Eden Housing

Commitment to
Diversity, Equity,
Inclusion and

Belonging

2022/23 REPORT

Our Mission and Core Values

Eden Housing creates and sustains high-quality affordable housing communities that advance equity and opportunity for all.

Deliver with integrity
Every day we do what’s right—for our team, our residents, our community, our state and our planet.

Champion our people
Our employees are our biggest asset—our investments in professional growth advance our mission.

Commit to equity and racial justice
We take an anti-racist approach— applying an equity lens across all our work.

Promote economic justice
We provide stable homes and supportive services—promoting economic mobility for the people we serve.

Commit for the long haul
Our work is never done—we focus on long-term partnerships and solutions to address the housing crisis.

Message to Our Eden Friends

We are proud to share with you our second annual Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Report that highlights our accomplishments this past year.

This report also serves as a blueprint for how we will continue to improve our DEIB efforts moving forward. This work does not come with a playbook, so we are framing our progress in alignment with our equity statement, knowing that success requires an ongoing commitment from each and every person at Eden.

This past year, we built on our foundation to promote racial, social and economic justice for all. We stood up, spoke out and engaged in litigation in communities where systemic racism has prevailed in the past and still today, when local citizens try to delay and derail our plans to build much-needed affordable housing. For us, it is crucial that our words and actions are not a reflexive reaction, but provide thoughtful evidence that the affordable housing industry with its established track record of overcoming obstacles and wide sphere of influence is intent on tackling inequality in housing.

Eden’s mission, core values and equity statement continue to guide us in our commitment to provide affordable housing that advances opportunity for all.

We strengthened our pipeline of diverse talent from entry level to leadership positions and our Board of Directors. We shared staff stories and enhanced employee benefits. We also expanded our efforts to advance digital inclusion and financial empowerment for the individuals and families who live in our housing.

Please also note that we added “belonging” to our commitment, knowing that diversity, equity and inclusion are the steppingstones to create the desired result of belonging—critical to our workplace culture and the populations we serve—where a diversity of people, experiences and ideas all contribute to advancing our mission.

We would like to thank our inaugural DEIB Council for establishing a foundation for this work, and our Board of Directors, leadership teams and every person at Eden for all they have done to encourage and promote a diverse, equitable, inclusive and belonging environment at Eden Housing.

Our journey proves that DEIB is in everyone’s interest, and everyone can make a difference. At Eden, we are committed to the long journey ahead, and appreciate our partners and friends who also share in this commitment.

Linda Mandolini
President and CEO

Jim Kennedy
Chair, Eden Board of Directors

Lorenzo Jones
VP of Diversity, Equity,
Inclusion & Belonging

Equity Statement

Since our founding in 1968, Eden Housing has been committed to building and preserving a home for everyone in need. We have a responsibility to address structural racism in our communities through our work in housing. The following equity statement outlines our commitment.

We advocate to eliminate the effects of racist, exclusionary land use policy and housing discrimination. We value racially and economically diverse communities because they are essential to our collective success.

We build inclusive, high-quality, well-designed, affordable housing throughout California. We do this because everyone has a right to live in safe, thriving neighborhoods with access to quality education and employment opportunities.

We believe that access to resident services and amenities allows people to live with dignity, experience lifelong growth and build financial security. We will apply an equity lens to our partnerships, programs, and supply chain to acknowledge that the opportunities we provide can be a pathway to economic success for people who have encountered the most significant barriers.

We celebrate our differences and strive to create change for good. We hire people who embody and champion the Eden Housing brand and mission. We value the unique perspective that derives from richly diverse residents and employees. We pledge to engage and elevate the voices of all cultures and backgrounds to increase our efficacy and understanding.

We promise to do our part. We promise to be mindful and consistent. We commit to scrutinize and improve our practices, policies, and programs. We will continue to increase our social awareness and ability to understand, appreciate and interact with people from different cultures and belief systems. We will deliver with integrity, champion our people, build enduring partnerships, and commit for the long haul.

We challenge our partners to join with us in the fight to end racist policies and practices in the housing industry. Together, our advocacy and concrete actions will help us change the world one corner at a time.

Championing Our People - DEIB - Eden Housing's 55th Anniversary

I’m proud of the work that the Board is doing to diversify its membership and create leadership succession.

John Gaffney
Eden Board Member

We are creating high-quality video content that breaks the negative stigmas surrounding affordable housing. We are also providing a voice for those who simply want a chance at economic justice.

Michael Dismuke
VP of Communications & Organizational Development

BELONGING is about unlocking an experience of being actively welcomed, valued and recognized in a meaningful work experience.

