January 25, 2022

Housing Element Toolkit

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Happening now!

Some jurisdictions plan to adopt uncertified Housing Elements

  • Los Altos, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, and Santa Clara have adopted or are planning to adopt Draft Housing Elements in the month of January that have not been certified by HCD as compliant with State Housing Element Law. Following adoption, each city will submit this adopted draft to HCD for a 60-day review period, which will result in either certification or a second comment letter requiring revisions necessary to comply with State Housing Element Law. While Los Altos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, and Santa Clara are adopting drafts that have been revised to respond to comments from HCD, Los Gatos is adopting the same version of their Draft Housing Element that HCD stated was noncompliant in their review letter dated January 12th.

Initial HCD review letters received in Santa Clara County jurisdictions

  • The City of Mountain View was the first of our jurisdictions to submit a Draft Housing Element to HCD for review. On September 29, 2022, the City received its HCD review letter, which contained changes necessary to bring the City’s Housing Element into compliance. SV@Home and local housing advocates have been expressing concerns for months that cities throughout Santa Clara County are falling short of state requirements and will have to do a lot more work to get their plan certified before state sanctions kick in. Read our press release here
  • Mountain View was also the first jurisdiction in Santa Clara County to submit a revised draft to HCD for review, and received a second review letter from HCD requiring more revisions, on January 17, 2023. Campbell has also submitted a revised draft, and expects feedback on February 24, 2023.
  • Other cities to receive an initial HCD review letter include SunnyvaleSaratogaCampbellLos AltosMorgan HillSanta Clara, San Jose, Los Gatos, and Milpitas, all with substantial work necessary to bring their Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law.

Santa Clara County is the last jurisdiction to release a Draft Housing Element 

  • Santa Clara County is the only jurisdiction that has not released an initial draft. On January 10 the Board of Supervisors authorized the County Executive to enter into negotiations with the City of San Jose to transfer all or part of the County’s 3,125-unit RHNA assignment under a Memorandum of Agreement to be finalized by January 31, 2023. The County hopes that their RHNA can be reduced by the number of units transferred to the City, although it is not clear that HCD would approve such a transfer. Regardless of the success of a RHNA transfer, Housing Elements require significant analysis, and planned policies and programs to address identified housing needs and to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing. The County is still responsible for adopting a compliant Housing Element by January 31st, and there is no published schedule for release of a draft for the required 30 day public review and comment.

All of the local jurisdictions in Santa Clara County, with the exception of the County itself, have released Draft Housing Elements for a 30-day period of public comment. You can find SV@Home’s comment letters to midsize and large jurisdictions here. Feedback received at each city during this period should be incorporated into a Revised Draft Housing Element, which is then submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for review. At this time, the local public comment period has closed for all cities except Palo Alto and Cupertino, but if residents and stakeholders still need to submit their comments on these Draft Housing Elements, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to HCD at HousingElements@hcd.ca.gov or to the assigned housing element reviewer in the table below, and copy city staff.

Once Draft Housing Elements have been reviewed by HCD, the Drafts will return to cities for revision based on HCD’s feedback, and to incorporate additional public input. Find more information, meeting dates and times, and resources for advocacy below.

In addition to comment letters sent to individual cities, SV@Home has shared letters with all cities throughout the county to clarify HCD’s expectations for the housing element under state law, to suggest anti-displacement policies to affirmatively further fair housing, and to help cities understand how thoughtful planning for new housing can help our schools struggling with declining enrollment.

