Affordable Housing Breaks Ground in East Palo Alto

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 11.43.47 PMPosted on March 17, 2016 by

Groundbreaking at University Avenue Senior Housing, a Joint Development of EPA CAN DO and MidPen Housing

March 17, 2016 – East Palo Alto, CA – On March 17th East Palo Alto Mayor Donna Rutherford and San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum will join other city and county leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking of University Avenue Senior Housing , an affordable rental community being jointly developed by EPA CAN DO and MidPen Housing. The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. at 2358 University Avenue in East Palo Alto.

University Avenue Senior Housing represents the realization of a longtime vision to transform a previously underutilized site into a vibrant community with 41 homes for low and very low-income seniors in the heart of East Palo Alto.

“This is an exciting day,” said Donna Rutherford, Mayor of East Palo Alto. “University Avenue Senior Housing brings much needed affordable housing to our city’s growing population of senior residents. It’s a beautifully designed community that will be an asset to our city for years to come and a testimony to what can be accomplished when civic and business leaders work together in innovative ways.”

University Avenue Senior Housing is the result of a collaboration between developers EPA CAN DO and MidPen Housing. EPA CAN DO initiated the work in response to the tremendous need for affordable housing for seniors in East Palo Alto. By early 2013, EPA CAN DO had acquired five parcels on the 2300 block of University Avenue and had secured a total of $2.1M from various sources including the County of San Mateo. The County approached MidPen to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed project and ultimately MidPen produced a site plan on .75 acres which required site control of one additional parcel. MidPen and EPA CAN DO worked closely to secure that sixth parcel and moved forward as co-developers.

“Creating a sense of place for our seniors here in East Palo Alto has been a longtime vision of EPA CAN DO. After years of planning and working closely with the City, the County, and MidPen Housing, we are almost home. I am thrilled to finally see our vision become a reality,” said Robert Jones, Executive Director of EPA CAN DO. “Getting to this point is the culmination of a lot of hard work but our city’s senior residents are worth our very best efforts while simultaneously improving the neighborhood.”

“We are proud to partner with EPA CAN DO and the City of East Palo Alto on this development,” said Matthew O. Franklin, President of MidPen Housing. “We applaud their vision, fortitude and commitment to provide affordable housing in a prime location in their city during a particularly tough housing market.”

Expected to open in early 2017, University Avenue Senior Housing will provide 36 one-bedroom and 5 two-bedroom apartment homes for low-income seniors earning up to 60% of Area Median Income which is $49,260 for a single-person household. The community will also feature a community garden, BBQ area, computer lab, and community room with a kitchen for larger gatherings.

Located in close proximity to public transportation, supermarkets, pharmacies, retail, the public library and the local community center, University Avenue Senior Housing will provide its residents with easy access to many community amenities. Residents will also have access to onsite programs and services provided by MidPen Resident Services. These include health and wellness programs like group exercise classes, “brown bag” food assistance programs, health fairs, educational workshops; and social programs like holiday parties, bingo nights, and other social gatherings.

Financing for the $25M development was provided through both public and private sources including the City of East Palo Alto, County of San Mateo Department of Housing, Housing Authority of the County of San Mateo, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Equity Fund, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco AHP, HEART of San Mateo County, Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Silicon Valley Bank and California Community Reinvestment Corporation.

About MidPen Housing Corporation
It is the mission of MidPen Housing to provide safe, affordable housing of high quality to those in need; to establish stability and opportunity in the lives of residents; and to foster diverse communities that allow people from all ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds to live in dignity, harmony and mutual respect. Since 1970, MidPen has developed and professionally managed over 7,450 homes for low-income families, seniors and those with special needs. With offices in Foster City, Oakland, Santa Rosa and Watsonville, MidPen works in 11 Northern California counties. For more information visit:

The mission of EPA CAN DO is to create and maintain affordable housing and to promote community and economic development in the City of East Palo Alto. Since 1992 EPA CAN DO has worked with other non-profits to develop 345 units of affordable and moderate income housing in the City of East Palo Alto. To learn more about EPA CAN DO, visit

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