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The housing element process is a tool used by affordable housing advocates to increase and preserve affordable housing in their community. Each community throughout the State of California is required by state law to update their Housing Element as part of their General Plan by December 31, 2001. The intent of a Housing Element is to plan for an adequate supply of housing to keep pace with both population and job growth.
How is a Housing Element developed?
Primary components are as follows:
- Review of the current Housing Element.
- Analysis of current housing. This includes the number of current housing units, condition of these units, vacancy rates, median sale prices and typical rents.
- Analysis of affordable housing needs for low-moderate income households and persons with special needs.
- Establishment of an ongoing public participation process, which includes all persons in that community. This outreach is conducted to target the involvement of church groups, low-income organizations, seniors, non-profit organizations and groups representing persons with developmentally disabilities.
- Each jurisdiction establishes a specific plan to achieve its housing goals.
Examples of Policies and Programs for Housing Elements:
- Programs that provide renter protections.
- Programs that develop housing for people with special needs.
- Programs and policies that make it more difficult to stop the development of affordable housing based on unfounded fears and discriminations.
- Policies that prioritize the use of existing housing funds for those with the greatest needs.
- Creation of new local funding sources for affordable housing.
How do I access the Housing Element in my community?
Contact your local City Hall and ask to speak to the person who is responsible for developing the Housing Element. You should be able to get further information on upcoming public forums, housing element workshops and the formation of any task forces.