Building the Movement: Housing Claremont is joining a powerful movement with Abundant Housing LA, YIMBY (“Yes,In My Back Yard, ”) and many other advocates.

Abundant Housing LA is a grassroots nonprofit organization working to solve Southern California’s housing crisis by advocating for more housing at all levels of affordability. AHLA envisions a Los Angeles County and region where everyone can find a home they can afford, that meets their needs, in their neighborhood of choice, and where we can live in sustainable and diverse communities that are not car-dependent.

To realize this vision, we need housing abundance. We believe housing abundance is a necessary precondition to progress on issues we care about:

  • Affordability: we believe that nobody should have to spend more than a third of their income on housing, and that building more homes will make housing more affordable.
  • Human Rights: we believe that housing is a human right, and that Los Angeles’ mass street homelessness is a human rights violation that is a direct consequence of the city’s housing shortage. We have a moral obligation to house everyone.
  • Livability: we believe that people should be able to live in pleasant, walkable neighborhoods near jobs, with a high quality of life.
  • Inclusion: we believe that people should be able to find housing that meets their needs at every phase of life, without having to leave their neighborhood.
  • Sustainability: we believe that legalizing walkable urban density to limit sprawl, preserve habitat, reduce car dependency and fossil fuel use, and ensure climate resilience is critical to ensuring the long term health of our planet.
  • Racial justice: we believe that the housing shortage is rooted in a long history of racist practices designed to maintain segregation, and that it is impossible to redress America’s history of systemic racism without addressing housing policy.

Creating housing abundance without exacerbating displacement or harming vulnerable tenants requires a four-part policy approach. We need to legalize more homes by reforming zoning to end apartment bans. We must also reform permitting processes to make homes easier to build. To prevent displacement and protect tenants from market swings, we have to strengthen renters’ rights. Finally, we have an obligation to fund affordable housing and end homelessness.

We work toward a Los Angeles with abundant, inexpensive housing near good jobs and convenient, sustainable transportation by supporting reforms to land use laws like zoning codes, by speaking in favor of new housing projects, and by doing research and public education on the benefits of more housing. We support a holistic, development-without-displacement approach, and work towards more public funds to build subsidized affordable housing.

SB 4—also known as the Yes in God’s Back Yard bill—gives nonprofit colleges and churches, mosques and other faith institutions the right to build affordable housing on their land. Many faith and charitable institutions have excess land that could accommodate affordable housing but have been held back by the current zoning laws in their cities. SB 4 removes these barriers and streamlines the process so these institutions can begin providing some of the affordable housing
California so desperately needs. “SB 4 will open up 170,000 acres of land for affordable housing. It’s a game changer,” tweeted Senator Wiener.

Read more about SB 4 here:


“The Core Four are like columns that support a house. All four need to be strong for the house to stand. The house also needs a solid foundation; in our case, the foundation is the goal of promoting racial justice and equity.

Similarly, while cities should adopt as many pro-housing reforms as possible, it is also important to implement some policies from each of the four categories, in order to solve the housing crisis while promoting racial justice and equity.”

The Foundation for Abundant Housing: The Legalize more homes • Make them easier to build • Fund Affordable Housing • Strengthen renter’s rights

Expediting the Construction of New Housing, Protecting Tenants, and Keeping Housing Affordable

Governor Newsom: 56 bills signed into law Oct 11, 2023 on housing, homelessness and tenant rights
Governor Newsom sign an extensive housing package consisting of 56 bills to help address California’s decades-in-the-making housing crisis by simplifying and expediting the construction of new housing, protecting tenants, and keeping housing affordable.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he has signed 56 bills into law that incentivize and reduce barriers to housing and support the development of more affordable homes. This legislation streamlines housing developments, allows institutions like colleges and religious organizations to use portions of their property to build housing, and continues a state statute used to hold local communities accountable for their fair share of housing.

Since taking office, Governor Newsom and the Legislature have invested $30 billion in affordable housing production and enacted dozens of CEQA reforms into law. In addition, Governor Newsom championed the creation of the Housing Accountability Unit at the California Department of Housing and Community Development to make sure cities and counties fulfill their legal responsibilities to plan and permit their fair share of housing. This focus on accountability has in part led to a 15-year high in housing starts in California.

“It’s simple math – California needs to build more housing and ensure the housing we have is affordable. In partnership with the Legislature, we have advanced billions of dollars to that end. These 56 bills build on that work, supporting tenants and ensuring cities are held accountable to plan for and permit their fair share of housing.” -Governor Newsom

“California desperately needs to ramp up housing production, and the Governor’s action helps put us on a path to achieve that goal.” “The era of saying no to housing is coming to an end. We’ve been planting seeds for years to get us to a brighter housing future, and today we’re continuing strongly down that path.” -Senator Scott Weiner

Project Update: 1364 N. Towne Ave

A summary of a Nov. 2, 2023 article in the Claremont Courier by by Steven Felschundneff | Thank you to the Claremont Courier for permission. You should subscribe to this excellent not-for-profit local news source. )

Developer preparing to build affordable apartments for veterans on Towne

The nation’s largest nonprofit developer of affordable housing has purchased a former church site in Claremont where it plans to build an apartment building for veterans, including some who are unhoused. Mercy Housing California purchased the former Solid Rock Church and plans to build a three-story building with 74 rental apartments on the 1.89-acre parcel. Mercy plans to begin construction in December 2025 and be done in fall 2027.

The land was purchased using money from Mercy Housing’s $47 million California Land Acquisition Fund, which was launched in 2022 to make the company more nimble in California’s highly competitive real estate market. The fund is financed through partnerships with large organizations such as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo Bank, and the California Endowment.

