California’s Housing Element Law requires all counties and cities to adopt a comprehensive long-range planning document: the General Plan. The General Plan must clearly lay out the jurisdiction’s existing need and projected growth, and what policies and plans the jurisdiction will adopt to make room for this growth. One of the required elements of the General Plan is the Housing Element. Updated every seven to eight years, the Housing Element must identify adequate sites for accommodating existing and projected housing needs for all income levels in the community, assigned in the RHNA process. Each spring, all jurisdictions must report to HCD on their progress in meeting their RHNA targets by income level, which is measured by the number of building permits issued. As of the end of 2019, all Santa Clara County jurisdictions together as a whole have met 64% of the total housing goal for the period 2014-2022. However, that number is driven by the achievement of 129% of the goal for above-moderate income, and masks the poor results for other income categories: only 12% of the VLI goal; 15% of the LI goal; and 50% of the moderate-income goal. View the progress of individual jurisdictions here.

The next RHNA planning cycle is currently underway for all Bay Area jurisdictions, with the next round of Housing Elements due to HCD in January of 2023.

Map: Housing Opportunity Sites

(Identified by Santa Clara County jurisdictions in their 2015-2022 Housing Elements)

Housing Elements in Santa Clara County

Source: Association of Bay Area Governments

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