Mission & History

The mission of Eden Housing is to build and maintain high quality, well-managed, service-enhanced affordable housing communities that meet the needs of lower income families, seniors, and persons with disabilities.

Eden has worked in partnership with cities and local community partners to develop or acquire more than 10,600 homes in communities throughout California, currently serving a diverse population of 22,000 low-income residents from all cultures and backgrounds. Since our humble beginnings, more than 100,000 people have come home to an Eden community.

Our vision is for everyone to have access to safe, decent, affordable housing. We believe that housing is a basic human necessity that is essential to everyday life and future success.

We serve very low, low and moderate-income families, seniors, veterans, people living with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities, and the formerly homeless.

History

In 1968, a small group of community activists in Hayward were concerned about the lack of accessible, affordable housing in Alameda County. Led by Cal State Hayward Professor, Basketball Coach, and founding Eden Housing board member Bill Vandenburgh, they came together as advocates for a statewide ballot initiative supporting what we now call ‘fair housing.’ It didn’t pass. Undeterred, Bill’s group rolled up their sleeves and decided they’d try building small-scale family housing themselves. Joining the professor in a volunteer capacity were an Associate Dean at UC Berkeley’s School of Architecture, a couple of local ministers, and other community leaders. With no professional staff, they met out of makeshift headquarters’ such as local coffee shops, bringing in like-minded architects, engineers, and other experts who helped illuminate their path. Former Hayward Mayor Ilene Weinreb, an early champion of their efforts, noted, “Affordable housing isn’t something that happens automatically, you have to make it happen.”

activist roots
Eden’s Tenacious Visionaries.

Bill and these early Eden Housing volunteers made it happen. They started by rehabilitating 6 older homes in Oakland for 6 families, but their next project was much larger — development of the Josephine Lum Lodge for seniors in Hayward. Since then, Eden has developed or acquired more than 7,500 affordable homes in 45 cities providing homes for more than 65,000 people. From its tenacious beginnings, Eden has demonstrated that they have the will and know the way to tackle affordable housing from all angles.