HCD Assigned Reviewers

Assigned HCD Draft Housing Element Reviewers
JurisdictionReviewerEmailDate ReceivedFeedback Anticipated
Mountain ViewReid MillerReid.Miller@hcd.ca.gov7/1/221st on 9/29/22, 2nd on 1/17/23
SunnyvaleShawn DaninoShawn.Danino@hcd.ca.gov7/8/2210/6/22
SaratogaHillary PrasadHillary.Prasad@hcd.ca.gov7/28/2210/26/22
CampbellShawn DaninoShawn.Danino@hcd.ca.gov8/5/221st on 11/3/22, 2nd on 2/24/23
Los AltosAnthony ErrichettoAnthony.Errichetto@hcd.ca.gov8/12/2211/10/22
Morgan HillAlex ContrerasAlex.Contreras@hcd.ca.gov8/19/2211/17/22
Santa ClaraJose Armando JaureguiJose.Jauregui@hcd.ca.gov8/22/2211/18/22
San JoseChelsea LeeChelsea.Lee@hcd.ca.gov 9/16/2212/15/22
Monte SerenoMashal AyobiMashal.Ayobi@hcd.ca.gov10/12/221/10/22
Los GatosJose Armando Jauregui Jose.Jauregui@hcd.ca.gov10/14/221/12/23
Milpitas Shawn DaninoShawn.Danino@hcd.ca.gov10/18/221/13/23
Los Altos HillsReid MillerReid.Miller@hcd.ca.gov10/27/221/25/23
GilroyConnor Finney Connor.Finney@hcd.ca.gov10/31/221/27/23
Palo AltoIrvin SaldanaIrvin.Saldana@hcd.ca.gov 12/23/2022 3/23/23

Click on the links below to jump directly to a section

Background

Every eight years, the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process is used to assign each city and county in California their “fair share” of new housing units to build. These homes are intended to accommodate existing need and projected growth in the region. The RHNA process is critical because it requires all cities and counties to plan for the housing needs of their residents, at all income levels, in an effort to plan for future growth and ease the Bay Area’s acute housing crisis. The planning portion of the next RHNA cycle is already in progress, and will cover the 8-year period between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2031.

Unfortunately, many cities and counties regularly fall short of their RHNA targets, as the Bay Area’s housing crisis continues to grow. Each spring, jurisdictions are required to provide an Annual Progress Report to show how effective their efforts have been in achieving housing development targets by income level. You can view the progress of your local jurisdiction HERE and compare with the RHNA progress of other Santa Clara County jurisdictions.

Want your city to do better? Now is the time to get involved! Cities are making plans to implement the next RHNA through the Housing Element, laying the foundation and creating the conditions for thousands of new homes to be built. How feasible and successful these plans are depends on the involvement of housing advocates like you!

Housing Element Timeline

What is the deadline for cities in the Bay Area to adopt a compliant housing element? What are the consequences if they don’t? Find out here!

How can you get engaged in your city’s Housing Element process?

This is a critical time for advocates to weigh in on your city’s housing plan for the next eight years! Not sure how? Read on to learn more here in the Housing Element Advocacy Toolkit!

How is the state holding cities accountable for creating Housing Elements that effectively address their communities’ housing needs, and how can local housing advocates help? Watch Making Housing Elements Work through State Enforcement to find out!

Read summaries of HCD’s comments on housing elements already completed in other parts of the state!

Lower-income families are being pushed out of our communities by the high cost of housing, impacting school enrollment, because there is not enough housing affordable to families – especially those with younger children. Decisions the city makes around housing policy and land use, which enable or constrain the production of an adequate supply of housing, have a significant impact on our school communities. Did you know declining enrollment is causing budget deficits and school closures? Learn more about what’s happening in your local community. Then find out how housing can help!

What happens if cities create Housing Elements that aren’t compliant with state law? New this cycle, there are meaningful consequences for noncompliance, including loss of permitting authority, financial penalties, and even court receivership. Learn more.


Happening now in your city!

Many cities in Santa Clara County have released initial Public Draft Housing Elements, holding Housing Element study sessions for Councils and Planning Commissions and community engagement events. Click your city name below for a city-specific calendar of Housing Element study sessions, community engagement events, and helpful resources to support your advocacy, updated every Monday.

Check out events and engagement opportunities by city below.

Campbell- Initial Draft Housing Element Available

The City of Campbell submitted a revised Draft Housing Element (listed in the city website as “3rd Draft of the Housing Element” to HCD for review on December 27, 2022. Feedback from HCD is anticipated on on February 24, 2023.

