2023-2031 Housing Element Update

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The shortage of homes impacts all of us. That’s why now is the time to participate in conversations and plan together for current and future housing needs in all our communities.

Let's Talk Housing is a collaborative effort of all the jurisdictions in San Mateo County focused on getting community feedback that will shape our Housing Elements--a housing plan that is part of every General Plan.

Through an ongoing initiative called 21 Elements, we are working together to learn from and listen to the community about their housing needs, helping to make sure everyone is involved in shaping our shared future.

Visit the Let's Talk Housing San Mateo County Website at https://www.letstalkhousing.org/.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Housing Element?

The Housing Element is a chapter of the General Plan that outlines a community's housing plans and the polices the community has in place to ensure that they will achieve their plan's goals. While cities don’t build housing themselves, they do create the rules that affect where housing can be built, how much, and how it gets approved. Per State law, each jurisdiction’s housing element must help ensure that there will be enough capacity meet the projected need over the next 10 years.

Why Does it Matter?

More and more, purchasing a home is out of reach for many while renters face inaccessible rent prices. Just about every city in the region needs more housing, of all types and sizes.

Teachers, firefighters, health care, and other essential workers are often traveling long distances to work or being forced to relocate to other cities;

Young adults and students are often unable to purchase homes or even live in the communities they grew up in once they leave their childhood homes;

Communities of color and non-English speakers--those who make up the majority of community members living in overcrowded and unsafe conditions--can’t afford to live near their jobs, schools, or families.

Creating more housing—and more diverse housing choices—means:

Young families can find an affordable starter home;

Young adults moving into the housing market can stay in the cities they grew up in;

Our aging population will have more options for retirement, including downsizing, providing housing for on-site health or home care, and staying in their communities;

Workers like our teachers, firefighters, health care workers and essential workers can find homes near job centers;

Your children and grandchildren can stay near you in the communities they feel a part of;

More people across incomes will have more opportunities to rent or own homes in the places they live, work and love.

How Do We Know How Much Housing to Plan For?

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) develops a state-wide housing needs determination (RHND) number, based on projected housing needs in various income categories. HCD further breaks the RHND into regional assignments, and then allocates a lump number of units to each area’s regional coalition of governments (COG). The Bay Area’s COG is the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)

This number is then assigned by the COG to the various jurisdictions within the region. This known as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA; pronounced ree-nuh) process. The State is currently in the sixth cycle of this allocation process, known as "RHNA 6."  

What Did I Miss at the Kick-Off Countywide Community Meeting?

 21 Elements hosted a series of introductory countywide community meetings to provide an overview of the Housing Element update process. One of these meetings included a Half Moon Bay-focused virtual breakout room to discuss the local context in more detail and provide time to take questions and comments from the community. The meeting materials can be found below:

Countywide Community Meeting Introductory Video (April 14, 2021)

Half Moon Bay Breakout Room Slides (April 14, 2021)

Where Can I Get More Information on the RHNA Process?

ABAG has created a "Frequently Asked Questions" document on RHNA which can be downloaded here: RHNA Frequently Asked Questions. Additionally, you can find more information on the Let's Talk Housing San Mateo County website here: https://www.letstalkhousing.org/how.

You can also review the following materials from the April 22, 2021 "All About RHNA" Countywide Community Conversation: 

 All About RHNA Meeting Video

Overview of Regional Housing Need Determinations from ABAG and HCD

RHNA Draft Methodology for San Francisco Bay Area

Plan Bay Area website

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