WE CELEBRATE our differences and strive to create change for good.

Eden’s Diversity at a Glance (513 employees, 17 board members)

Why Does Diversity Matter?

It gives us the best opportunity to be truly inclusive of different perspectives and learn and refine strategies to increase representation and inclusion in our work. It also helps us to better support the diverse population we serve.

0 %
of our staff
identify as women
0 %
of our staff are BIPOC
(Black, Indigenous,
People of Color)
0 %
of our executive
team and extended
leadership team
identify as women
0 %
of our executive
team and extended
leadership team are
minorities or BIPOC
0 %
of board members
identify as women
0 %
of board members
are BIPOC

Eden’s Board of Directors voted to implement director term limits in 2018 and added an additional two seats in 2019. These steps were made to create space for more diversity of race, culture, experience and expertise. The Board has completed the first in a series of DEIB Trainings, and all Board Committees ensure that annual work plans include topics that explore and demonstrate their ongoing commitment to embed diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in all of Eden’s work.

Striving to Create a Diverse and Equitable Workplace

WE PROMISE to do our part. We promise to be mindful and consistent.

One of our goals this year was to align our understanding of what Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging means to us at Eden Housing.

  • We partnered with Yavilah McCoy of Dimensions Educational Consulting, who led our Leadership Team through several days of training to construct a roadmap for how we can continue to grow and learn from one another to best support our employees. We also focused on specific needs and areas of opportunity in our work in affordable housing.
  • Our DEIB Council participated in a training with Dr. Sheryl White who led the team through a workshop entitled Compassionate Engagement and Cultural Humility in the Workplace.
  • We created Meaningful Conversation Listening Circles that bring employees together to share in moments that impact their lives. For instance, we provided space for staff to share thoughts after the mass shootings regionally and nationally, giving voice to their experiences through meaningful conversations.
  • We continued to recognize our diverse staff by celebrating heritage holidays such as Women’s Equality Day, Filipino American History Month, Indigenous Peoples Day and many more.
We launched a professional development program to provide staff with resources and coaching opportunities to work on self-development.

Kalenga Stern
Associate Director of Talent and Organizational Development

We created a video series showcasing our diverse staff and their cultural backgrounds, celebrating their uniqueness and the roads that brought them to Eden.

Zachary Faris
Talent Development Coordinator

We have set a goal to be intentional about training and development.  We want employees to build new skills while also feeling more connected to their team. Creating promotional opportunities is the secret sauce for retention in today’s job market. It’s not about where we are, but in what direction we are moving that most excites me.

Lisa Rydholm
Senior VP of People and Culture

Multiple Tools Provide Resources for Employees

Eden created a DEIB newsletter in English and Spanish, and an intranet site to highlight DEIB activities and opportunities for education and training, among other resources. We also created a video series for employees to share their stories.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

WE COMMIT to scrutinize and improve our practices, policies and programs.

At Eden Housing, we apply a DEIB lens across all departments and create specific action steps for more equitable outcomes. We continue to explore how to best show up in support of our people—our staff, the families and individuals who live in our housing and the 30,000 people on our wait list who need affordable housing—to promote racial, economic and social justice for all.

For example:

  • To reduce barriers to housing, we work to change policies governing tenant selection criteria to eliminate disqualifying factors directly related to tenancy.
  • To deepen our engagement with residents, we prioritize service offerings that respond to their needs with tracked outcomes such as Renter Advantage (financial counseling), Eden Savers (economic empowerment), and youth tutoring programs that provide one-on-one coaching and support.

We upgraded property sites’ public WiFi in community rooms and computer labs to provide more opportunities for people to access the internet.

Marland Taylor
VP of Technology

We led an analysis and implementation of a new tiered rent-burden-based policy which considers resident income when calculating increases, ensuring equitability for all.

Darnell Williams
Senior VP, Property Operations

We help to promote economic justice by providing the infrastructure to track vendor diversity metrics at Eden, contributing to fair and equitable outcomes in our communities.

Julia Cerna
Controller-Property Management Accounting

A sense of belonging was at the forefront of my mind when considering organizations of interest. Eden stood out to me for several reasons, most of which are the commitment to meaningfully contribute to the housing needs of California, the commitment to diversity at all levels including executive management, and the commitment to my educational and professional development as I endeavor to drive change.

Obinna Uwakah
Associate Property Developer

BELONGING is using our voice and our power to be a multiplier for good for our most vulnerable and underserved communities.