Review Campbell’s initial Draft Housing Element here.

Campbell submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on August 5, 2022, and received HCD’s review letter on November 3, 2022. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Campbell’s assigned reviewer, Shawn Danino, at Shawn.Danino@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at stephenr@campbellca.gov.


Find updates and materials at Campbell’s Housing Elements Webpage. You can register to receive updates from the city by clicking the green bar at the top of the page.

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Campbell.

Cupertino- Initial Draft Housing Element Available

See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element.

Cupertino released their initial Draft Housing Element on November 18, 2022, with the public comment period closing on December 23, 2022. Staff have indicated that they plan to submit this draft to HCD by January 31, 2023. The City acknowledges that the Draft Element is noncompliant in its current form, and estimates that it may be able to produce a compliant Element in 9-12 more months. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the current Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to HCD at HousingElements@hcd.ca.gov and to LukeC@Cupertino.org, clearly identifying Cupertino Housing Element in the subject line.


Find updates, materials, and recordings of past events at Cupertino’s Housing Elements Webpage. You can register to receive updates from the City by signing up for e-Notifications on the right side of the webpage.

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Cupertino.

Gilroy – Initial Draft Housing Element Available

See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element.

Review Gilroy’s initial Draft Housing Element here.

Gilroy submitted their initial Draft to HCD on October 31, 2022, and HCD’s review letter is expected on January 27, 2023. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Gilroy’s assigned reviewer, Connor Finney at Connor.Finney@hcd.ca.govand copy city staff at Cindy.McCormick@ci.gilroy.ca.us


Find updates and materials at Gilroy’s Housing Elements Webpage. You can register to receive updates from the city by clicking the green bar at the top of the page.

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Gilroy.

Los Altos- Initial Draft Housing Element Available

On Tuesday, January 24th, Los Altos City Council adopted a revised Sixth Cycle Housing Element 2023-2031, and will submit the adopted Housing Element to HCD for review.

Read Los Altos’ HCD review letter, received by the City on November 11, 2022, with actions required to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law.

Review Los Altos’ initial Draft Housing Element here.

Los Altos submitted their initial Draft to HCD on August 12, 2022, and HCD’s review letter is expected on November 10, 2022. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Los Altos’s assigned reviewer, Anthony Errichetto, at Anthony.Errichetto@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at housingelement@losaltosca.gov.


Find basic information on the City’s Housing Element Webpage. Questions and comments can be directed to  housingelement@losaltosca.gov

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Los Altos.

Los Gatos – Initial Draft Housing Element Available

On January 25th, the Los Gatos Town Council will hold a public hearing to consider adoption of the Draft 2023-2031 Housing Element- the same version of their same Draft Housing Element that HCD stated was noncompliant in their review letter on January 12, 2023.

Read Los Gatos’ HCD review letter, received by the City on January 12, 2023, with actions required to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law.

See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element here.

Review Los Gatos’s initial Draft Housing Element here.

Los Gatos submitted their initial Draft to HCD on October 14, 2022, and HCD’s review letter is expected on January 12, 2022. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Los Gatos’s assigned reviewer, Jose Armando Jauregui, at Jose.Jauregui@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at HEUpdate@losgatosca.gov


Los Gatos Upcoming Events

  • Town Council Public Hearing to Consider Adoption of the Draft 2023-2031 Housing Element – January 30, 2023, 7:00 p.m. To provide oral comments real-time during the meeting, you may  join in-person at 110 E. Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030 in the Town Council Chambers, or via the Zoom webinar at: https://zoom.us/joinMeeting ID: 865 0635 8908 ; Passcode: 396598. 

If you are interested in upcoming Housing Element Update meetings, participation in the process or general information, please send an email to HEUpdate@losgatosca.gov. Materials and updates are available on the town’s Housing Element Webpage. You are also encouraged to sign up for the Town’s Notify Me subscription.

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Los Gatos.

