Housing Element Toolkit

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Click here for specific information about your city in Santa Clara County!

Eight cities in Santa Clara County have achieved Housing Element certification

On May 17, 2023, the City of Milpitas became the first jurisdiction in Santa Clara County and the 18th in the Bay Area region to earn Housing Element Certification from HCD. HCD’s letter points out that “the City must continue timely and effective implementation of all programs”- as with every jurisdiction, Milpitas must keep the commitments they have made in the Housing Element. Milpitas is only the 18th of the Bay Area’s 109 jurisdictions to have adopted a Housing Element that HCD has deemed compliant with state law, despite the January 31, 2023 deadline to do so.

Mountain View, Campbell, and Los Altos Hills were also certified before the end of May, when a new deadline applies to noncompliant cities. Bay Area jurisdictions that failed to adopt an HCD-certified compliant housing element by May 31, 2023 must complete all rezoning related to the Housing Element in just 1 year instead of 3.

Other cities that have received HCD certification of their Housing Elements are the City of Gilroy (August 21, 2023), the City of Los Altos (September 5, 2023), the City of Morgan Hill (November 29, 2023), and the City of San Jose (January 29, 2024).

With compliant housing elements, these jurisdictions now meet housing element requirements for competitive State and regional funding sources. As of September 19th, just 43 of the Bay Area’s 109 jurisdictions have adopted a certified Element.

Housing Element compliance

Housing Elements must be certified as compliant with state housing law by HCD in order for cities to avoid loss of local land use authority, fines, and loss of access to important pools of state funding. A recent court case affirmed that cities cannot avoid consequences by certifying their own Housing Elements. Is your city certified? If not, read the HCD review letter for your city to see the work ahead to respond to the issues raised by HCD. You can submit your comments both directly to your city and also to the assigned HCD reviewer. Find all the information you need in the city-specific section below!

What about the Builder’s Remedy, and other consequences for cities without a compliant Housing Element?

Builder’s Remedy, a controversial exemption from local zoning constraints for projects with a specific percentage of deed-restricted affordable housing, is the most talked-about consequence of noncompliance. Here in the South Bay, we know that Builder’s Remedy developments have already been proposed in multiple jurisdictions. Read SV@Home’s blog post about what can happen when cities fail to adopt a compliant Housing Element by the deadline.

Click on the links below to jump directly to a section

HCD review letters received in Santa Clara County jurisdictions

Learn who is reviewing your city’s Housing Element, and where they are in the review process!

HCD Housing Element Review
JurisdictionReviewerEmailDate to HCDVersionCompliant?Review Anticipated/ Received
Mountain ViewReid MillerReid.Miller@hcd.ca.gov4/26/23AdoptedYES5/26/23
SunnyvaleShawn DaninoShawn.Danino@hcd.ca.gov10/12/23AdoptedNO 2/12/24
SaratogaClare BlackwellClare.Blackwell@hcd.ca.gov5/30/233rd DraftNO7/28/23
CampbellShawn DaninoShawn.Danino@hcd.ca.gov4/26/23AdoptedYES5/30/23
Los AltosAnthony ErrichettoAnthony.Errichetto@hcd.ca.gov8/18/23AdoptedYES9/5/23
Morgan HillSohab MehmoodSohab.Mehmood@hcd.ca.gov10/5/23AdoptedYES11/29/23
Santa ClaraJose Armando JaureguiJose.Jauregui@hcd.ca.gov11/30/23AdoptedNO10/20/23
San JoseMelinda CoyMelinda.Coy@hcd.ca.gov 6/29/23AdoptedYES1/29/24
Monte SerenoBrandon YungBrandon.Yung@hcd.ca.gov7/25/23AdoptedNO9/22/23
Los GatosJose Armando Jauregui Jose.Jauregui@hcd.ca.gov10/3/23AdoptedNO12/1/23
Milpitas Shawn DaninoShawn.Danino@hcd.ca.gov5/16/23AdoptedYES5/17/23
Los Altos HillsReid MillerReid.Miller@hcd.ca.gov4/27/23AdoptedYES5/30/23
GilroyEmily Hovda Emily.Hovda@hcd.ca.gov5/8/23AdoptedYES8/21/23
Palo AltoIrvin SaldanaIrvin.Saldana@hcd.ca.gov 6/7/23AdoptedNO8/4/23
CupertinoJose Armando JaureguiJose.Jauregui@hcd.ca.gov10/17/20232nd DraftNO12/15/2023
Santa Clara CountyJose Armando JaureguiJose.Jauregui@hcd.ca.gov10/19/232nd DraftNO12/18/23

