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KEY FACTS ABOUT AFFORDABLE HOUSING

  • How do we increase the supply of affordable housing?

    • Opportunity Housing and ADUs are some ways to increase the supply of affordable housing in the Bay area. 

  • What is Opportunity Housing? 

    • Opportunity Housing generally refers to enabling multi-unit housing on properties with a Residential Neighborhood General Plan land use designation. In many areas, this is traditionally single family zoning.

  • How does Opportunity Housing help with the housing crisis? 

    • Homes that are built are usually smaller and built on single land parcels.​

  • Where have there been successful examples of Opportunity Housing?

    • Sacramento 

    • San Jose 

    • Portland 

  • What is an ADU? 

    • An ADU is an accessory dwelling unit with complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and has a few variations: 

      • Detached: The unit is separated from the primary structure.

      • Attached: The unit is attached to the primary structure.

      • Converted Existing Space: Space (e.g., master bedroom, attached garage, storage area, or similar use, or an accessory structure) on the lot of the primary residence that is converted into an independent living unit.

      • Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU): A specific type of conversion of existing space that is contained entirely within an existing or proposed single-family residence.

    • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are affordable and effective ways to increase the supply of housing in California. The California legislature recognized this and amended state law allowing ADUs in single-family and multifamily zoning. In addition, they have tried to further reduce barriers, encouraged creation of ADUs for affordable housing, better streamlined approval processes, and expanded capacity to accommodate the development of ADUs, and developed a handbook on this topic for cities and local governments.

 

  • What’s RHNA?

    • RNHA (Regional Needs Housing Assessment) is mandated by California State Housing Law as part of the periodic process of updating local housing elements of the General Plan. 

    • In 1969, the state mandated that all California cities, towns and counties must plan for the housing needs of all residents, regardless of income. This mandate is called the Housing Element and Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). As part of RHNA, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), determines the total number of new homes the Bay Area needs to build and at what affordability rates in order to meet the housing needs of people at all income levels.

  • What is a Housing Element?

    • Each city (or local government) is required to update the Housing Element of their General Plan to show where new housing can be built and how this can be achieved (e.g., zoning modifications) to meet their community’s housing needs. The Housing Element is just one of the seven pieces that help to inform how a city (or local government) will grow and develop. The others include: conservation, land use, noise, open space, and safety.

  • Why are Housing Elements important?

    • In order to access state/federal funds to build housing, the Housing Element must be in compliance.

    • The HCD must review and approve a city’s (or local government) Housing Element before it becomes part of their General Plan. Housing Elements are updated every five or eight years, depending on the schedule the city has chosen.

  

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