Los Gatos has just completed an update of their General Plan, the long-range planning document the Housing Element is part of. At the June 30 Special Town Council meeting, the Council approved the Draft 2040 General Plan with modifications. The approved Plan retains the Town’s Low Density neighborhoods as is, allows slightly more housing in the Medium Density areas (i.e., missing middle), does not allow new housing potential in the Very High Fire hazard Severity Zone, and focuses growth on the major streets with mixed use and higher density developments.

A final version will be posted here in the coming weeks and an interactive online version completed in the coming months.

Milpitas – Initial Draft Housing Element Available

On Tuesday, January 24th, Los Altos City Council adopted a revised 6th Cycle Housing Element and will submit the adopted Housing Element to HCD for review.

Read Milpitas’ HCD review letter, received by the City on January 13, 2023, with actions required to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law.

See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element here.

Milpitas submitted their initial Draft to HCD on October 18, 2022, and HCD’s review letter is expected on January 13, 2022. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Milpitas’s assigned reviewer, Shawn Danino, at Shawn.Danino@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at housingelement@ci.milpitas.ca.gov.


Find information on the city’s Housing Element Webpage. Email housingelement@ci.milpitas.ca.gov if you would like to be added to the email list.

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Milpitas.

Morgan Hill- Initial Draft Housing Element Available

City Council will hold a public hearing on January 25, 2023, to review and adopt the
City of Morgan Hill 2023-2031 Housing Element making the findings that the Housing Element is in substantial compliance with State Law. Once the City receives preliminary certification from HCD, the final document will be reviewed by both the Planning Commission and City Council prior to final submission to HCD for certification. The revised draft represents substantial improvement, but we believe it will require further revisions to comply with State Housing Element Law. Read SV@Home’s letter on Morgan Hill’s revised Draft Housing Element.

Read Morgan Hill‘s HCD review letter, received by the City on November 17, 2022, with actions required to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law.

See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element here.

Review Morgan Hill’s initial Draft Housing Element here.

Morgan Hill submitted their initial Draft to HCD on August 19, 2022, and HCD’s review letter is expected on November 17, 2022. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Morgan Hill’s assigned reviewer, Alex Contreras, at Alex.Contreras@hcd.ca.govand copy city staff at adam.paszkowski@morganhill.ca.gov.


Upcoming Morgan Hill Events

  • City Council Meeting – January 25, 2023 at 6:30 pm, 17575 Peak Ave. Public hearing on to review and adopt the City of Morgan Hill 2023-2031 Housing Element. Attend in person or virtually at https://bit.ly/MHCityCouncilMeeting or 669-900-9128, then enter the webinar id:  873 3200 8380. For more information on tonight’s MH meeting, visit http://ow.ly/3Jph50MAprQ

Find updates, materials, and recordings of past events at Morgan Hill’s Housing Elements Webpage. You can register to receive updates from the city by clicking Notify Me on the webpage.

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Morgan Hill.

Mountain View- Initial Draft Housing Element Available

Read Mountain View’s revised Subsequent Draft Housing Element, submitted to HCD on November 18, 2022. The City will receive a second review letter from HCD on January 17, 2023. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Mountain View’s assigned reviewer, Reid Miller, at Reid.Miller@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at city.clerk@mountainview.gov.

See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element.

Read Mountain View’s HCD review letter, received by the City on September 29, 2022, with actions required to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law.

View the initial Draft Housing Element here.

Mountain View submitted their initial Draft to HCD on July 1, 2022, and HCD’s review letter was received on September 29, 2022. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Mountain View’s assigned reviewer, Reid Miller, at Reid.Miller@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at city.clerk@mountainview.gov.

Mountain View Upcoming Events

Find more updates, materials, and recordings of past events at Mountain View’s Housing Element Website. You can sign up for updates by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the Housing Element webpage and entering your email.

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Mountain View.

Palo Alto-Initial Draft Housing Element Available

See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element.

View the initial Draft Housing Element here.

