What is a Housing Element?

Local housing is enshrined in state law as a matter of "vital statewide importance" and, since 1969, the State of California has required that all local governments (cities, towns and counties, also known as local jurisdictions) adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in our communities. 

To meet this requirement, each city or county must develop a Housing Element as part of its General Plan (the local government's long-range blueprint for growth) that shows how it will meet its community's housing needs. This process is repeated every eight years, and for this cycle the Bay Area is planning for the period from 2023 to 2031. This Housing Element update will create a foundation for all the policies and programs related to housing. Each jurisdiction's housing plan needs to help ensure that there will be enough capacity and supportive policies to meet the projected need over the next 10 years. There are many laws that govern this process, and collectively they are known as Housing Element Law.

By April 1st of each year, all local jurisdictions in California are required to prepare and submit an Annual Progress Report (APR) on the status and progress in implementing its Housing Element. Cities and counties with a compliant housing element and up-to-date submissions of APRs remain eligible for state grants and funding related to planning and housing. The APR evaluates the status of the implementation programs and housing production for the previous calendar year.

Show All Answers

1. What is Let’s Talk Housing?
2. What is a Housing Element?
3. What is RHNA?
4. How Do We Know How Much Housing To Plan For?
5. How Does ABAG Decide How to Distribute the Regional Assessment?
6. What’s the timeline for completing RHNA?
7. Where Can I Get More Information on the RHNA Process?