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.
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.
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
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 celebrates spring at Henry Coe State Park