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Upcoming event to focus on new housing law, “Yes in God’s Backyard”

A new law allows religious institutions and nonprofit colleges to build housing on their property. 

Event to support local church leaders and non-profits to understand new housing law, "Yes in God's Backyard." Photo: acilo from Getty Images Signature

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. — Faith leaders, developers, nonprofit colleges and other community members will convene on March 14 to discuss and strategize how to move forward following the passage of new housing legislation known as “Yes in God’s Backyard.”

Why it matters: This new law aims to increase housing availability for a variety of income levels, which is much needed considering the state’s ambitious goal to create 2.5 million homes over the next eight years.

Currently, Redlands has a housing production target of 4,219 additional units, which includes a 20% buffer, by 2029, according to the City’s Development Services Department.

Details: Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) was signed into law in October of 2023 and went into effect on Jan 1, 2024. This game-changing housing legislation gives religious institutions and nonprofit colleges the ability to build housing on their land regardless of zoning laws. 

Previously, California zoning laws prohibited these institutions from building multi-family housing, but with SB 4, the process to create affordable, multi-family homes on land they own will be streamlined and local zoning restrictions will no longer be a hindrance. So long as the homes comply with existing environmental protections, the construction will be approved, thanks to the new law.

The event: Community members are invited to join the discussion surrounding SB 4 on Thursday, March 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Water of Life Church in Fontana. 

Two keynote speakers will weigh in on the topic and share their expertise. One of the speakers is Reverend Mark E. Whitlock, who serves as the senior pastor of Reid Temple A.M.E. Church in Glen Dale, Maryland. Its congregation has over seven thousand members and the church owns and manages a 252-unit apartment building and an additional 17 acres of land that is being used for a community development corporation, an elementary school, and an online bookstore, in addition to other projects. 

The second speaker is Reverend Patrick G. Duggan, the executive director of UCC Church Building and Loan Fund. Duggan has over 30 years of experience in bi-vocational ministry, serving the local church while also working in the public sector in fields including education, government, nonprofit organizations and economic and community development. 

Other panelists at the event are local faith leaders who are building housing in San Bernardino County and a local nonprofit developer with experience building on faith-based land. 

The Housing Convening is sponsored by the Coalition for Cultural Change, San Bernardino County, Uplift, Inland Social Housing Collective and Faith Advisory Council for Community Transformation.

Moving forward: To register for the event, click on the button below. 

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