In 2016, RCD created our Community Development department and adopted the following mission to guide the new initiative: developing safe and healthy neighborhoods by building resident leadership and action, supporting and pursuing future real estate development that benefits the community’s goals, and collaborating with stakeholders to expand services, policies and programs that meet local need. In the past 6 years, we have made substantial progress in supporting vibrant communities through our work in unincorporated Alameda County and dedicating resources to bring community-serving organizations to our mixed-use buildings.
RCD determined that Ashland, Cherryland, San Lorenzo and Hayward Acres, would be our pilot community area to build on our investments in Ashland Place, a newly constructed affordable housing building with commercial space that is utilized by emerging food entrepreneurs. Often known as the Eden Area, the community has a history of neglect and disinvestment not found in neighboring cities that do not face the challenges of being unincorporated. Despite the challenges that residents face daily in the Eden Area, we saw resilience, hope, and an opportunity to strengthen community while preventing displacement.
We are the lead organization for the Ready2Recover Vaccination and Resilience Coalition, funded by the Alameda County Public Health Department. We are collaborating with Eden United Church of Christ, La Familia, Umoja Health Partners, and the Regional Pacific Islander Taskforce to educate and engage with residents around COVID-19 vaccinations, anti-eviction education, rental assistance, and food and other basic needs assistance.
In partnership with Eden United Church of Christ, RCD is leading the assessment and planning for a new empowerment hub in the Eden Area which will connect the community to services and programs that support economic security and well-being. We began research and planning phase in the fall of 2022 and will launch a pilot in fall 2023. This new center is a continuation of our work to expand culturally relevant community services to families in the Eden Area. The pilot program will provide intensive case management to 35 residents, program and service referrals to over 100 additional residents, and $1,000 in direct aid as emergency support.
As part of our community development work in the Eden Area, RCD helped develop leaders and organize community members to build local power. In 2018, RCD staff, community members, and our local nonprofit partners created A link to: My Eden Voice to unite grassroots community organizations in the Eden Area.
My Eden Voice’s mission is to build community power to win campaigns that advance racial, housing, economic, language, and environmental justice for the urban unincorporated Alameda County communities.
Over the last three years, 250+ Eden area residents have participated in meetings and 30 community members graduated from a leadership academy. My Eden Voice has already successfully advocated for more than $33 million in federal assistance for the unincorporated communities, as well as expand funding for emergency food distributions and COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs.
In 2022, RCD concluded its incubation of My Eden Voice. The organization is now partnering with In-Advance to become an independent nonprofit.
This work was made possible only through the work of our partners. Thank you to Alameda County Community Food Bank, Alameda County Community Development Agency, Alameda County Health Care Services, Alameda County Dave Brown’s Office, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley’s Office, Eden United Church of Christ, Hayward Area Recreation District, La Familia and REACH Ashland Youth Center.
Our mission to preserve and promote affordability extends beyond housing. By including groundfloor
commercial spaces as part of our affordable housing developments, we’re able to provide affordable, stable spaces for locally-owned businesses and community-serving nonprofits.
Market commercial rents within transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly areas are often unaffordable to first-time business owners and community-serving nonprofits. RCD’s ground-floor commercial spaces bring economic opportunity to local residents, provide critical services to help neighborhoods thrive and help support a vibrant community.
While RCD properties have always been home to community-serving organizations, through our recent focus on this area we are able to dedicate the resources needed to actively bring these organizations to our established and new developments. In addition to engaging potential nonprofit tenants early in the development process, we also provide technical assistance as needed to ensure their long-term stability and financial sustainability. By engaging with community partners early on in the design process, we are able to thoughtfully design the space to address programming.
20 completed commercial properties
6 planned commercial properties
90% of commercial spaces leased by community-serving non-profits or BIPOC businesses
50,500 square feet of commercial space