Regional Housing Needs Allocation

Since 1969, California has required that all local governments (cities and counties) adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community. California’s local governments meet this requirement by adopting housing plans as part of their “general plan” (also required by the state). General plans serve as the local government’s "blueprint" for how the city and/or county will grow and develop and include seven elements: land use, transportation, conservation, noise, open space, safety, and housing. In order to create a housing plan (aka housing element) showing it could meet the local housing needs, a jurisdiction must first know how much housing it must plan for (and estimate how much will be needed at a variety of affordability levels in order to match the needs of the people who will live there). This is determined by a process called the regional housing needs assessment.

Assessment: Calculating the Housing Need in Each Region

HCD is responsible for determining the regional housing needs assessment (segmented by income levels) for each region’s planning body known as a “council of governments” (COG). HCD starts with demographic population information from the California Department of Finance and uses a formula to calculate a figure for each region/COG.

Each COG uses its own demographic figures to calculate what it believes the regional housing need is. Each COG then coordinates with HCD — taking into account factors not captured in the calculations — to arrive at a final figure.  This final figure is the regional housing needs assessment.

Allocation: Divvying up the need amongst cities and counties

Once HCD and the COG have agreed to the region’s assessment figure (the amount of housing that must be planned for), the COG takes over and is responsible for divvying up (allocating) the housing need amongst all of the jurisdictions (cities/counties) within that region. The COG does this in a Regional Housing Need Allocation Plan (RHNA Plan). Learn more in Building Blocks: A Comprehensive Housing-Element Guide.

Regional Housing Needs

Topics Covered

Allocations for 6th Cycle Housing Elements: The amount of housing each local jurisdiction within a region must plan to accommodate

Other regions not covered above (6th Cycle)

Allocations for 5th Cycle Housing Elements: The amount of housing each local jurisdiction within a region must plan to accommodate

Other regions not covered above (5th Cycle): 2014-2019

Data Packages

HCD, in collaboration with California’s various Councils of Governments (COGs), developed pre-approved, data packages for the 5th and 6th cycle Housing Element updates. Because the data has been pre-approved (for COGs to use in preparing their Housing Element updates), it is not subject to further review by HCD.

6th Cycle Data Package for Each Council of Governments

6th Cycle Data Package for Each Non–Council-of-Governments Counties