Housing advocates making change happen!

This is a critical time for advocates to weigh in on your city’s housing plan for the next eight years! Advocates have a critical role in how the state is holding cities accountable for creating Housing Elements that effectively address their communities’ housing needs, and whether the polices in the Element create the change our communities need. Watch Making Housing Elements Work through State Enforcement to learn more.

The next 8 years hold unique promise for real progress on affordable housing- if cities follow through. Housing Elements are critically important to meeting the housing needs of all their residents, at all income levels. Learn about the opportunity ahead, and how to realize the potential of housing elements to meet the housing needs of all our communities! Watch The Next 8 Years: Keeping Housing Elements’ Promises to learn more.


What’s happening now in your city?

Campbell – Certified Compliant Housing Element

May 30, 2023: The City of Campbell earned Housing Element Certification from HCD! HCD’s letter points out that “the City must continue timely and effective implementation of all programs”- as with every jurisdiction, Campbell must keep the commitments they have made in the Housing Element. With a compliant housing element, the City now meets housing element requirements for competitive State and regional funding sources. Campbell has 3 years to complete their Housing Element rezoning (by January 31, 2026).

March 27, 2023: the City of Campbell received a review letter from HCD on the City’s Draft Housing Element submitted for review on March 24, 2023. In the letter, HCD indicates that they are pleased to find that the 4th Draft of the Housing Element meets the statutory requirements of State Housing Element Law, and will substantially comply with State Housing Element Law when it is adopted, submitted to, and approved by HCD. The City has now adopted their Element, and submitted it to HCD for review on April 26th. HCD will respond with a review letter by June 23rd.

December 2022 Revised Draft: The City of Campbell submitted a revised Draft Housing Element to HCD for review on December 27. Read the review letter HCD sent to the City in response on February 23, 2023.

Initial Draft: Campbell submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on August 5, 2022, and received HCD’s review letter on November 3, 2022.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and need to submit comments on the Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Campbell’s assigned HCD 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 – 2nd Draft Housing Element

On December 15, 2023, the City of Cupertino received a review letter from HCD indicating that the city must make additional revisions to its Draft Housing Element in order to comply with state law.

Second Draft Housing Element: On October 6, 2023, the City of Cupertino released a second draft housing element in response to HCD’s May 4th review letter, with changes and updates in response to HCD’s comments. The City submitted the Draft to HCD for review on October 17th, with a review letter expected from HCD by December 15, 2023. In an effort to address informal comments from HCD, staff made further revisions to the October 2023 version of the Draft in late November. If you are a resident or stakeholder and need to submit comments on the current Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Cupertino’s assigned HCD Reviewer, Jose Jauregui, at Jose.Jauregui@hcd.ca.gov and to LukeC@Cupertino.org, clearly identifying Cupertino Housing Element in the subject line.

On March 7, 2023, the City of Cupertino retained a new Housing Element consultant. On July 25th, the City Council held a study session to review progress to date and provide input on priorities, and the City has held several Housing Element public engagement events since then.

