State Gives Bay Area Much Bigger Mandatory Housing Targets, Spurring Call to Action

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It was described as a coming housing wakeup call for local officials. The Bay Area Council sponsored SB 828 (Wiener) in 2018, which set out to revise the process by which the state allocates the number of housing units a jurisdiction must create to keep pace with demand through Regional Housing Needs Determination (RHND). The Bay Area’s Cycle 6 RHND number of housing need should be 441,176 units, as determined by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

While this is a remarkable improvement over the region’s Cycle 5 numbers of 187,990 units (a 135% increase), the wakeup call is not as loud as many had hoped. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), expecting a number around 400,000, received an allocation of 1.3 million new housing units last year. The much higher number for SCAG, according to HCD, can be attributed to SoCal’s steadily increasing rates of overcrowding compared to the Bay Area, where instead lower income families are moving to outer regions such as Stockton and Manteca. The Bay Area’s numbers are over 100,000 units short had the region received the same percentage of increase as Southern California. The Council believes the Bay Area’s housing shortage is every bit as severe, if not more severe, than Southern California.

Cities in the Bay Area will now need to considerably upzone their designated housing sites or take other actions to spur new housing in order to meet these expected numbers of housing units. ​ABAG has the authority to object to the assigned RHND by July 10. If you share in the Bay Area Council’s concern over the low number, we encourage you to join us in reaching out to the Board. ​Although it’s unlikely the RHND will change, it’s critical that we remind our regional leaders that we’re watching this regional planning process closely. To further engage in the Council’s housing policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

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