gmhTODAY 26 gmhTODAY June July 2019 - Page 78

Y Eden Housing A Model of Affordable Housing Written By Larry J. Mickartz The mission of Eden Housing is to build and maintain high quality, well-managed, service-enhanced affordable housing communities that meet the diverse needs of lower income families, seniors, and persons with disabilities. 78 ears ago, my friend, Dennis Lalor, asked me to write an article on Eden Housing. I’ve fi nally gotten around to it. I wrote this article to honor Dennis, who passed away in 2018, and to recognize a phenomenal organization. According to the Eden Housing website, its mission is “to build and maintain high quality, well-managed, service-enhanced affordable housing communities that meet the diverse needs of lower income families, seniors, and persons with disabilities.” This is something of an under- statement. Eden Housing has affordable housing units spread all over California. In all, there are more than 11,437 units in 165 projects serving over 22,000 people. Maps show there are projects in three counties in Southern California and twelve counties in Northern California. Locally there are eight facilities in Morgan Hill and twelve facilities in Gilroy. South County Housing (SCH), the local low-income housing developer, was hit hard by the 2008-9 recession and had to relinquish its holdings. Dennis Lalor was the Director of SCH and he managed the transition of ownership of 41 of the local SCH facilities to Eden Housing. Eden Housing started in 1968 when six volunteers got together to address the lack of affordable housing in the East Bay. Today, support and man- agement of this multi-million dollar nonprofit enterprise is headquartered in Hayward. Despite being an “under the radar” type of organization, Eden Housing takes pride in their work and has demonstrated how to do a difficult job efficiently while remaining mission- driven. The development firm serves the needs of low-income residents, seniors, the disabled and veterans. Some indicators of the “spirit” of this organization are that the San Francisco Business Times/Silicon Valley Business Journal recognized Eden Housing as one of the “Best Places to Work” (2012, 2015 to 2017) and one of the “Healthiest Employers” ( 2012 to 2017). On a national scale, Eden Housing is ranked among the top 50 Affordable GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN june/july 2019 Housing Owners (2016) and the eight largest nonprofit affordable housing companies. Eden Housing has become one of the most productive and successful nonprofit affordable housing developers in California. To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, the organization produced 50 Years 50 Stories in Review. Each story is a compilation of pictures or a video celebrating some of the people, events, and happenings of Eden Housing. Speaking of “spirit,” the President of Eden Housing is a bundle of energy, focus, and drive. Linda Mandolini has served in this role for 16 years. She communicates the mission of Eden Housing with remarkable clarity and direction. When asked why Eden Housing has been so successful she goes straight to the point: “We are in it for the long haul.” LINDA MANDOLINI, PRESIDENT EDEN HOUSING Mandolini has received numerous recognitions and awards including being inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017. She also received the Affordable Housing Management Association (AHMA) Pioneer Award as well as being named to the Bay Area's Most Influential Women in Business on gmhtoday.com