We offer support to create your own Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

Your lot is eligible for a cottage or rental unit!

California ADU regulations now make it easier for you to have

a backyard home:

The new law states that an ADU may be considered for any residential lot, regardless of local zoning (which may previously have prohibited it). The goal is to provide additional housing for our community and generate additional income for you

Another law, to speed the development process, requires the city to review a submitted plan within 60 days.

CANDO is here to help

A grant from the Packard Foundation makes it possible for us to provide help in all aspects, from project assessment to project completion, at no extra cost to East Palo Alto homeowners.

In particular, EPACANDO can help with

  • evaluating how an ADU can fit on your lot
  • pre-made designs, which have been approved
  • links to financing options
  • project management for construction

In exchange, you agree to rent to people whose income is 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI), that is, to make your new unit “affordable”; that is:

You could receive rent up to $2400-$3100 per month from someone at this level, depending on the size of the unit.  Sample financial scenarios below.

In only about a year, you could add a rental unit to your backyard!  This can be done by taking advantage of experts available through EPACANDO, and using pre-defined plans.


What is an ADU?

“An ADU is a separate dwelling structure that is either attached (connected to) or detached (not connected to) the main house and has a full kitchen and full or partial bath.” – City of East Palo Alto

[ADU = Accessory Dwelling Unit]

Choose a pre-designed floor plan or a custom design

 Pre-designed plans:

  • Take less time & save money on architects and engineers
  • Require less coordination between independent designers and contractors
  • Tend to reduce approval time because the plans have been approved before
  • Optimize for energy efficiency, daylighting, usability, and comfort

Custom designs can also be used or made.  Contact an expert for more details.

500 square feet – 1 Bedroom
450 square feet – 1 Bedroom
800 square feet – 2 Bedrooms
975 square feet – 3 Bedrooms, 2 baths

How do we get started?


Make an appointment with our experts

  • Contact one of our experts to work with you to further evaluate your property.
  • Together, we can discuss plans for your particular lot, including how the financing might work.

You can make an appointment with our experts, or assess your property yourself


We want to help people access low-cost plans and services with  contractors, in order to get an ADU built on their property.

We at EPACANDO are continually working to establish relationships with contractors. One currently established relationship we have is with Modern Empathy, for the plans shown here and all phases of implementation.
For your ADU project you have the option to use
  • an established provider
  • another contractor of your choice.
If you choose another contractor, we can still provide services as applicable.

Consider the Financials

 Sample scenario

Are there CANDO ADU projects in East Palo Alto right now?


Three projects on Beech, Gardenia, and Cypress were submitted for City approval this spring (2020) – which could bring them to the next stage within 60 days (barring Covid-19 delays).

A pilot project on Green has a factory-built unit installed with a crane.

We will keep posting updates on the News page of this web site.

View two completed Soup projects in Menlo Park and Sunnyvale, which each use one of the floorplans .

Building the foundation for pilot project on Green Street, June 2020

Organizational Partners

EPACANDO works closely with City staff.  For this project EPACANDO is also partnering with, a community of designers, developers, and activists working to make housing more affordable, accessible, and beautiful for working families.