Latest news from RCD – Spring 2023

Pipeline Update – 6 New Affordable Housing Communities in Construction!

With six 100% affordable housing communities currently in construction, we are slated to add homes for more than 1,000 residents to our portfolio by 2025. RCD’s hard work and resilience is paying off! These developments will bring much-needed affordable housing to cities around the Bay Area including Berkeley, Emeryville, Fremont, Concord, Milpitas and unincorporated Alameda County. 

In addition to creating almost 550 new rental apartments, half of these developments include commercial space thoughtfully designed for non-profits that support the local community. Each one of these new communities represents a continued investment by RCD, local jurisdictions, and the state of California to build new affordable and supportive homes so that all members of our community can safely live and thrive in the Bay Area.

Save the Date: Madrone Groundbreaking Celebration

May 18, 11am to 12pm

Join us for the Groundbreaking Celebration of Madrone Terrace, a new 100% affordable housing development in Ashland! We will be celebrating this milestone with light refreshments and remarks from our partners and supporters.

Madrone Terrace will create 79 new rental homes for low-income families with 20 apartments dedicated to households transitioning out of homelessness. The ground floor of the development will feature a day care and community space owned and operated by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District. We are excited to celebrate this milestone and our continued investment in unincorporated Alameda County.

RCD Portfolio Map of properties in construction in April 2023

Anita Thrives at The Ambassador

The Ambassador, which opened in 2013, is a well-established community in the heart of Emeryville. The development provides 68 affordable homes along with a community room, interior courtyard and on-site resident services.

Ola Colemon, RCD Resident Services Coordinator, plans activities for the Ambassador residents that promote connections and community, including coffee and breakfast chats and yoga classes. She also connects residents with resources to support their housing retention, economic stability and employment/education, and health and wellness. Ola recently met with Anita to capture her story about the positive effect of living in affordable housing on her life. 

Anita moved to the Ambassador apartments in 2014. She was living in the California Hotel nearby when a studio became available. 

“The good thing is I have a roof over my head and don’t have to be on the streets,”  says Anita.

Since living at the Ambassador, Anita has had the opportunity to become more involved in the community, including participating in the East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO) leadership academy – a program that prepares affordable housing residents to be effective advocates, organizers, and leaders. 

Anita at Ambassador

Anita in The Ambassador community room

The Ambassador provides 68 affordable homes for families. The main entry, shown here, features a sculpture and landscaped planters.

She also loves to participate in community events at the Ambassador like the ones that Ola plans for residents.

“I love doing workshops in the community,” adds Anita. “I help out at the Ambassador at the monthly events like last year’s National Night Out and the Winter Social, and I facilitated the AIDS Awareness workshop.” 

Mostly, Anita is thankful to be in affordable housing that caps her rent at 30% of her income. She credits this cap to helping her stay stably housed for so many years. 

“Living at Ambassador and in affordable housing has been helpful to me in keeping me stable and grounded in community.” 

Staff Spotlight: Introducing Courtney Pal, RCD’s Policy Manager

We sat down with Courtney Pal, our new Policy Manager, to learn more about her and her recently established position.  RCD created the new Policy Manager position to expand RCD’s efforts to impact local, regional, and state policy, represent RCD in advocacy coalitions, and build stronger relationships with local governments to expand RCD’s affordable housing development.  

Where were you before you came to RCD?

I joined RCD from the City of Fremont Planning Division, where I worked as an Associate Planner. As a planner, I saw the impact that affordable housing has on people’s lives and the challenges – like the vast and complex financing processes, complicated entitlement and land use practices – that exist. I worked with RCD before and knew their reputation for ensuring their developments were serving residents and the larger community. 

Tell us a little more about this position and what you’ll be working on.
My position has three main areas of work: policy advocacy, relationship building, and capacity development. The policy advocacy area is the most visible because I’m publicly supporting regulatory and legislative initiatives that further RCD’s mission. By sharing statistics and stories directly from our development experience, I can add a unique and valuable perspective to the conversation around affordable housing policies.  

However, we won’t be able to accomplish the major policy wins that we need alone. That’s why another part of my role is deepening the relationships that we have with partner organizations, advocacy coalitions, local governments, and elected officials. Finally, I will also be working to build and strengthen capacity among other RCD staff to advocate for affordable housing developments. Ultimately, these three areas come together to help RCD build the political power that we need to develop affordable housing that serves our residents and their communities.

Courtney traveled to Sacramento in support of SB 341

What are you excited about for this position?

There’s so much momentum for affordable housing in the region right now! Cities are working through the A link to: housing element process, which requires them to commit to implementing actionable policies to facilitate affordable housing production. There is also momentum to make more financing available and trying to streamline funding processes at both the local and state levels. RCD saw these actors stepping up around us and we knew that we needed to be part of that conversation. I’m excited to deeply engage with the outward conversations around affordable housing and provide specific and actionable policy feedback that is drawn from our experience as an affordable housing developer. 

Can you give us an example of this kind of work?
One aspect of the position is looking at different funding guidelines and making sure that RCD’s developments can remain competitive and receive the funding needed. For example, the A link to: Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program, a cornerstone state funding program for affordable housing, has a requirement that jurisdictions need to have a compliant housing element. This spring, we applied for AHSC funding for three developments that were all in jurisdictions that didn’t have a compliant housing element at that time. We recognized this could be a big challenge for us to get around in the application process. 

Courtney at Henry Coe

Courtney celebrates spring at Henry Coe State Park

Thankfully, there was already a movement on this issue brought by one of our partners, California Housing Partnership, at the state level. I traveled to Sacramento and was a witness in support of this bill to ensure our voice was heard on the unintended consequences of the existing law.

And now a fun question! What is your favorite place in the Bay Area?

I live in San Francisco and just love how many beautiful parks there are! Some of my favorites are Buena Vista Park, Twin Peaks, Glen Canyon and Mount Davidson. I’m also a big fan of closing roads to vehicle traffic so have been enjoying car-free JFK at Golden Gate Park.  


Outside San Francisco, I love Henry Coe State Park. It’s so cool to go and feel very remote and surrounding by hills though in reality you’re just outside San Jose. It’s a good quick getaway. 

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