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Eden Housing Celebrates the Groundbreaking of Light Tree Apartments’ Renovation

December 7, 2020


Media contact: Matthew Indimine

Eden Housing Celebrates the Groundbreaking of Light Tree Apartments’ Renovation

EAST PALO ALTO, CA – Hayward based nonprofit Eden Housing and East Palo Alto Community Alliance and Neighborhood Development Organization (EPACANDO) will celebrate the Groundbreaking of Light Tree Apartments’ Renovation on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 10:00am. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Eden and EPACANDO will launch a virtual celebration featuring instrumental stakeholders and partners. The virtual celebration will premiere on Eden’s YouTube channel.

Demolition of Light Tree Apartments, November 30, 2020

Light Tree Apartments is a 94-apartment family community in East Palo Alto, originally constructed in 1966. In 2020, Eden Housing entered into a joint-venture partnership with EPACANDO and obtained the financing necessary to redevelop the property. Upon completion, the renovated Light Tree Apartments will nearly double the number of affordable homes that exist on the site today, providing 185 affordable homes to low-income families, people with disabilities, formerly homeless individuals, and former foster youth.

“These ninety-four affordable homes have been a part of the East Palo Alto community for fifty years already, and now there are ninety-one more to come; remaining for another fifty years and beyond,” said Duane Bay, Executive Director of EPACANDO. “The name Light Tree is appropriately evocative of rootedness and hope.”

“It is through a robust community partnership with the City of East Palo Alto and EPACANDO that Eden Housing is able to renovate and reinvest in Light Tree,” said Linda Mandolini, President of Eden Housing. “In doing so, we’re demonstrating to neighbors that we’re partners in the community for the long haul, committed to preserving affordable homes.”

Residents of Light Tree Apartments will benefit from Eden Housing Resident Services’ robust service coordination. San Mateo Behavioral Health Services and the Golden Gate Regional Center will provide targeted case management services to 35 supportive housing households.

Located next to Ravenwood Shopping District in the heart of East Palo Alto, the community is conveniently located within walking distance to a variety of services and amenities, including a park, full-scale grocery store, pharmacy, public elementary school, high school, and public transportation. With vacant land becoming increasingly rare in densely populated cities throughout the Peninsula, the redevelopment of Light Tree Apartments is a pioneering project that was conceived in a conscious effort to develop new ways of adding low-income housing units to existing affordability restricted sites.

“In East Palo Alto, we are deeply committed to making housing affordable for our families, our young people, our seniors, and all who call our city home,” said Mayor Regina Wallace-Jones. “Light Tree was an ambitious project and a testament to the strength of partnership between the City, Eden Housing, EPACANDO, and our community. We are thrilled that this project to preserve and expand the number of affordable units in East Palo Alto is now underway.”

The project is being developed under two separate financing structures. The Light Tree Two New Construction project will demolish 37 existing townhomes and build 128 new affordable homes in their place, while the Light Tree Three Rehabilitation project will substantially renovate 57 existing homes. The project is made possible through the support of the following funding sources and organizations: 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Tax-Exempt Bonds, HCD Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, HCD Non-Competitive No Place Like Home, Local Initiatives Support Corporation – City of East Palo Alto Catalyst Fund, Department of Developmental Services, Golden Gate Regional Center, County of San Mateo Measure K Affordable Housing Fund, operating subsidies from HUD and the Housing Authority of the County of San Mateo, support from the California Housing Finance Agency, and funding from U.S. Bank and Chase.

“U.S. Bank believes everyone deserves an opportunity to achieve financial stability, and access to affordable housing is a critical part of that,” said Lisa Gutierrez, Senior Vice President with U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, the tax credit and community development division of U.S. Bank. “This project is going to preserve and expand much-needed affordable housing in a rapidly gentrifying area, and that’s going to make all the difference for those who call Light Tree home.”

“We are proud to support Eden Housing and the revitalization of Light Tree Apartments, which will not only include rehabilitating current affordable housing, but also deliver newly constructed homes to the East Palo Alto community,” said James Vossoughi, Vice President, Community Development Banking, Chase. “We continue to be committed to supporting critical community development projects such as this one that will have a tremendous impact on the lives of so many local residents.” 

Partnering with the City of East Palo Alto and SamTrans, Light Tree Apartments received a $20,000,000 grant from HCD’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program. The grant also included $6,000,000 in funding to support sustainable transit infrastructure development in the City of East Palo Alto. The grant enables the City of East Palo Alto to build 8.6 miles of new bike lanes, 3000 linear feet of pedestrian sidewalks, 8 new bus shelters, and provide SamTrans with the funding necessary to purchase 3 all-electric buses to operate on a brand new express bus service connecting Light Tree Apartments to various employment centers and transportation hubs throughout the peninsula.

About Eden Housing

Eden Housing is a non-profit with more than 50 years of experience in tackling affordable housing from all angles. We believe that home is where your start is. Every day, we create the housing needed to make sure all of our neighbors have a place to call home. And advocate for still more. Because safe and affordable housing helps families stay secure, allows communities to thrive, and solves many of our cities’ most pressing challenges. Learn more at