In December, we celebrated the groundbreaking of Rick Judd Commons in Concord! As the first new affordable development in Concord in over 20 years, Rick Judd Commons will bring 62 homes for low-income and working families to the city. Located near the Concord BART Station, this new affordable housing community will provide residents access to a variety of regional and local amenities including Downtown and Todos Santos Plaza.
One-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will be available in this development for individuals and families earning between 30 – 60% of the area median income. The development will have ample amenities including a multi-purpose community room, outdoor terrace and on-site property management and resident services.
The property is named after Rick Judd, a long-standing member of RCD’s Board of Directors from 2004 until his passing in 2021. We are honored to dedicate this new building to a community and cause that Rick cared about deeply. We can’t wait to welcome families into their new rental homes in 2024!
We also excited to announce the start of construction of Bell St. Gardens – an adaptive reuse development which will transform a former motel and adjacent empty lot into 126 new affordable apartments in central Fremont. This infill development leverages the existing structures and infrastructure to create a new community with higher quality homes, upgraded amenities and new supportive services.
The prominent ground floor of A link to: Quetzal Gardens – now called La Esquina Quetzal – is home to three unique and complementary community-serving organizations. Along with A link to: SOMOS Mayfair and the A link to: Latino Business Foundation of Silicon Valley, A link to: Excite Credit Union recently opened their doors to the East San Jose community. By opening a new branch at Quetzal Gardens, Excite is continuing their dedication to bringing financial services, resources, and education to underserved communities.
With a Spanish-speaking representative always on-site, Excite is able to provide financial resources specifically tailored to the East San Jose community. We sat down with Karen Hernandez, a Community Relations Specialist at Excite, to learn more about their work and what being part of La Esquina Quetzal means to them and the families that they serve.
“We were already working in East San Jose and moving into Quetzal Gardens helps us say: we are here! Before, we would come to the community but our closest branches were on the southside. For a lot of our community members, where a vehicle might not be an option, it can be complicated to get to our other branches. Coming here just made it easier for our community to get into contact with us.”
Now, Excite’s community relations team can continue to provide financial literacy and education outreach to local schools while pointing directly to a nearby branch that is part of a larger hub of community-specific resources. Just next door to Excite Credit Union is SOMOS Mayfair, a nonprofit dedicated to building power and supporting families in East San Jose, and the Latino Business Foundation of Silicon Valley, a nonprofit that supports small businesses and organizations.
“I think it works wonderfully! When it comes to referrals, for members of the community who are self-employed or have their own business for example, we can walk them over to SOMOS Mayfair or the Latino Business Foundation for resources. This is more helpful than sending a referral which might get lost or is hard to follow-up on.”
In addition to providing typical financial services and education outreach, Excite Credit Union brings a unique service to East San Jose. As a majority Hispanic community, some members face the challenge of accessing loans and financial services as Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) holders. ITIN is a tax processing number the Internal Revenue Service issues to an individual who needs to report income but is ineligible to obtain a Social Security number. Bigger banks, and even other credit unions, often do not accept an ITIN in lieu of a Social Security number which restricts the availability of financial services for these families.
“We see a lot of struggle with something as simple as having a vehicle. We sometimes have mothers who come in, hardworking, with 2-3 jobs, taking the bus every day because most banks do not accept an ITIN. We will provide loans – anything from a vehicle loan, personal loan or mortgage – for an ITIN holder which makes the biggest difference in the world.”
Quetzal Gardens is a true, deep investment in East San Jose. What once was an empty parking lot is a now a brand-new home for 72 low-income households and three organizations dedicated specifically to bringing resources to the surrounding community.
“Being here in the heart of East San Jose, I think our community really sees the difference we can make and how we are really here for them.”
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