Initial Draft: Cupertino released their initial Draft Housing Element on November 18, 2022, with the public comment period closing on December 23, 2022. See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element. Staff submitted this draft to HCD on February 3, 2023, and HCD sent an initial review letter on May 4, 2023. The City acknowledges that the Draft Element is noncompliant in its current form, and estimates that it will produce the next Draft Housing Element in August or September 2023.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and need to submit comments on the current Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Cupertino’s assigned HCD Reviewer, Jose Jauregui, at Jose.Jauregui@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 – Certified Compliant Housing Element

August 21, 2023: The City of Gilroy has received HCD certification of its Housing Element!  HCD’s letter points out that “the City must continue timely and effective implementation of all programs”- as with every jurisdiction, Gilroy must keep the commitments they have made in the Housing Element. With a compliant housing element, the City now meets housing element requirements for competitive State and regional funding sources. Since Gilroy earned certification after the May 31, 2023 deadline, they must complete rezoning associated with their Housing Element by January 31, 2024.

July 2023 Revised Draft: In response to HCD’s comment letter, the City prepared “minor modifications” to the 2023-2031 Housing Element for public review. The revised Draft will be reviewed by the City Council on August 21, 2023 at their regular meeting, beginning at 6:00 pm.

Revised Draft 2023-2031 Housing Element (with highlighted changes, dated July 31, 2023)

Revised Draft 2023-2031 Housing Element (clean version for easy viewing, dated July 31, 2023)

April 2023 Revised Draft: On April 26th, the City released a draft revised to correct typographical errors, better respond to HCD comments, and improve consistency throughout the draft. On May 1st, prior to the end of the mandatory 7-day public notice period, Council voted to adopt the noncompliant Revised Draft, and submit it to HCD for review. On July 7th, HCD responded with a comment letter with additional necessary revisions, including analysis showing nonvacant sites are likely to redevelop with housing, and bolder actions in policies to advance farmworker housing and invest in historically disinvested neighborhoods. Based on the results of a complete analysis, the City may need to add or revise programs.

Initial Draft: Gilroy submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on October 31, 2022, and received HCD’s review letter on January 27, 2023, requiring extensive revisions in order to comply with state law. SV@Home shared a comment letter with the City and HCD reviewer on March 6, 2023, to help the city respond to the HCD review letter and SV@Home’s original comment letter sent in October 2022. Our goal is to help the City of Gilroy come into compliance with State Law and achieve HCD certification of the 6th cycle Housing Element.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and need to submit comments on the Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Gilroy’s assigned reviewer, Emily Hovda at Emily.Hovda@hcd.ca.gov and 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 – Certified Compliant Housing Element

September 5, 2023: The City of Los Altos has received HCD certification of its Housing Element!  HCD’s letter points out that “the City must continue timely and effective implementation of all programs”- as with every jurisdiction, Los Altos must keep the commitments they have made in the Housing Element. With a compliant housing element, the City now meets housing element requirements for competitive State and regional funding sources. Since Los Altos earned certification after the May 31, 2023 deadline, they must complete rezoning associated with their Housing Element by January 31, 2024.

August 2023 Revised Draft: On August 10, the City of Los Altos posted “revisions to the noncompliant Housing Element they adopted in January” for 7-day review prior to submission to HCD. The revisions are intended to respond to the HCD’s June 30th review letter. The City submitted their revised Element to HCD on August 18th, and will receive a review letter from HCD by October 17th.

May 2023 Revised Draft: The City of Los Altos revised the noncompliant Housing Element they adopted in January, and submitted it to HCD on May 2, 2023. The revised noncompliant Adopted Housing Element with track changes in response to the HCD March 2023 comments can be viewed here. On June 30th, HCD responded with a comment letter with additional necessary revisions, including analysis showing nonvacant sites are likely to redevelop with housing, and actions that combat segregation by providing more affordable housing choices in high-resource areas. The City’s website states that staff is working to address HCD’s comments now.

