Camphora Apartments: New Construction of Affordable Farmworker Housing near Soledad

Congressman Sam Farr On-Hand to Help Raise Wall of New Building

MONTEREY COUNTY, CA - On Friday, May 22, 2015, the County of Monterey celebrated the beginning of new construction for Camphora Apartments, an upcoming new affordable community by Eden Housing in partnership with the County and the City of Soledad. Construction is scheduled to complete in January of next year. The celebration, which featured a ceremonial wall frame raising, was held at 12:00 p.m. at 32101 McCoy Road, Soledad, CA 93960.

“Being able to live and work in the same area is a key component to building a stronger community,” said Congressman Sam Farr (CA-20). “We need more affordable housing for our farmworkers so they can live here and help strengthen our community. I want to congratulate Eden Housing, South County Housing, the City of Soledad, Monterey County, and all of those who assisted with this valuable development.”

Camphora will provide 44 new affordable rental apartments for residents with annual incomes between 30% and 60% of the Monterey County Area Median Income. Transforming what used to be a run-down labor camp with concrete block structures, Camphora will be a welcoming home for its farmworker residents, providing an environmentally-responsible and amenity-rich community with quality onsite management and supportive services provided by Eden Housing.

“We are proud to celebrate today the construction of Camphora Apartments in Monterey County,” said Supervisor and Board Chairperson Simon Salinas. “In partnering with Eden, we have taken another big step toward our goal to improve the diversity and affordability of housing in our community, especially for our farmworkers and their families.”

Monterey County has been working for over 20 years to find a way to rehabilitate this run down facility that was built in 1960 as part of the Bracero program.

The new Camphora will include two turf soccer fields (replacing the hard-packed dirt lot on which youth and adults played previously) and a half-court basketball. It will also include a 3,000 sq ft community center, a computer lab, and great patio areas for families to congregate and for community events.

This exciting $20 million development is being constructed using sustainable building methods and incorporates a number of green features designed to ensure its long-term energy-efficiency and sustainability. Camphora is pursuing USGBC's LEED-H Platinum certification, which is generally accepted as the toughest industry standard for sustainable building design.

To achieve this, Camphora was designed by the architect, KTGY Group, Inc., to exceed California energy efficiency thresholds (Title-24 standards) by 38% by incorporating features that optimize the building’s energy performance including: A large solar photovoltaic system supplying the majority of Camphora’s electrical needs, super high efficiency heating and hot water systems, Energy Star rated appliances, 2x6 wall construction for added insulation and extra thick attic insulation,super efficient water fixtures and landscaping irrigation, use of renewable materials including environmentally friendly paint, high efficiency lighting, and continuous ventilation for healthy indoor air.

In partnership with the City of Soledad and Monterey County, Camphora will have a connection to the municipal sewage system, replacing the aged onsite septic system. This required boring under a Union Pacific railway line and Highway 101.

Twenty-five of the previous residents have been relocated temporarily and will return to the new community post construction. A small number of families whose household income was more than income thresholds received permanent relocation benefits. Many of the farmworker families have lived at Camphora for decades and we are pleased so many of them will be returning.

“The sense of community is already established – we have the privilege of building the physical structure around them,” said Dennis Lalor, President and CEO South County Housing which began the development of Camphora.

Today’s celebration featured the presentation of the NeighborWorks America New Member Charter. NeighborWorks America is a national, Congressionally chartered nonprofit that creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives, and strengthen their communities.

“Camphora will create much needed quality, affordable rental housing,” said Paul Weech, NeighborWorks America CEO. “It’s appropriate that the new beginning for the families who will live here coincides with the new partnership between Eden Housing, a new member of the NeighborWorks network and South County Housing, an organization committed to the success of the people of its community.”

Camphora was a development project that South County Housing, an active longtime developer of affordable housing in the South Bay and South County region, started and Eden Housing will complete. The two affordable housing developers are proud to celebrate their new partnership in the South County Region. NeighborWorks America presented Eden with its charter as a NeighborWorks Member, a critical milestone in the Eden/South County merger.

“Camphora provides new homes for people who would otherwise not be able to afford to work and live in in this community,” said Linda Mandolini, President, Eden Housing. “We are happy to partner with the County in developing, and in the future managing, Camphora and we are proud of the commitment to rehabilitating this farmworker home.”

Camphora Apartments is funded with financial support from the U.S. Bank, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, California Department of Housing and Community Development, U.S. Department of Labor, County of Monterey, Eden Housing, South County Housing, Federal Home Loan Bank, NeighborWorks America, Century Housing, Rural LISC, and Monterey County Housing Authority.

The celebration’s speakers included: Hon. Sam Farr, U.S. Congressman, California’s 20th Congressional District; Hon. Simon Salinas, Chairperson, Board of Supervisors, County of Monterey;

Fred Ledesma, Mayor of Soledad, Susan Riggs, Acting Director, CA Department of Housing & Community Development; Paul Weech, President & CEO, NeighborWorks America; Pablo Giron, Field Representative, Office of Assembly Member Luis Alejo, California 30th Assembly District; Krister Engdahl, Regional Monitor Advocate & Federal Project Officer, U.S. Department of Labor; Lisa Gutierrez, Relationship Manager, Vice President, U.S. Bank; Greg Sparks, Program Officer, Rural LISC; Sabino Lopez, Lead Organizer, Center for Community Advocacy; Maria Florez and Claudio Martinez, Past and Future Residents of Camphora; Dennis Lalor, President & CEO, South County Housing; Douglas Kuerschner, Jr., Board Chair, South County Housing and Board of Directors, Eden Housing; John Gaffney, Board Chair, Eden Housing; and Seth Capron, Senior Project Manager, South County Housing and Eden Housing.

About Eden Housing

In its 47 years of service in California, non-profit Eden Housing has provided a home for more than 65,000 people. Hayward-based Eden Housing is the long-term owner-operator of its developments, and is committed to preserving and maintaining its buildings as community assets and supporting residents with a range of services. Since its founding in 1968, Eden Housing has developed or acquired more than 8,000 homes in more than 125 properties.  Eden provides professional property management and supportive resident services to families and individuals living in its portfolio of more than 7,800 apartment homes throughout California. For more information about Eden Housing, visit


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Release Date: 
Friday, May 22, 2015
Date Updated: 
Sunday, August 23, 2015

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