The Review and Comment Period started on November 7, 2022 and ended on December 7, 2022 at 5 PM. If residents and stakeholders still need to submit their comments on the Draft Housing Elements, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to HCD at HousingElements@hcd.ca.gov, and copy city staff. heupdate@cityofpaloalto.org


Find updates and materials at Palo Alto’s Housing Elements Webpage. You can register to receive updates from the city by scrolling to the bottom of the webpage and entering your information.

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Palo Alto.

San Jose- Initial Draft Housing Element Available

Read San Jose‘s HCD review letter, received by the City on December 15, 2022, with actions required to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law.

See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element here.

View the initial Draft Housing Element here.

San Jose submitted their initial Draft to HCD on September 16, 2022, and HCD’s review letter is expected on December 15, 2022. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to San Jose’s assigned reviewer, Chelsea Lee, at Chelsea.Lee@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at HousingElement@sanjoseca.gov.


Find updates, materials, and resources at San Jose’s Housing Elements Webpage. Register to receive updates from the city by clicking on the green circle labeled “Sign up for updates.”

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for San Jose.

Santa Clara- Initial Draft Housing Element Available

A revised, Adoption Draft Housing Element addressing HCDs comments and incorporating edits based on community feedback from the earlier drafts, will be reviewed by Santa Clara’s Planning Commission (January 26, 2023) and City Council (January 31, 2023), and after adoption by the City Council, will be sent to HCD for review and certification.

Read Santa Clara’s HCD review letter, received by the City on November 18, 2022, with actions required to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law.

View SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element here.

View the initial Draft Housing Element here.

Santa Clara submitted their initial Draft to HCD on August 22, 2022, and HCD’s review letter is expected on November 18, 2022. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Santa Clara’s assigned reviewer, Jose Armando Jauregui, at Jose.Jauregui@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at John Davidson, Principal Planner.


Santa Clara Upcoming Events

You can find basic information about the Housing Element and sign up to receive notifications at the City’s Housing Element webpage.

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Santa Clara.

Unincorporated Santa Clara County

As of January 25, 2023, Santa Clara County has not produced a Draft Housing Element.

The County of Santa Clara now has a webpage to communicate with residents about the Housing Element process in the unincorporated County. Find basic information and sign up for updates here.

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Unincorporated Santa Clara County.

Saratoga- Initial Draft Housing Element Available

Read Saratoga’s HCD review letter, received by the City on October 26, 2022, with actions required to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law. The Housing Element Second Draft, with a public comment period from January 9th to January 16th , will be sent to HCD for review following revision to address public comment.

View the initial Draft Housing Element here.

Saratoga submitted their initial Draft to HCD on July 28, 2022, and HCD’s review letter was received on October 26, 2022. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Saratoga’s assigned reviewer, Hillary Prasad, at Hillary.Prasad@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at dpedro@saratoga.ca.us


Find updates, materials, and resources at Saratoga’s Housing Elements Webpage, and sign up for their Housing Element Newsletter to get an email when meeting locations and participation details are available. 

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Saratoga.

Sunnyvale- Initial Draft Housing Element Available

Photo May 16, 2019: Edwina Benner Plaza Sunnyvale, CA. Developed 2017

Read Sunnyvale’s HCD review letter, received by the City on October 6, 2022, with actions required to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law.

Read SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element.

View the initial Draft Housing Element here.

Sunnyvale submitted their initial Draft to HCD on July 8, 2022, and HCD’s review letter was received on October 6, 2022. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Sunnyvale’s assigned reviewer, Shawn Danino, at Shawn.Danino@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at rdyson@sunnyvale.ca.gov


Find updates, materials, and resources at Sunnyvale’s Housing Elements Webpage. You can register to receive updates from the city by clicking “Subscribe to stay informed.”

For more information about the project visit Housing Element Update or contact Ryan Dyson

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Sunnyvale.

View the initial Draft Housing Element here.

Sunnyvale submitted their initial Draft to HCD on July 8, 2022, and HCD’s review letter was received on October 6, 2022. If residents and stakeholders need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Sunnyvale’s assigned reviewer, Shawn Danino, at Shawn.Danino@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at rdyson@sunnyvale.ca.gov


Find updates, materials, and resources at Sunnyvale’s Housing Elements Webpage. You can register to receive updates from the city by clicking “Subscribe to stay informed.”

