New affordable homes at the Berryessa BART station
September 21, 2023

Housing Element Update 9/21


San Jose may lose access to millions in state funding

On Tuesday, August 28th, San Jose received a second letter from the state’s Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) outlining deficiencies in the draft submitted earlier in the summer. The letter describes a significant amount of work the City must still do, and city staff are urgently working to address the issues HCD identified. Staff hope to submit a revised draft to HCD before the end of October to receive certification before the end of the year. If the Housing Element is not certified before the end of the year, the City will lose access to nearly $60 million in state funding for bike and pedestrian improvements; a concrete example of the consequences noncompliant cities may face. SV@Home has held numerous meetings with staff to provide technical assistance in meeting HCD’s requirements and remains committed to helping the City earn certification. 

Los Altos is the latest city to be certified!

On September 5th, the City of Los Altos received notification from HCD that its Housing Element has been certified! HCD’s certification 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 made in their Housing Element. 

With a compliant housing element, Los Altos now meets housing element requirements for competitive State and regional funding sources. 

However, since Los Altos received certification after the May 31, 2023 deadline that allows three years for rezoning, they must complete all rezoning associated with their Housing Element by January 31, 2024. (Zoning is a city’s set of rules for how each piece of property can and cannot be used, and many cities need to adjust their zoning, or rezone, to allow for the number of homes they have planned for properties included in their Housing Element.) All other jurisdictions in the county without a certified Housing Element must meet the same shortened rezoning deadline. HCD may decertify the Housing Element of any city that fails to meet the rezoning deadline, and that city would not be eligible for recertification until the rezoning is complete.

Los Altos now joins the cities of Milpitas, Mountain View, Campbell, Gilroy, and the Town of Los Altos Hills as the only jurisdictions in Santa Clara County with certified Housing Elements. Jurisdictions certified before the end of May (Milpitas, Mountain View, Campbell, and Los Altos Hills) have until January 31, 2026, to complete rezoning associated with their Housing Element. 

Santa Clara and Monte Sereno have submitted revised Adopted Noncompliant Housing Elements to HCD, and are currently in review. Learn what is happening with your city’s Housing Element and how to contact your city staff and HCD Housing Element reviewer at SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit.

City of Cupertino

The City of Cupertino hosted Housing Element community engagement events on September 9th and 14th. City staff and consultants communicated that new housing is likely to be built at significant densities to accommodate the city’s fair share of regional housing needs. They also gathered community input on preferred designs and amenities in new developments to help inform staff’s work to establish objective standards. Objective standards enable a streamlined review process while allowing a city to shape the look and “feel” of new developments with clear, objective guiding criteria. Cupertino plans to release a second draft of its Housing Element for public review in late September or early October.

What’s next for cities that have certified Housing Elements?

In addition to completing their rezoning, cities with certified Housing Elements must also begin implementing the programs included in their Housing Elements. These programs commit the city to making changes to meet the housing needs of current residents and newcomers and include strategies to increase housing production, preserve existing affordable housing, and protect vulnerable residents from displacement. Each program has a timeline for implementation and metrics to measure its success; in many cases, these timelines mark the end of a program’s work. However, your advocacy may be necessary before then to shape the program to best meet your community’s needs. Learn about the commitments your city has made and how to stay engaged in SV@Home’s Housing Element Toolkit!