right!


Steven Felschundneff,  reporter and  photographer for the Claremont Courier, did a fine job of reporting in depth on  the February 8th community public meeting at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church. (Read article here.) He described the background about their exciting plans to create permanently affordable senior housing with a highly respected nonprofit developer, National CORE. (The seldom-used full name is ‘National Community Renaissance of California.’) 


While agreeing with his coverage, I would add a few observations intended for housing advocates. The meeting was a great success for several reasons, and is a model for other congregations.

 

  1. The rector, Rev. Jessie Smith, was very well prepared with a brief but beautiful statement about how this project is part of the mission and values of the congregation, serving their neighbors. She set just the right tone for civility and  empathy, for polite questions and transparent honest answers. 

  2. The congregation had been well briefed over a long period of time in advance and are very supportive.

  3. Some serious outreach and organizing assured that 80 supporters were present from other local churches and from the neighborhood. (27 were Pilgrim Place resident neighbors.) The room had been set for 40 and chairs were brought in at the last moment. The NIMBY contingent was present, but few in number and dispirited. Sarah Walker, National CORE Senior Project Manager later wrote “It was truly heartening to have so many supporters in the room and it is already having a positive impact on the timeline and viability of the St Ambrose development.”  That is the reason for supportive advocacy! 

  4. The room was welcoming, with lots of informative posters, handouts, refreshments, and multiple well informed National CORE staff mingling and  answering questions before and after the program. 

  5. The principal presenters, led by Sarah Walker, briefly but with plenty of detail, covered the development plans, tenant selection process, and services to be provided to these residents. 

  6. The team are carefully listening to neighbor and social media reactions, prepared to do more outreach wherever needed. 



For more information about the St. Ambrose development, visit http://nationalcore.org/stambrose.

---Posted by Gene Boutilier, President Housing Claremont & a St. Ambrose neighbor. 


INTERNSHIP AVAILABLE!

Housing Claremont is inviting one or two young activists to a paid part-time internship from

March 2024 until summer. Dates, hours are highly negotiable. Tackle a specific organizing

assignment to build the local momentum of supporters of fair affordable abundant housing.

Start with an inquiry and show of possible interest to geneboutilier@gmail.com.


NEW FUND ESTABLISHED!

February 2024 Claremont United Church of Christ has matched a start-up grant of $5,000 from

Housing Claremont to establish a new dedicated account, now open for additional donations at

the CUCC web site or at their office. Together, a donor committee will use the account to “have

the back” of congregations in the Pomona Valley region who are considering possible use of a

portion of their property for permanent lower-income housing and services for tenants in need.

The funds are for pre-development explorations and community outreach.


VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 1

California voters will be returning their mail-in ballots well in advance of the March

5th Primary “election day.” On this ballot there is only one initiative, Proposition 1. It

has the unwieldy title ‘Behavioral Health Services Program and Bond Measure.’

Housing Claremont recommends a “Yes” vote.



Prop. 1 “Treatment, not Tents,” asks voters to redefine how counties spend some

of the money collected from a special “millionaire’s tax” to allocate a share of it for

housing for people with behavioral health illnesses. These are existing, not new, tax

revenues already used for mental health services, to prioritize Californians with the

deepest unhoused troubles, many living in encampments with severe mental health

needs, and sometimes disabling addictions. Not enough of the Mental Health Services Act

dollars are getting to the people with the most persistent mental illnesses, specifically people

who are chronically homeless, so let’s reprioritize.


Combined with changes in the distribution of existing services is a large new bond

measure, 6.38 billion dollars, for building or preserving permanent supportive housing

and residential treatment facilities for that same population. The 11 thousand new

behavioral health beds and housing and the 26 thousand outpatient treatment slots will

touch many tens of thousands of people’s lives every year. Long waitlists plague the state’s

inpatient mental health system. Doctors say after initial crisis intervention there’s nowhere to

send stable patients who need long-term treatment focused on recovery.


In surveys, an overwhelming majority of Californians want to fix the unacceptable

homelessness, poverty, lack of housing, and the related mental health and addiction

crises in the United States.



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