WE BELIEVE that access to resident services and amenities allows people to live with dignity, experience lifelong growth and build financial security.

A Few Resident Program Highlights:

  • Economic Empowerment: over 800 residents participated in programs and events ranging from financial coaching, family self-sufficiency training, bill payment assistance and financial and employment assistance.
  • Digital Inclusion: we received three new grants to expand the Eden Technology Access Program (ETAP) for middle school aged youth; and also expanded our adult digital literacy training with support from California Advanced Services Fund (CASF).
  • Expanded Learning Programs (ELP): an average of 340 students participated in sessions across 36 sites throughout the school year and summer.
  • Howard T. Collins Memorial Scholarships: $100,00 in scholarships were awarded to 29 students.

Youth Expanded Learning Program (ELP) Survey Responses:

94% “I learn how to do things in this program that help with my school work.”
95% “There is an adult in this program who cares about me.”
100% “I feel safe in this program.”

I would highly recommend the after-school program to other parents. It helps kids engage with other youth in the community and have fun learning.

Danielle
Parent, Gilroy

Seeing how much pride my parents had in owning their business inspired me to also work hard and want to give back to others. That’s why I choose to attend Samuel Merritt University, where I’m pursuing a nursing degree. Becoming a nurse has been my life-long dream, and I hope to one day work in an ER.

Diana Pinzon
Scholarship Recipient, Livermore

I’m proud of programs like the Scholarship Committee and the things we do to benefit our residents. What gives me the greatest sense of pride is our National Night Out celebrations where our staff and residents come out essentially to have a block party celebrating the community where they live.

Nick Randall
Eden Board Member

Other Action Areas to Advance Resident Equity and Social Justice:

  • California’s Solar in Multi-Family Affordable Housing (SOMAH) Program is being implemented to bring solar to property common areas and apartments. We have completed three installations and are in process with 15 more. More than half of the energy generated will offset tenant electric bills—with an estimated savings of $45 a month.
  • Resident Emergency Relocation policies, procedures and job aids put together by our legal department help improve our practices and ensure fair and equitable treatment of all residents.

Economic Empowerment Programs

WE CHALLENGE our partners to join with us in the fight to end racist policies and practices in the housing industry.

Eden continues to support a variety of statewide bills that will streamline the approval of affordable housing.

Eden is an early supporter of two bills that aim to curb abusive stalling tactics used by opponents of Eden’s Livermore Downtown Apartments project, delaying the project for several years and causing Eden to lose access to tens of millions of dollars in funding. These same tactics are regularly used by groups to prevent lower-income households and people of color from moving into their neighborhoods.

  • SB 439 (Skinner) would allow courts to approve a new, special motion to strike non-meritorious litigation targeting housing projects that have already been approved by local governments.
  • SB 393 (Glazer) would increase transparency around CEQA litigation by requiring petitioners to disclose their identities when they contribute more than $10,000 to a legal action—a provision that could help affordable housing providers successfully seek payment for damages imposed on projects due to deliberate delays.

Downtown Livermore Apartments

Eden Housing has experienced multiple delays due to meritless lawsuits by NIMBY groups that challenge the City’s approval of 130 affordable homes for Livermore’s local workforce, many of whom are struggling to afford soaring rent and food costs.

Eden and the City of Livermore continue to prevail in court in the face of a legal assault on the Downtown Livermore Project that has the sole intent of delaying and derailing our collective goal of addressing the City’s housing crisis. Livermore offers a good case study in the strength of the new laws we’ve helped to create, but it also exposes the challenges we still face when affordable housing encounters fierce opposition in high opportunity communities.  We continue to seek legislative solutions to assure that others don’t have to suffer through the challenges we’ve faced.

Linda Mandolini
President and CEO

Project Destined

Promoting a next generation of talent in the affordable housing sector.

Eden Housing has joined forces with Housing Partnership Network (HPN), Beacon Communities and Project Destined to host an Affordable Housing Bridge program that partners with schools, companies and nonprofits to train underserved students in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and real estate. This eight-week fellowship exposes Project Destined students to potential career paths by connecting them with affordable housing leaders and practitioners.

There are numerous imperceptible barriers within the real estate and development industry. As a first-generation real estate professional, Project Destined exponentially enhanced my capacity by connecting me with pioneers in the industry, such as Eden Housing, to receive mentorship and guidance that I could carry to my community – to provide other non-traditional students the resources they need to succeed. Thank you, Project Destined, for opening the door to this innovative industry of passionate professionals.

