History & Organization

The Department of Housing and Community Development’s history is derived directly from Californians’ respect for human life and their desire to provide acceptable human living conditions by establishing minimum housing conditions for all residents, particularly those who are entry level wage earners. The Department and its predecessor agencies have pursued this ideal by implementing laws and programs for tenement housing, labor camps, car and mobile home parks, housing construction standards, housing development financing, and land zoning which promote safe and affordable housing opportunities for all Californians.

Immigration & Housing to Policy Planning

The first step for the state into housing regulation and oversight came in 1909 with the State Tenement House Act.  Early in the century, State leaders recognized the increasing problem of unhealthy and unsanitary housing conditions in California cities, and the Act was enacted to enforce minimum health and safety standards.

The State’s next step came only a few years later in response to the poor sanitation conditions in labor camps.  By 1915, labor camps were being inspected and unsatisfactory conditions were being overseen by the Commission of Immigration and Housing.

As time went on and population grew demands shifted and the Commission evolved. By 1927, the Commission’s authority was transferred to the new Division of Housing and Sanitation and the Commission was recast as an advisory group. Then, in 1945, the Division of Housing and Sanitation was renamed the Division of Housing and in 1961 the statutes were amended to give the Division all of the Commission’s powers.

On September 17, 1965, the Legislature created the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to: (1) promote and maintain adequate housing and decent living environments for all California citizens; (2) protect public health and safety by developing and enforcing statewide minimum construction regulations for all types of housing; and (3) serve as a catalyst in seeking solutions to California’s housing and community development problems through technical assistance, advice, research and dissemination of information to citizens, industry, and government entities.

Read more about HCD’s unique history (PDF)

Today's HCD

Today, HCD is focused on building capacity to maximize our impact to California’s housing and community development efforts.  We do this by:
Collaborating with affordable housing developers, nonprofit agencies, cities, counties, state and federal entities to create programs that provide housing solutions for some of California’s most vulnerable populations.

  • Connecting cross-sector strategies between housing and health, transportation, education, family well-being, the economy, and climate change. 
  • Innovating by building unique programs that address more than one community challenge.
  • Delivering at a high level when timing is critical and Californians are in need of immediate assistance.

HCD's Organization

HCD develops housing policy and building codes (i.e. the California Building Standards Code), regulates manufactured homes and mobile home parks, and administers housing finance, economic development and community development programs.

In order to support the needs of those providing affordable housing and community development opportunities and fulfill its statutory obligations, HCD is comprised of various Divisions and Offices.