For more information about the project visit Housing Element Update or contact Ryan Dyson

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). Here is the data packet for Sunnyvale.

Housing Element Policies

Policies to consider in your advocacy

One request we’ve heard from you is for a list of suggested policies you can advocate to be included in your city’s Housing Element. It’s important to note that Housing Element Policies & Programs must be responsive to the housing needs and barriers identified in the Housing Needs Assessment, Assessment of Fair Housing, Assessment of Constraints, and Evaluation of Past Housing Element Policy Performance. HCD will not accept Policies & Programs that are untethered from identified needs and barriers.

As part of HCD’s guidance memo on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, they have released a list of Examples of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Actions. This is a great place to look for policy solutions responsive to your community’s housing needs! Suggested policies center on:

  • Housing Mobility Strategies: removing barriers to housing in areas of opportunity and  strategically enhancing access
  • New Housing Choices and Affordability in Areas of Opportunity: promoting housing supply, choices and affordability in areas of high opportunity, outside areas of concentrated poverty
  • Place-based Strategies to Encourage Community Conservation and Revitalization: conserving and improving assets in areas of lower opportunity and concentrated poverty such as targeted investment in neighborhood revitalization, preserving or rehabilitating existing affordable housing, improving infrastructure, schools, employment, parks, transportation and other community amenities
  • Protecting Existing Residents from Displacement: protecting residents in  areas of lower or moderate opportunity and concentrated poverty and preserving housing choices and affordability

Affordable housing production faces many challenges, including higher costs of development and shortages of funding for state and federal affordable housing programs. As part of the housing element, cities are required to identify barriers to production, both governmental (such as lengthy approval processes and large fees) and nongovernmental (such as opposition from existing residents), and find ways to help overcome them. While many cities have little money earmarked to directly support affordable housing, there are actions they can take and policies they can put in place that reduce costs for developers of affordable housing. Our partners at MidPen Housing have developed a fantastic set of best practices aimed at increasing production, with case studies as examples from previous planning cycles. Not only are these great policies, but the case studies can help you and your city understand the potential unlocked by including these policies in the Housing Element!

Housing Element Laws

New Laws Impacting Housing Elements

This time around, there have been changes in the process and housing law that will make this a lot more challenging for city staff than it has been in the past. Staff, consultants, and council will need more support. In addition to much bigger housing targets:

  • Staff will have to plan for units and affordability. They’ll have to identify which sites in the site inventory will hold their low-income housing units, and show that development and site capacity is feasible
  • The No Net Loss law means that Staff will have to overplan. If any site is developed with fewer units or higher affordability than it was planned for, there has to always be enough planned capacity to hold whatever is left of the RHNA
  • They have to affirmatively further fair housing, and show that lower-income sites are located equitably in the city. 
  • HCD can now monitor, enforce, and  de-certify cities’ housing elements mid-cycle, and if that happens, anything with at least 20% affordability becomes by-right

Staff and councils will need to have a clear-eyed view of their challenges and obligations, and they’re likely to face a lot of opposition from residents. Housing advocates will need to be involved at every step of the process with staff, consultants, and council to make sure we have good, compliant Housing Elements with as strong a chance as possible for success. Learn more about New Laws Impacting the Housing Element.

Understanding Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

New to this planning cycle, local jurisdictions must demonstrate that they are using their Housing Element to combat discrimination, overcome existing patterns of segregation, and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics such as race and ethnicity. HCD has recently released comprehensive guidance on how cities must incorporate the law, known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), into their Housing Element. Read a summary of HCD’s comments to jurisdictions on AFFH in Housing Elements.

