Determining the precise amount of housing needed is challenging, as it must include not only future housing need but also existing housing need.  According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Santa Clara County needs a total of 53,689 new affordable rental homes, including a 38,689 at or below ELI to meet existing need.  The State estimates that the County needs to add 58,836 new units to meet projected need between 2015 and 2023.

Map: Which jurisdictions have already permitted enough housing to meet the needs of their low-income residents during the planning period of 2015-2023?

Answer: Gilroy and Morgan Hill.  Based on their 2015-2023 Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) for low-income (LI) households (those earning 50-80% of Area Median Income), Morgan Hill has permitted 159 LI units – equivalent to 103% of the  LI units needed.  Gilroy has permitted 280% of the LI units needed, permitting 449 LI units total.

Click on the map to see how other cities did in terms of meeting their RHNA goals for LI housing units.

Source: Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)

RHNA Progress as of December 2019

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 on our Cities & Public Agencies page, or view a table that compares the RHNA progress of all the Santa Clara County jurisdictions. You can also view a series of graphs that compares cities’ RHNA progress by income level. Ensuring cities and counties are creating well-planned, feasible Housing Elements is key to ensuring affordable housing targets are met.

Important Information to Know

Jurisdictions are required by both the State and federal governments to regularly assess their housing needs and develop plans in response.

Housing Elements

The County and its 15 cities are required by California State Law to adopt a Housing Element as part of their General Plan (California Government Code Sections 65580-65589) to identify local housing needs and to plan to accommodate their fair share of the regional housing need.  To determine fair share, each jurisdiction receives a Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA), which identifies the total number of housing units that it must plan for in its Housing Element broken down by income level.   Among other things, the Housing Element must:

  • Include goals, policies, quantified objectives and programs to preserve, improve, and develop housing
  • Identify and analyze existing and projected housing needs for residents at all income levels
  • List adequate sites that are zoned and available within the seven to eight-year housing cycle that meet the jurisdiction’s fair share of regional housing needs

The current Housing Element planning period is January 1, 2015 to October 31, 2023. All Bay Area jurisdictions are beginning work on their Housing Elements for the 2023-2031 planning cycle, which are due to HCD in January 2023.

Consolidated Plans

As a condition of federal funding, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires states and local governments to regularly assess their housing and community development needs, and to develop a detailed five-year action plan. Each year, jurisdictions must complete Annual Action Plans that detail the actions and activities planned, and the federal and non-federal resources that will be committed to address priority needs. Grantees must report out on Consolidated Plan accomplishments annually in a Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER).

Additional Resources