BAY AREA TENANTS, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! For information on Fair Housing Laws and Illegal Housing Discrimination, For northern Alameda County, call 510-496-0496 For southern Alameda County, call 510-581-9380 For the TriValley Area, call 925-449-7340 For Contra Costa County, call toll-free: 855-ASK-ECHO For the City of Cupertino, call 650-327-1718 or 408-730-8491
"Yes, I have a dream this afternoon that one day in this land the words of Amos will become real and "justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream." I have a dream this evening that one day we will recognize the words of Jefferson that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
I have a dream this afternoon that the brotherhood of man will become a reality in this day.
And with this faith I will go out and carve a tunnel of hope through the mountain of despair. With this faith, I will go out with you and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows." ~Martin Luther King, Jr., June 1963
The Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity (ECHO Housing) was founded in 1964 and incorporated in 1965 by community volunteers dedicated to equal housing opportunities and the prevention and elimination of homelessness. Established as a fair housing agency, ECHO has expanded to a full service housing counseling organization providing services to very low and moderate income clients.
In 1968, ECHO and the Eden Council of Churches took a primary role in the development of Eden Housing, Inc., an affordable housing development agency. ECHO's Board of Directors recognized that while our mission was to offer housing services, it was essential that affordable housing be developed in the community. Eden Housing has since spun-off to become an independent entity, building affordable housing throughout the Bay Area.
ECHO received its first jurisdictional funding for discrimination investigation from the City of Hayward in 1973. Subsequently, ECHO received funding from every city in Alameda County, including Alameda County itself, Contra Costa County, the City of Concord, and the City of Walnut Creek. Beginning in 1977, ECHO established a satellite office in the City of Fremont in order to make its services more accessible to Fremont residents. Additional offices were established, and still exist, in Livermore and Oakland, and in Berkeley, and Contra Costa County. A federal grant from the Department of Housing & Urban Development was secured in 1980 to provide mortgage counseling to people faced with foreclosure. In 1983, ECHO began working with the San Francisco Development Fund to develop a Reverse Annuity Mortgage Program for senior homeowners. In the same year ECHO began delivery of counseling services for the Reverse Annuity Mortgage project. This program is still flourishing today in AlamedaCounty. 1985 marked perhaps the most difficult period in the history of ECHO Housing. Severe funding cuts forced the closure of the Fremont office and staffing cuts eliminated the Senior Minor Home Repair Program, the Senior Housing Program, and Homeseeking programs for the Southern Alameda County area. During this period, networking among service providers became essential for the survival of ECHO and most non-profits throughout the state. ECHO staff became active in the Emergency Services Network of Alameda County and participated in the formation of local and statewide fair housing coalitions. Even with limited resources, staff and board members remained committed to serving people in need of assistance. In 1986, ECHO was chosen by the Southern Alameda County Target 1990 Housing Task Force to administer the innovative Rental Assistance Program. The program assists individuals and families with move-in deposits and delinquent rent. The program began operation in 1987, and has been so successful that it has been recognized as a housing assistance model throughout the state and the nation.
In 2000, ECHO was selected by Alameda County to administer the Revolving Loan Fund. This program assists Alameda County CalWORKs families with move-in deposit loans for moves within the County.
In 2003, ECHO Housing explored a merger with a sister agency, Midpeninsula Citizens for Fair Housing (MCFH). MCFH had wanted to expand services in the San Francisco Peninsula, and wanted to parner with ECHO make that desire a reality. In 2004, ECHO Housing provided Homeownership Counseling to residents of Southern San Mateo County. In 2005, ECHO completed the merger with MCFH. MCFH is now a program of ECHO Housing, providing fair housing counseling and investigation.
ECHO Housing has been recognized throughout the years by means of resolutions and proclamations from city, county and state governments for outstanding service in fair housing, and has received mentions in the Congressional Record for its superior housing counseling services provision, and its Fair Housing Leadership Conference. ECHO's services reach over 7,000 clients per year with housing information and assistance. ECHO's primary service component continues to be equal housing access; however, more recent services have been directed to intervention and prevention of homelessness. Current service programs include Fair Housing Services serving unincorporated Alameda County, and the Cities of Alameda, Concord, Cupertino, Hayward, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Oakland, San Leandro, Stanford, Union City, and Walnut Creek; Tenant/Landlord Counseling Programs serving unincorporated Alameda County, and the Cities of Alameda, Concord, Hayward, San Leandro, Union City, and Walnut Creek; the Shared Housing Counseling Program serving the Cities of Livermore and Pleasanton; the Rental Assistance Program serving the Cities of Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, and San Leandro; and the Rent/Deposit Grant Program serving Alameda County.
ECHO's ultimate goal is to promote equal access in housing and provide support services which would aid in the prevention of homelessness and promote permanent housing conditions.
"The primary objectives and purposes of this corporation shall be:
To provide education and charitable assistance to the general public in matters relating to obtaining and maintaining housing generally, and improving their social, economic, familial and educational conditions generally;
To promote fairness and equality of opportunity for all persons regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, or HIV status in the areas of education, employment, housing and public and private services;
To provide rental assistance, housing assistance, tenant/landlord counseling, homeseeking, homesharing, and mortgage and home purchase counseling."