Using fair housing metrics to allocate the Bay Area’s total housing need will help advance the AFFH mandate and create housing opportunities in resource-rich communities, many of which have a legacy of exclusion that must be overcome. Promoting greater housing opportunities in these neighborhoods helps advance regional priorities such as economic mobility, public health, and improved educational outcomes. This metric should be used to choose sites for all income levels, not just the low-income share of housing need, to ensure that more housing of all types is built where it is needed most. In this way, allocation based on access to high opportunity areas can also advance the requirement to increase housing supply & mix of housing types across all jurisdictions in an equitable way.

An easy way for advocates to check to see if housing of all income levels is distributed equitable throughout the community is to find sites in the Housing Element Site Inventory on the State’s Opportunity Maps. Planning lower-income homes for high-resource areas also helps them qualify for important access to LIHTC financing. 

Housing Element Sites Inventories

What makes a site unrealistic? AKA “Ground Truthing for Busy People”

Sometimes cities choose sites to accommodate their RHNA that are unlikely to be developed- sometimes unlikely for very obvious reasons! Whether the bad sites are chosen in honest error or ill intent, they will not lead to the construction of housing and are not in compliance with the law. Once your city begins to choose sites for the inventory, you can easily use Google Maps and Street View to see what’s happening at these sites- and often catch errors. Check out the sites a housing advocate found in San Diego’s Housing Element site inventory, as well as an explanation of why each site is unlikely to be developed! If you need to search for a site address by Assessor Parcel Number (APN), you can use the search function in this map from the Santa Clara County’s Department of Planning and Development– just choose APN from the dropdown menu in the search box at the top right corner.

Deep Dive: An Explainer & Audit Tool for the Housing Element (YIMBY)

This Explainer – which we call the “HEAT Sheet” – outlines several key topics of housing elements which carry legal weight and are top priority for housing advocates. Housing elements are both analytical and programmatic documents. The analytical side is supposed to reveal problems with the city’s housing stock and housing policies. The programmatic side is supposed to commit the city to fixing those problems in specific ways. A housing element must show how the city will accommodate its share of regional housing need allocation (“RHNA”) in each of four income categories: housing for very low-income, low-income, moderate-income, and above moderate-income households. A housing element must also affirmatively further fair housing, opening up neighborhoods from which lower-income and minority households have historically been excluded. Last, a housing element must mitigate or remove constraints to the development of housing at all levels of affordability.

Ready for a deep dive? Our friends at the Campaign for Fair Housing Elements have curated an incredible Resource Library with explainers, legislation memos, data, and more!

You can also register with them to receive updates on Housing Element actions happening in your city!

How To: Housing Element Resources

Talking about the Housing Element

Housing Elements can be a complicated, intimidating process — but with the right messaging, we can help break down barriers and motivate residents and advocates to get involved and shape better policy. Join NPH with M+R Communications for a presentation that will lay out an approach for what to say and how to say it to bring people in, communicate the essentials, and get them engaged in the process. View the recorded training and slide deck here!

How to Give Public Comments for Fair Housing Elements (YIMBY)

New to giving public comment in support of housing at meetings? This helpful guide from CA YIMBY gives you specific examples on what to say by topic, including housing for racial equity, housing for economic opportunity, and housing for sustainable communities. This is a great way to get engaged quickly!

Advocacy Letter Templates

Don’t have time to write a letter? Start with one of these template letters and just fill in a few blanks! (Open the link, the click File> Download, or simply copy and paste into your own document to edit.)

“Diligent and Equitable Outreach to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing” letter template

“Fair and Equitable Housing Elements” letter template (Campaign for Fair Housing Elements)

“Housing Element Priorities” letter template

“Disability-Inclusive Housing” letter template (Campaign for Fair Housing Elements)

Housing Needs Analysis by Jurisdiction

State law requires local jurisdictions to analyze their communities’ housing needs and resources available to address them. ABAG/MTC has compiled demographic, economic, and housing stock data required by HCD for each Bay Area jurisdiction so that local planning staff can focus on developing meaningful policies and programs. The data packets include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). You can also find concise summaries of some key local housing data for each jurisdiction in Santa Clara County on SV@Home’s City Pages.