Jonathan Lorenzo Dena
Project Destined Program Alumni

I think that being able to support Project Destined means that we’re bringing more individuals to help us fight the ‘good fight’ in providing more housing on the ground. This is an opportunity to provide new talent into the industry.

Lisa Gutierrez
Senior VP/Director of Business Development Affordable Housing,
U.S. Bank (Project Destined funding partner)

Affordable Housing Bridge Program - Project Destined

BELONGING creates a sense of community where all individuals are treated fairly and feel psychologically safe, seen, heard and valued for their contributions.

WE BUILD inclusive, high-quality, well-designed, affordable housing throughout California.

We do this because everyone has a right to live in safe, thriving neighborhoods with access to quality education and employment opportunities.

The Silicon Valley of California (Santa Clara County) has experienced years of housing cost pressures due to its location near major high-tech job hubs, with a deficit of nearly 55,000 homes affordable to very low-income households. Many seniors are being forced out of homes they’ve lived in their entire lives due to high rents. There is also a serious youth homelessness problem—Santa Clara County has the fifth largest population of unaccompanied children and youth in the entire nation.

Feature: Mesa Terrace, San Jose

Mesa Terrace is a 46-apartment new construction development located in the amenity-rich Almaden neighborhood of San Jose. It has 23 apartments set aside for Transition Aged Youth (TAY), 18-24 years old, aging out of the foster care system. Eden is thrilled to be providing affordable housing to help them find success towards adulthood in a safe, stable environment.

 

At five stories high, the building is a distinctive visual landmark for the larger community. The private courtyard and top floors also provide views to the mountain ranges that encompass the valley.

The remaining apartments are being leased to individuals, seniors, and families in response to the city’s request to create an intergenerational community. A ground floor neighborhood room was incorporated based on community requests and is available for neighborhood access. Mesa Terrace was designed to create an environment that reunites local family groups and promotes a true sense of community.

Transition-aged youth (TAY) at Mesa Terrace share what affordable housing means to them:

It means a chance at an opportunity for independent living and decent standards of living. A chance to live comfortable without stress.

My new affordable apartment means that I am given a fair chance.

I am now able to have a safe place to call home and be comfortable while I make a new way of living for myself. I am grateful to have this opportunity.

Eden is building more than homes for people. We support communities. Our site staff, including our resident services team, work to ensure everyone has a safe, clean and inclusive place to call home.

Shola Olatoye
COO

WE COMMIT for the long haul. Our work is never done.

At Eden Housing, we have built a strong foundation years in the making, but there is still significant room for growth and improvement. Looking ahead, we will take our momentum of the past few years and meet it with speed, efficiency, and accountability.

We know that no one company can solve systemic and long-standing racial inequities alone, especially when it comes to affordable housing. However, we can continue to work in partnership with those who have the expertise, long-term commitment and community leadership to leverage their unique vantage points and our collective size and scale to drive systemic change.

Here are a Few Highlights of Our Next Steps:

  • Development of a vendor assessment process that reviews our investments in businesses owned and/or led by people who are BIPOC, women, veterans and minorities.
  • Ongoing collaborations with industry partners on best practices to support our DEIB efforts.
  • Enact concrete actions in response to our DEIB Employee Survey.
  • Development of our Meaningful Conversations Series.
  • Onboard our second cohort DEIB Council.
  • Establish an Employee Resource Group (ERG) program that’s relevant to Eden.

This report is powered by our people, our greatest asset. Thank you to our DEIB Council, leadership team, employees, residents and community partners who are not standing, but running with us as we confront barriers to creating affordable housing communities that advance equity and opportunity for all.

BELONGING is a desired sense by most of humanity—centered around acceptance, attention and support from fellow members of groups—and creating the same for others.

THANK YOU
for Celebrating Our Differences

Chinese

Daw-dyeh syeh-syeh

English

Thangk yoo

Farsi

Tashakor

Filipino

Sah-lah-maht

French

Mare-se

Hindi

Den-niv-ahd

Italian

Graht-see-eh

Japanese

Ah-ree-gah-toe

Kazakh

Rakhmet

Pashto

Dera manana

Portuguese

Oh-bree-gah-doe

Romanian

Mool-tsoo-mesk

Russian

Spah-see-boh

Spanish

Grah-see-us

Swahili

Ah-sahn-the

Vietnamese

Cahm-uhn

Thank You

Sign Language

Changing Our World,
One Corner at a Time

Eden housing does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, or any other arbitrary basis. Eden Housing Management, Inc. Broker number 872400.

© 2024 Eden Housing. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll to Top