Housing Elements

Since 1969, every city and county in California has been required to adopt a housing element as part of their general plan. Unlike other mandatory General Plan elements, the housing element must be updated every eight years and is subject to review and approval by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Major components of the housing element include a housing needs assessment, the identification of sites for housing at all income levels, a review of constraints to housing, and updated policies and programs to carry out the goals of the updated element. All Valley cities and counties must update their housing elements over the next two years, known also as the 6th cycle housing elements.

Since Valley housing elements were last updated, the State has enacted over a dozen of new housing laws, many of which aim to lower barriers to building affordable housing. These new laws must be addressed with the upcoming update. Another major change is the inclusion of an affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) analysis. This analysis must examine housing practices to identify any areas that may perpetuate housing inequities in the community. Once identified, the housing element must then include policies and programs to expand equitable housing practices. The topics addressed in this section include:

  • The Housing Element
  • Annual Housing Report
  • Available Sites inventory
  • AFFH Programs
  • Fair Housing Enforcement and Outreach Capacity
  • Segregation and Integration
  • Access of Opportunity Disparities
  • Disproportionate Housing Needs/Displacement Risk
  • Racially/Ethnically Concentrated Areas of Poverty (R/ECAP) and Affluence
  • Homeless Housing Planning and Production Trends
  • NIMBYism and Resistance to Higher-Density Housing
  • Regulatory Barriers and Constraints