Housing Elements

Findings and Recommendations

Recommendations: Housing Element Engagement Strategies

  • Create a project website or page on agency website for meeting announcements, documents, and other related project activities.
  • Develop a contact database and provide frequent project updates.
  • Advertise housing education and outreach events for months beforehand.
  • Engage all segments of the housing-related community, including builders, developers, real estate brokers, non-profit housing builders, housing advocates, tenant rights groups, and environmental justice advocates. 
  • Call stakeholders before events to encourage event and project participation.
  • Call participants after events to get additional thoughts.
  • Hold “lunch-and-learn” events, where public housing agencies can learn from landlords and vice versa over a lunchtime discussion. This approach is beneficial because it provides a daytime engagement opportunity.
  • Provide education for public housing tenants.
  • Communicate the importance of all stages of the housing element update process in a way that is fun and easy to understand.
  • Make an extra effort to involve low- and moderate-income residents in the housing element update process.

Housing Element Annual Progress Reports

  • Cities and counties should use the APR Instructions and form provided by HCD to submit their APR each year by April 1. 
  • HCD and Valley MPOs should consider providing targeted technical assistance to smaller cities and counties with limited staff to help prepare their Housing Element or APR. 
  • HCD should continue to fund technical assistance programs that produce instructional materials that assist jurisdictions with State requirements and forms, such as the APR.

Available Sites Inventory

  • Prepare preliminary sites analysis data for each MPO region for use by cities and counties in preparing housing element sites analysis.
  • Provide technical assistance, particularly for smaller cities, to prepare sites analysis.


  • Prepare AFFH data packages, either on a Valleywide or MPO basis, to assist and streamline housing element updates.
  • Provide technical assistance, particularly for smaller cities, to prepare AFFH analysis for local conditions.


  • Provide general overview training for staff on fair housing laws.  Provide more extensive training for staff who are routinely engaged in supporting fair housing laws.
  • Consider partnering or forming countywide/regional consortiums to prepare and assist with fair housing outreach, analysis, and development of subsequent goals, policies, and actions for housing elements. 

Example: ABAG Regional Housing Technical Assistance Tools and Resources

Housing Element Strategies to Promote Equitable Housing and Mitigate Segregation

  • Determine suitable, available sites for housing to satisfy RHNA in a manner that reduces segregation patterns including subsidized housing, income-based, and racial/ethnic segregation.
  • Diversify zoning by broadening use and density provisions to permit a broader range of housing-types throughout the jurisdiction, including ADUs, missing middle, multi-family, and mixed-use housing.
  • Develop broader tenant protection regulations to limit displacement.
  • Encourage new, affordable housing development in high-resource areas. 
  • Implement place-based strategies to encourage community revitalization, including preserving affordable housing.

Housing Element Strategies to Help Reduce Local Disparities to Access of Opportunity

  • Review the HCD AFFH list of housing actions and contributing factors to fair housing located at https://www.hcd.ca.gov/community-development/affh/docs/affh_document_final_4-27-2021.pdf. Housing actions may include voucher mobility, housing mobility counseling, city-wide affordable rental registries, landlord outreach to expand the location of participating voucher properties, and more.
  • Use the TCAC/HCD Opportunity Map to identify areas of higher and lower resources to evaluate access to opportunity.
  • Engage local nonprofits and fair housing organization in housing element policy development.
  • Actively engage communities from low-resource and underrepresented neighborhoods in the housing element process.
  • Describe any differences in access to quality schools for those with protected characteristics (e.g., race and ethnicity, familial status, persons with disabilities).
  • Assess supportive housing stock and other housing stock including group homes, homes for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and mental health disabilities.
  • Evaluate local and regional employment trends by protected group status.
  • Compare concentrations of protected groups with access to transportation options. Encourage expansion of local transportation infrastructure across low-resource neighborhoods.
  • Establish place-based housing-education partnerships to support low-income students and improve low-resource schools.
  • Encourage new, affordable housing development in high-resource areas. 
  • Institute place-based strategies to encourage community revitalization, including preserving affordable housing.

Homeless Housing Planning and Production Needs

  • Encourage partnerships among housing providers and homeless assistance programs that can quickly and efficiently address homeless housing in the short term. For instance, The Housing Authority of the County of Kern partnered with the Bakersfield/Kern Region Homeless Collaborative to provide 18 months of funding for emergency housing vouchers that include homeless and at-risk individuals and families. These vouchers are renewable, a vital service to prevent homelessness recidivism.
  • Include programs with meaningful action in the housing element to address people at risk of homelessness.
  • Conduct meaningful outreach to homeless service agencies, both during and after the housing element update and adoption process. 
  • Prioritize access to housing and services for homeless or at-risk individuals.

NIMBYism and Resistance to Higher-Density Housing

  • General plan, housing element, and zoning code updates should include well-designed, comprehensive engagement process and streamlined approval processes that simplify and help people understand the development process. 
  • Employ extensive and meaningful community engagement in the housing  policy and development process, particularly identifying sites for the housing element, housing resources, and housing requirements.
  • Unify the community’s vision for future housing by disseminating information that addresses the extent of regional housing needs, implications of increasing housing availability, and the statutory requirements placed on local jurisdictions by the State.
  • Gather input from a broad and diverse range of residents and community groups, in particular those most impacted by fair housing issues, to develop a more comprehensive understanding of local interests.
  • Strive for meetings that address differing cultures, races, economic and housing situations, and perspectives in a respectful and safe manner to improve community dialogue.
  • Identify and meet with community leaders who represent common neighborhood interests and can help deliver information and messaging about the housing goals and process.
  • Promote education and additional research on how multifamily housing, such as limited multifamily zoning, and height and density limitations, provide for a more inclusive, economically vital community.
  • Update zoning codes and other regulations to have more housing development approved through a ministerial process.
  • Ensure development process information is available and easy to understand, such as on city or county websites and creating handouts.
  • Provide staff training to improve communication about projects and speak to community expectations and underlying values. 
  • Host regular study sessions with the planning commission and city council regarding housing requirements and achieving the jurisdiction’s housing goals.

Regulatory Barriers and Constraints

  • Amend general plan land use designations to permit a broader range of residential densities, particularly in traditionally low-density categories
  • Amend zoning code discretionary permitting requirements to increase residential uses subject to administrative or ministerial review.
  • Amend zoning codes to expand residential uses permitted by-right in lower-density zoning districts.
  • Amend zoning codes to reduce or eliminate off-street parking requirements for some types of residential development, particularly affordable housing.
  • Amend zoning codes to reduce residential project appeals.
  • Revise permitting fee structures, particularly for affordable housing.