January 2023 Adopted Draft: On Tuesday, January 24th, Los Altos City Council adopted a revised Sixth Cycle Housing Element 2023-2031, and submitted the adopted Housing Element to HCD for review. On March 30th, the City of Los Altos received an HCD review letter stating the Adopted Element requires additional revisions to substantially comply with State Housing Element Law.

Initial Draft: Los Altos submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on August 12, 2022. 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.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Los Altos’s assigned HCD 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 – Adopted Noncompliant Housing Element

September 22 Revised Draft Element: The Town posted a Draft Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element, and submitted it to HCD for review on October 3. HCD will provide a comment letter to the city by December 1, 2023. If you are a resident or stakeholder and 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

March 2023 Subsequent Draft: The Town of Los Gatos adopted a Draft Housing Element without HCD certification in January and submitted it to HCD for review. HCD was expected to provide a comment letter on April 14th. Rather than wait for HCD’s feedback, the Town posted another Revised Housing Element in response to HCD’s comment letter received by the Town on January 12, 2023 for a seven-day review period, ending March 30th. The Town submitted the revised noncompliant Adopted Housing Element to HCD on March 31st. Following another 60-day review period, HCD’s May 30th review letter stated that the Adopted Draft Element remains noncompliant, and more revisions are needed to comply with state law. Staff and consultants are working to revise the Housing Element in response to HCD’s comments.

January 2023 Adopted Draft: On January 25th, the Los Gatos Town Council adopted the Draft 2023-2031 Housing Element with only minimal revisions to the site inventory – despite HCD’s statement in their review letter on January 12, 2023 that the draft element was noncompliant and required extensive revision to comply with state law. On April 14, 2023, the Town received HCD’s review letter on the Town’s Housing Element, as adopted on January 30th which found that the Town’s adopted Housing Element contained minimal revisions with the exception of utilizing minimum densities to calculate residential capacity and adding a few sites, but otherwise provided no content to address the other comments contained in HCD’s January 12, 2023, review.  For these reasons, HCD did not repeat its findings and referred the Town to that prior review.   

Initial Draft: Los Gatos submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on October 14, 2022, and HCD’s review letter was received on January 12, 2022, with extensive 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.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and 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


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.

Milpitas – Certified Compliant Housing Element

May 17, 2023: The City of Milpitas became the first jurisdiction in Santa Clara County and the 18th in the Bay Area region to earn Housing Element Certification from HCD! HCD’s letter points out that “the City must continue timely and effective implementation of all programs”- as with every jurisdiction, Milpitas must keep the commitments they have made in the Housing Element. With a compliant housing element, the City now meets housing element requirements for competitive State and regional funding sources. Milpitas has 3 years to complete their Housing Element rezoning (by January 31, 2026).

Milpitas is only the 18th of the Bay Area’s 109 jurisdictions to have adopted a Housing Element that HCD has deemed compliant with state law, despite the January 31, 2023 deadline to do so. 

March 2023 Subsequent Draft: On March 30th, the City posted a revised Subsequent Draft, which they refer to as “Adopted” despite substantive revisions since the Council last adopted the noncompliant Element in January.

January 2023 Adopted Draft: On Tuesday, January 24th, Milpitas City Council adopted a revised 6th Cycle Housing Element. The City states on their website that their next step is to make “any remaining final changes” to the Revised HCD Review Draft and submit to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for certification. However, the adopted Housing Element has never been submitted to HCD.

Initial Draft: Milpitas submitted their initial Draft to HCD on October 18, 2022, and received an initial review letter from HCD 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.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and need to submit comments on the 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 – Certified Compliant Housing Element

November 29, 2023: Morgan Hill received a letter from HCD certifying their Housing Element as compliant with state law. HCD’s letter points out that “the City must continue timely and effective implementation of all programs”- as with every jurisdiction, Morgan Hill must keep the commitments they have made in the Housing Element. With a compliant housing element, the City now meets housing element requirements for competitive State and regional funding sources. Since Morgan Hill earned certification after the May 31, 2023 deadline, they must complete rezoning associated with their Housing Element by January 31, 2024.

