The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is committed to providing the 197 local jurisdictions it represents the support and assistance needed to complete their long-term housing plans, as mandated by the state.
Although an initial deadline has passed for jurisdictions to adopt a compliant housing element, the process of developing, completing and securing approvals for such a plan can be a taxing one, requiring months of outreach, research, planning and coordination. Currently, 131 jurisdictions have submitted a first draft housing element to the state’s Housing and Community Development Department, 48 jurisdictions have submitted a second draft, and six had their housing elements approved by the state.
SCAG is providing resources and direct technical assistance to help the 191 cities and six counties it represents as they develop housing elements to meet these new housing element requirements and their Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocations. Under RHNA, the six-county region is required by the state to plan for 1.3 million additional housing units for the period covering October 2021 through October 2029 – three times the number of units set during the last RHNA cycle eight years prior.
“The region is making good progress given that this current 6th cycle of the Housing Element process requires cities and counties to comply with a host of new state statutes and analyses, for which cities and counties were given little precedent examples to work from,” said Kome Ajise, Executive Director of SCAG. “ The SCAG region’s cities and counties are ultimately paving the path forward for these newer, more impactful housing elements.”
In addition to technical support, SCAG and its Regional Council have taken a number of steps to help jurisdictions implement their RHNA goals, including:
- Securing $47 million in state REAP funding to help local jurisdictions develop and adopt land-use plans, streamline the entitlement process and promote innovations in housing production.
- Advocating for State and Federal legislation – and additional funding – to support cities and counties in their efforts to accelerate housing production. Recently, SCAG’s RC unanimously voted to ask the Legislature and the Governor to support a major expansion of the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program.
- Establishing the Call for Collaboration program to fund community-based organizations and nonprofit-led approaches to meet housing needs while addressing racial inequities.
- Establishing the Housing Policy Leadership Academy to train and educate elected officials and stakeholders on housing policy, funding opportunities and how to implement housing elements.
SCAG recently requested that the State Assembly’s Housing and Community Development Committee hold a hearing on the status of housing elements in the SCAG region, in order to more clearly understand the implications of new State housing element laws on Southern California’s ability to address the housing crisis.