The California Department of Housing and Community Development's (HCD's) policy work is built on the notion that housing is the foundation for life and opportunity. Housing affordability and homelessness have far-reaching impacts that affect other important issues facing Californians, including health, education, transportation, economic well-being, and climate change.
Housing programs (administered by HCD and other California departments and agencies) are increasingly viewed as a platform to achieve multiple policy goals; for example, the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention program connects the needs of veterans and people experiencing homelessness. Providing homes and supportive services for people who experienced homelessness has been shown to improve health outcomes while also reducing local and state healthcare spending.
Another example is the Regional Early Action Planning Grants Program of 2021, which connects housing with environmental and transportation goals. Increased collaborations across these issues to share knowledge and leverage resources can improve housing programs while addressing multiple state policy objectives.
Focusing on People, Place, and Funding
Much of HCD's policy work focuses on people, place, and funding.
Addressing housing and access needs for vulnerable populations through thoughtful coordination, housing program design, and evaluation
While millions of Californians struggle to find an affordable place to live, HCD's policy work pays particular attention to specific populations that face additional challenges in finding affordable homes, including:
- People Experiencing Homelessness
- Native American Tribal Affairs
- Farmworker Housing
- People with Disabilities
Related policy issues include:
Strengthening land use policies to advance affordability, sustainability, and equity
Land use policies and planning are more than just tools to increase housing affordability. These processes also drive the type and location of housing, which can translate into the ability for families to access neighborhoods of opportunity, where children can attend higher-performing schools, where there is a greater availability of jobs that afford entry to the middle-class, and where people have convenient access to transit and services.
As California prioritizes equity and reducing greenhouse gases, the focus has turned to more compact development that reduces sprawl (and many of its negative environmental and health consequences); however, targeting development to specific areas can put pressure on limited land and result in higher costs for a variety of reasons (infrastructure limitations, demand for limited land, etc.). The true costs of sprawl are much higher when taking into account health impacts, environmental damage, and lost productivity, but these costs are often “hidden” from housing prices.
Accessory Dwelling Units
HCD provides technical guidance to cities with sample ordinances and other resources and guidance. View more on our Accessory Dwelling Units page.
Effectively administering public funds (federal and state) in affordable-home development and rehabilitation, rental and homeownership assistance, and community development.
California needs both public and private investment, as well as land use solutions to address critical housing challenges and ensure access to jobs in neighborhoods of opportunity for those living here today and the generations to follow. Land-use regulations can be modified to increase housing supply; encourage development of more affordable housing; and prime the housing market to build a variety of housing types located near jobs, transportation, high-performing schools, hospitals, and other services.
However, even with drastic changes in land-use policy to increase supply, a large number of Californians will always remain priced out of both the ownership and rental housing market. Public investment in housing programs will remain necessary to meet the needs of those who struggle the most to keep roofs over their heads.
HCD administers both federal and state housing funds through its Grants and Funding programs.