September 2023 Revised Draft: On September 28th, the City posted a revised draft (beneath the heading “Revised 2023-2031 Housing Element”) of the Housing Element in response to the April 3rd review letter from HCD. The City reportedly submitted the revised draft to HCD for review on October 5th, and will receive a review letter from HCD in response by December 4, 2023.

January 2023 Adopted Draft: City Council held 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. Read SV@Home’s letter on Morgan Hill’s revised Draft Housing Element. On April 3, 2023, Morgan Hill received a second review letter from HCD stating that the Housing Element adopted in January without HCD certification still requires more revisions to comply with State Housing Element Law. The City intends to post a revised draft in September before submitting it to HCD for review.

Initial Draft: Morgan Hill submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on August 19, 2022. See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial 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.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and 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.gov and copy city staff at adam.paszkowski@morganhill.ca.gov.


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 – Certified Compliant Housing Element

May 26, 2023: The City of Mountain View became the second jurisdiction in Santa Clara County, after Milpitas, to earn Housing Element Certification from HCD! HCD’s letter points out that “the City must continue timely and effective implementation of all programs”- as with every jurisdiction, Mountain View must keep the commitments they have made in the Housing Element. With a compliant housing element, the City now meets housing element requirements for competitive State and regional funding sources. Mountain View has 3 years to complete their Housing Element rezoning (by January 31, 2026).

March 2023 Revised Draft: The City of Mountain View released a revised Subsequent Draft on March 6th, which the Council adopted on April 11th. The City submitted its adopted noncompliant Element to HCD for review on April 26th, and can expect a review letter from HCD by June 23rd, 2023.

November 2022 Revised Draft: Mountain View made revisions to their initial Draft, and released a revised Housing Element for public review, which they submitted to HCD on November 18, 2022. The City received a second review letter from HCD on January 17, 2023 with additional revisions needed to comply with state law.

Initial Draft: Mountain View submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on July 1, 2022. 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.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and need to submit comments on the 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.


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 – Adopted Noncompliant Housing Element

May 2023 Adopted Noncompliant Draft: On April 28, 2023, the City of Palo Alto released a revised Draft Housing Element for public comment through May 5, 2023, in response to comments made by HCD. The City Council and the Planning and Transportation Commission held a joint meeting on May 8, 2023 and adopted the revised noncompliant Housing Element. The City submitted the Adopted Noncompliant Draft to HCD on June 7th, and received a review letter from HCD on August 3rd, requiring a substantial amount of revision to comply with state law.

Initial Draft: Palo Alto submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on December 23, 2023 Read Palo Alto’s HCD review letter with revisions required to comply with State Law, received by the City on March 23, 2023. See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Palo Alto’s assigned reviewer, Irvin Saldana, at Irvin.Saldana@hcd.ca.gov and copy City staff at 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 – Certified Compliant Housing Element

On January 29th, the City of San Jose received a letter from HCD certifying its adopted Housing Element and commending the collaborative work of city staff and community stakeholders in refining a robust set of policy commitments.

SV@Home, in partnership with other local and regional housing and community advocacy organizations, has been working alongside city staff and key stakeholders to respond to HCD’s comments (8/28/23) on the adopted Draft Housing Element. The City’s engagement has been proactive, collaborative, and responsive. We appreciate the time the staff has committed to meeting with key organizations and community members in the past months. SV@Home is pleased to submit a letter of support for San Jose’s revised Housing Element to HCD. 

While we support state certification of San Jose’s Housing Element, we recognize that the work we have done together up until now is only the beginning, as the City now moves to implement the ambitious work plan contained in the Element. We look forward to strengthening the valuable collaborative relationships with community and regional partners as we move collectively from planning to implementation.

