Launching Our Sixth Cycle Housing Element Report

EBHO is excited to share our latest publication, “Lessons Learned from the Sixth Cycle Housing Element Update in the Bay Area”!

Leading up to this Housing Element update process state legislators had passed a number of sweeping reforms aimed at strengthening Housing Element law. In this paper, we draw on our experience observing and participating in the drafting of twenty Housing Elements across the Bay Area to report back on what worked, what didn’t, and our recommendations for change going forward.

When reflecting on our work throughout the Housing Element update process, we come to four key findings:

  1. Housing Elements were held to higher targets and stricter standards across the board.
  2. The State’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule has proved to be a powerful tool for advancing housing justice.
  3. Local governments were unprepared and under-resourced for the expanded scope of work.
  4. Despite new consequences, recalcitrant jurisdictions rejected state mandates.

While we are optimistic that new state requirements have had a positive impact on furthering housing justice, there are still kinks to be ironed out and further work to be done. Our policy recommendations include providing more funding for HCD and technical assistance for governments at every level, positioning Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) as a central piece of any Housing Element, and funding affordable housing development.