The former church site is a deep rectangular lot directly behind the commercial development on Foothill Boulevard where Stater Bros. market is located. The 74 apartments will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units, including one for the onsite manager. The structure will be on the south side of the property and will stretch nearly the entire depth of the parcel. The north side will include 78 parking spaces for a ratio of 1.1 spaces per residential unit. There will be separate age appropriate playgrounds, an open space with a meandering path, and a dog run.

The units will be available to veterans and families where the veteran is the head of the household. Prospective tenants would need to earn between 30% and 60% of Los Angeles County’s area median income, which according to the latest figures from the state Department of Housing and Community Development is $98,200 per year. Tenants would also have to agree to background and credit checks and not have any misdemeanor convictions in the last three years or felony convictions in the previous four years. Anyone who is on the national sex offender registry would be rejected.

Maximum occupancy, according to Housing and Urban Development rules, are two people per bedroom plus one more person. So, a three-bedroom apartment could have seven occupants. If the veteran head of household dies then Mercy will help the family find new housing, but they cannot stay as tenants because they would no longer fit the building’s criteria, according to Bayley.

“A development qualifies for SB35 if it consists of 50% or more affordable housing, is in basic compliance with the Planning Code, and involves no demolition of housing units or a historic structure,” according to the FAQ Mercy published for the development.

Mercy Housing California is the largest regional division of Mercy Housing Incorporated, which was founded in the early 1980s by Sister Timothy Marie O’Roark, a member of Sisters of Mercy of Omaha. According to Mercy Housing’s website, the initial investment into the fledgling nonprofit was a $500,000 check from Sisters of Mercy Omaha. In California alone the company has 159 properties which provide affordable housing for 11,410 households. The company manages all of its properties through Mercy Housing Management Group which “is committed to providing quality property management services that reinforce the philosophy
that all residents deserve respect dignity and a place to call home,” according to a news release.

Project Update: 1321 E. Holt Ave., Pomona

Send a brief message of thanks and congratulations to the Development Department of the Cesar Chavez Foundation welcoming this much needed project to our region. Email:

With solid community support, the Cesar Chavez Foundation is building “Chris Hartmire Plaza” a 90-unit affordable housing project, comprised of 30 one-bedroom units, 30 two-bedroom units, and 30 three-bedroom units on a 2.3 acre vacant property. The future residents will be low-income families and homeless veterans earning between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income. Some of the units will be reserved for families and individuals at risk of homelessness or with disabilities.

The property is named after Rev. Chris Hartmire, who was for years a resident at Pilgrim Place in Claremont. Chris worked with civil rights and labor leader Cesar Chavez and other early organizers before there was a farm worker union. Hartmire selflessly dedicated himself for decades to building what became the United Farm Workers (UFW). Always humble and soft- spoken, Chris was an early “Freedom Rider” in the south who inspired countless women and men to activism and “servanthood” in civil rights, immigrant rights, overcoming homelessness, and opportunities for very low-income workers to have better lives.

Designed by Onyx Architects as highly sustainable and aiming for LEED certification, the five-story building will include a community center, laundry facilities and a pocket park with children’s amenities. The community will also feature on-site social service programs provided by Tri-Cities Mental Health Center and a major ground-floor health clinic which will be operated by East Valley Community Health Center providing medical, dental, and mental health services to the East Valley and Pomona Communities.

Financing for the $75.8 million project includes:

  • 28 project-based vouchers from the Housing Authority of Pomona
  • $58 million in construction financing from City
  • $13 million in subordinate construction financing provided through a partnership between CPC, UnitedHealth Group and CSH
  • $20.8 million from The California Department of Housing and Community
    Development provided through their Affordable Housing and Sustainable
    Communities and No Place Like Home programs
  • $1.7 million from the City of Pomona in the form of a development impact fee
    note and permanent local housing allocation funds
  • $4.6 million in grant funds from California Housing Accelerator
  • $1 million into project provided by The San Gabriel Valley Regional Housing Trust

    May there be many other much needed housing developments in our region.

Project Update: 740 E. Foothill Blvd., San Dimas

There has been significant local opposition to a much-needed well-designed apartment building proposed for 740 E Foothill in an unincorporated county area adjacent to San Dimas and La Verne. The 43 apartment homes will serve 42 households of seniors experiencing or at risk of homelessness and a unit set aside for an onsite property manager.

For details about the project click here

On the website is an easy sign-on form to say Yes! I support the 740 Foothill development and an option to say “Please add me to the 740 Foothill Community Forum”  to receive development updates. This message of support will bring encouragement to our LA County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, balancing out the NIMBY opposition to affordable urgently needed housing in our extended neighborhood.

Housing Claremont Supports City Measure To Protect Renters

Zachary Courser, president of Housing Claremont, wrote to Claremont’s mayor in support of the city’s proposed measure to protect renters in danger of eviction. Assembly Bill (AB) 1482 has caused a temporary increase in the number of no-fault eviction notices in Los Angeles County. This is due to the fact that landlords have an opportunity to issue no-fault evictions before AB 1482’s more stringent protections come into effect on January 1, 2020.

“Los Angeles County cities such as Pomona, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Pasadena have passed ordinances to protect renters caught within a no-fault evictions protection gap. Claremont is affected by the same affordability problems as these communities, and landlords have the same incentives to issue no-fault evictions here.” Zachary Courser, President, Housing Claremont

At a December 10th council meeting, council members considered a “Temporary Homelessness Prevention No-Fault Eviction Rental Relocation Assistance Program” to budget $100,000 from the city’s Successor Housing Fund to create a temporary fund for those impacted by evictions due to this evictions protection gap.

Housing Claremont supported this measure, which was passed by the unanimously by the council with minor modifications.