Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to view it in a browser.


Resources for Community Development E-Newsletter

Fall 2011

Summer Important Time of School Year

Two Programs Boost Student Success

  • Kids at Fox Courts turned out for activities throughout the summer that will help them during the upcoming school year.
  • Five residents will pursue higher education that will lead to career opportunities.
“Research conducted by Johns Hopkins sociology Professor Karl Alexander and his colleagues shows that low-income youth suffer significantly from a loss of academic skills over the summertime… that about two-thirds of the achievement gap… can be explained by what happens over the summer.” More from the Center for Summer Learning here.


These are just two examples of how your gifts to our anniversary event last June and throughout the year provide what we need to engage the hearts, minds, and bodies of our residents. Thank you!

We focus on academic support in our youth program because students from low-income families are often at a disadvantage in the classroom that may affect them throughout their lives. More than 1100 young people live at our properties!  

DonateNowFox Courts is a great model for what we can accomplish at five other family sites.  Your donations support academic success for our kids.

Financial Education Scores
With Students and Teachers

The Reviews are In!

"I love after school because I learned how to cook some food and language arts skills and math skills. Also the lunch program." Suheil

“I like movies and the games and cooking class and movies and movies and movies.” Abbas

“I liked when the people from the bank came. And when we did the piñata. And the summer lunch program.” Dean

“I like lots of the programs that we did. Ice skating was really the best … it helped me be a hockey player.” Marc

“I like the summer program - the games and the math and English activity.” Amelia

“I liked … when the bank came. And I loved lunch.” Mohammed

“I like the summer program because it had good lunch. And I learned a little bit of math.” Jimmy

“It was fun to be there.” Rana

“I liked the movies, the piñatas … and going outside to run and play tag.” Mohamed

“I like the summer food.” Shatha

“I liked the summer because we did a lot of stuff.” Afran

Students scored 100% attendance as Union Bank team members presented a series of four Financial Education workshops at Fox Courts.

“We were all so impressed by how attentive, thoughtful, and money-smart the kids already were, with many of them proudly talking about their existing savings accounts and goals,” said Fiona Hsu, vice president of Community Development Finance (CDF).

Fiona describes the experience. “I loved our discussions about needs and wants and having the kids defend their answers on whether or not the Nintendo 3DS or housing was needed to live. On the topic of a puppy, the group agreed that it was a want, but then one kid challenged that notion by asking, “But what if someone was blind or depressed and needed a pet to feel better, wouldn’t a puppy then be a need?”

financial workshop for kids

We also got into some advanced material, and the kids were ready and excited to show off their math skills.

Our hope is that we planted some seeds of awareness and that the kids left the sessions feeling more comfortable and confident about basic banking and financial terms and concepts.”

Our thanks for these engaging presentations to Fiona Hsu and members of her team from CDF: Sherill Borg, Dameon Philpotts, Eric Lin, Debbie Koski, and Roseline Chen. Many thanks as well to Oakland Branch Banker William Lee.

Free Lunch with Math for Dessert

RCD staffers Pera Gorson and Shema Al Mahbashi, with Fox Courts super volunteer resident Bobbie S., served 1, 721 free lunches in the community room as part of the 2011 City of Oakland Summer Food Service Program. Those who stayed for the youth program afterwards knew that Pera would have math problems for them to solve first thing. Then came financial classes, cooking, arts and crafts, and games that entertain and teach. Kids also took advantage of the computer lab, run by instructor Brandy Sacks. He starts each session with 30 minutes of structured learning and then is available for the next hour and a half to help.

Ice Cold Treat

It’s cold out on the ice where just a few months ago 44 kids were wobbling along trying not to fall (and learning how to get up when they did!) Now, with many thanks to David Hicks of Oakland Ice Center, they can skate, and some have joined the ice hockey team. 

ice skating

kitchensThe New Erna P. Harris Court Debuts

Long-time resident Donald T. likes the changes we’ve made at Erna P. Harris Court.  “Thank you! The quality of life has really improved here.  There’s a great improvement in air quality.  I love the new floors.  They’re much cleaner than the old carpet.  I love the ceiling fan, and the heater works great.” 

New compact kitchenettes make it practical to prepare meals at home.  Residents will soon have an outdoor barbeque area, garden plots, and a renovated community room with a full kitchen for their use.  The extensive rehabilitation also includes improvements to the site:  new landscaping with drought tolerant and native plants and new filtration options that will treat 100% of the storm water before it reaches the bay.

Take Our Reader Survey20 Residents Compete for Scholarships

Your donations and purchase of scholarship raffle tickets at our event in June made thrilling news for five students who won 2011 Irwin Mussen Scholarships.  Heading to class with $500 each are:

  • Hamza Hachim, who lives at Fox Courts in Oakland, is studying physics at Laney College in preparation for a career as an aeronautical engineer and Air Force pilot
  • Blanca Cerda, who lives at Los Medanos Village in Pittsburg, is a student at St Mary’s College in Moraga
  • Ismail Ahmed Abdi, who also lives at Fox Court and is enrolled at City College of San Francisco, is working toward his goal is of becoming a registered nurse to help low-income patients at a county hospital
  • Miranda Anderson, who lives at Bella Monte Apartments in Bay Point, is attending Contra Costa College to complete a licensed vocational nursing program
  • Lisa Llewellyn, who lives at Oxford Plaza in Berkeley, is majoring in English at UC Berkeley and looking forward to a career in public relations

We’d also like to acknowledge the work of Kattye Giles, Jacque Keller, and Trice Roberts of the RCD Board of Directors for their careful review and selection, not to mention their dedication to finding people like you to support the scholarship fund. Thank you! 

New Community Room Rises

East 11th future community room

From this humble beginning will come a place for the community to gather at 720 E. 11th Street in Oakland.  As we build it, the team is pushing environmental sustainability to the highest level, pursuing both GreenPoint Rating and LEED certification. It should be ready for 55 families in spring of 2012.

From Dan Sawislak, executive director

Throughout 2011, we have seen that funding for affordable housing development is likely to become scarcer, at least for the short to medium term. However, the need for affordable housing is certainly expanding, as the economy continues to stagnate and more households look for homes they can afford. Recent news regarding the increase in the number of Americans living in poverty, along with projections of significantly increased demand for rental housing, points towards an even greater shortage of affordable rental housing. Demand is increasing at the same time funding that will add to the stock of affordable housing is drying up.

In a difficult development environment, the RCD team is moving another 271 units toward completion. These include:

  • 720 E. 11th Street is new construction, with 55 apartments for families in Oakland’s San Antonio neighborhood. Watch for the opening in summer 2012.
  • The Islander motel in Alameda is a renovation that will create 62 apartments. We should break ground before the end of this year.
  • The Ambassador is a long-awaited development of 69 family apartments in Emeryville. We will start construction early in 2012.
  • Ashland Family Housing will accommodate 85 family units in southern Alameda County. We have acquired the site and predevelopment continues apace.

We are fortunate to have these and other projects in our pipeline that will increase the availability of affordable homes in the East Bay. We appreciate the work of our project partners in helping to meet the goal in this time of scarce resources.


Donate!We are grateful to our many wonderful supporters for providing the financial resources it takes to provide great affordable housing with onsite resident services.  Your gift today will help us meet the challenge of serving the needs of young people at six properties:  Bella Monte Apartments, Fox Courts, Lakeside Apartments, Los Medanos Village, Oxford Plaza, and Stanley/International Apartments.



Comments or suggestions: contactrcd@rcdev.org



© 2011 Resources for Community Development
2220 Oxford Street • Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: (510) 841-4410 • Fax: (510) 548-3502