August 28, 2023: The City of San Jose received a review letter from HCD notifying staff that further revisions must be made to bring the Housing Element into compliance with state law. The letter describes a significant amount of work the City still must do. Some of the biggest pieces of work include:

  • Conduct extensive analysis to show that it is feasible to build the number of housing units the city has planned on parcels of land that currently have other uses, such as offices, churches, gas stations, restaurants, preschools, grocery stores, and banks. 
  • Provide a more thorough analysis of potential constraints or barriers to housing development, such as City fees, long timelines to process permit applications, and zoning that restricts the land available for a variety of housing types. 
  • Because the Council voted not to move forward with a Community Opportunity to Purchase Program (COPA) at present, the Element must strengthen other specific commitments to prevent displacement and protect vulnerable tenants.

The City has been engaging in many stakeholder meetings since receiving the August 28th review letter to strengthen programs and address HCD’s concerns. The City hopes to submit a revised Draft Housing Element to HCD by the end of October.

May 2023 Revised Draft: On Wednesday May 10, the City of San Jose released their revised Draft Housing Element. It was adopted at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 20th, and submitted to HCD for review on June 29th. We recommend that you submit any comments directly to San Jose’s assigned reviewer, Melinda Coy, at Melinda.Coy@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at HousingElement@sanjoseca.gov. HCD will respond to the City with a comment letter by August 28, 2023.

Initial Draft: San Jose submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on September 16, 2022. See SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element. 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.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and 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 – Adopted Noncompliant Housing Element

July 2023 Adopted Draft: On June 27, 2023, the City Council “re-adopted” a new version of the noncompliant Housing Element with revisions to address HCDs comments. The re-adopted Housing Element was submitted to HCD for their review on August 23rd. On October 20th, the City received a review letter from HCD stating that further revisions are required for the Housing Element to comply with state law.

January 2023 Adopted Draft: A revised, Adoption Draft Housing Element addressing HCDs comments and incorporating edits based on community feedback from the earlier drafts, was reviewed by Santa Clara’s Planning Commission on January 26, 2023 and adopted by City Council on January 31, 2023. The adopted Housing Element was submitted to HCD for review and on March 28th, Santa Clara received an HCD review letter stating that the Adopted Draft meets only “some statutory requirements,” and will require revisions to substantially comply with State Housing Element Law.

Initial Draft: Santa Clara submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on August 22, 2022. View SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element. 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.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and 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.


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 – 2nd Draft Housing Element

On December 18, 2023, Santa Clara County received a review letter from HCD with feedback on the County’s most recent revised Draft Housing Element. The letter indicates that not only are additional and extensive revisions necessary to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law, but that the County failed to address many of the issues raised in HCD’s previous review letter in the revised Draft.

September 2023: On September 28th, the County provided notice that the Draft Housing Element has been revised. The County submitted the revised Draft Housing Element to HCD on October 19th.

Initial Draft: On March 21st, nearly 3 months after the deadline to adopt a compliant Housing Element, Santa Clara County released its first Draft Housing Element for a 30-day public comment period, which closed April 20th. The Draft protects rural areas by focusing plans for growth in pockets of unincorporated urban land, mostly within or adjacent to the City of San Jose and at Stanford. The Draft also acknowledges the risk of plans based on very large parcels of land by planning for more than twice the required capacity of homes. The County revised the Draft to respond to and incorporate public comment, and submitted the draft to HCD for review on May 4, 2023. On August 2, HCD responded with a review letter indicating that substantial additional revisions to the housing element are necessary to comply with State law.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and need to submit comments on the Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them by email to Planning2@pln.sccgov.org, and copy assigned HCD Reviewer, Jose Jauregui, at Jose.Jauregui@hcd.ca.gov, clearly identifying Santa Clara County Housing Element in the subject line.


The County of Santa Clara 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 – 3rd Draft Housing Element

May 2023 Revised Draft: At the May 17 City Council Meeting, the Council approved responses to comments received from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on the second draft of Saratoga’s 2023-2031 Housing Element. The responses were used to prepared a third draft of the Housing Element, which was available for a 7-day public review and comment period through Friday, May 26. The revised Draft was submitted to HCD on May 30th, and HCD responded on July 27 with a review letter indicating that substantial additional revisions are necessary to comply with State law. If you are a resident or stakeholder and need to submit comments on the revised Draft Housing Element, SV@Home encourages you to send them directly to Saratoga’s assigned reviewer, Clare Blackwell, at clare.blackwell@hcd.ca.gov and copy city staff at dpedro@saratoga.ca.us

January 2023 Revised Draft: The Housing Element Second Draft, with a public comment period from January 9th to January 16th, was sent to HCD for review following revision to address public comment.

On March 17, 2023 the City received a second HCD review letter stating that additional revisions are necessary to comply with State Housing Element Law. The City has stated that they are currently reviewing the State’s comment letter and will provide more information, including opportunities for the community to provide input, in the coming weeks.

Initial Draft: Saratoga submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on July 28, 2022. 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.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and 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 – Adopted Noncompliant Housing Element

On February 12, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) sent their fourth formal comment letter, in response to the City of Sunnyvale’s Adopted 2023-2031 Housing Element released in December 2023. Although the Adopted Housing Element was found to meet statutory requirements, the City’s recent By-Right Housing Approvals ordinance did not. The City will introduce an urgency ordinance to City Council in February to correct this issue.

Review HCD’s Comment Letter

December 11, 2023: The City of Sunnyvale’s Housing Element has been certified by HCD, contingent on council adoption, and was adopted by council the following day! HCD’s letter points out that “the City must continue timely and effective implementation of all programs”- as with every jurisdiction, Sunnyvale must keep the commitments they have made in the Housing Element. With a compliant housing element, the City now meets housing element requirements for competitive State and regional funding sources. Since Sunnyvale earned certification after the May 31, 2023 deadline, they must complete rezoning associated with their Housing Element by January 31, 2024.

October 2023 Draft: On September 26th, the City held a Council study session on revisions to the Draft Housing Element, although no revised Draft has been published at this time. Based on the discussion staff brought to Council, more work remained to be done to respond to all of HCD’s concerns. Staff made revisions to the Draft Housing Element, and submitted it to HCD on October 12, 2023.

May 2023 Draft: On May 16th, the City of Sunnyvale released their Revised Draft Housing Element for 7 days of public notice prior to prior to submitting to HCD for a 60-day review period beginning May 24th. The City states that the revision addresses comments from the public and from HCD. Read SV@Home’s comment letter on the revised Draft Housing Element. On July 21st, the city received a review letter from HCD with further revisions are necessary to bring the Draft Housing Element into compliance with state law. If you are a resident or stakeholder and 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

Initial Draft: Sunnyvale submitted their initial Draft Housing Element to HCD on July 8, 2022. Read SV@Home’s comment letter on the initial Draft Housing Element. 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.

Submit comments: If you are a resident or stakeholder and 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.

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!

What is the Housing Element?

Housing Elements are a critically important 8-year plan each California city must create to meet the housing needs of all their residents, at all income levels. Housing Elements must be certified as compliant with state housing law by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in order for cities to avoid loss of local land use authority, fines, and loss of access to important pools of state funding. Only 2 jurisdictions in Santa Clara County have adopted a Housing Element that HCD has deemed compliant with state law, despite the January 31, 2023 deadline. Learn more about what can happen when cities fail to adopt a compliant Housing Element by the deadline. 

Housing advocates can read the HCD review letter for their city’s Housing Element and suggest solutions that meet local housing needs and respond to the issues raised by HCD. You should submit your comments both directly to your city and also to the assigned HCD reviewer.

Housing Element Timeline

Housing Elements and Schools

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!

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.