Regional Housing Needs Assessment


Regional Housing Needs Assessment Banner Image

What is RHNA?

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) is mandated by State Housing Law as part of the periodic process of updating local housing elements of the General Plan. RHNA quantifies the need for housing within each jurisdiction during specified planning periods.

In March 2021, SCAG adopted its 6th cycle RHNA allocation plan, which covers the planning period October 2021 through October 2029. For the 6th cycle, SCAG received a need of 1,341,827 housing units, which was distributed to all 197 SCAG jurisdictions.

Communities use RHNA in land use planning, prioritizing local resource allocation, and in deciding how to address identified existing and future housing needs resulting from population, employment and household growth. RHNA does not necessarily encourage or promote growth, but rather allows communities to anticipate growth, so that collectively the region and subregion can grow in ways that enhance quality of life, improve access to jobs, promotes transportation mobility, and addresses social equity and fair share housing needs.

RHNA Reform

The 6th Cycle RHNA has led for requests for SCAG to pursue reform of the RHNA process. Several issues had been raised by stakeholders related to the regional determination methodology, the use of land planning factors in the SCAG RHNA methodology, and basis for RHNA appeals. As part of Assembly Bill 101, HCD is tasked with preparing a report on the RHNA reform and making recommendations to the State Legislature by December 31, 2023. To inform HCD’s recommendations for improving the RHNA process and methodology, HCD has been conducting a statewide engagement process. For information on HCD’s efforts, please visit HCD’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) page.  

In July and August of 2022, SCAG staff conducted a stakeholder engagement process to gather input and feedback on RHNA reform. Staff reviewed the input and comments submitted during this process (available here) and have prepared draft recommendations. These draft recommendations will be reviewed and approved by SCAG’s Community, Economic and Human Development Committee and Regional Council in late summer of 2023. Once the recommendations are approved, they will be used to inform a comment letter that SCAG will submit to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in mid-September of 2023. 

Click here to review SCAG staff draft recommendations from the August 16, 2023 CEHD agenda packet. 

RHNA Reform Outreach Presentation

Date Action
May 15​, 2023  Kickoff SCAG RHNA reform outreach on draft recommendations​ 
June 22​, 2023  Public listening session #1
June 27, 2023  Public listening session #2
June 30​, 2023  End of SCAG outreach period​ 
July 1​, 2023  HCD progress update to Legislature​ 
Aug 16,​ 2023  Special CEHD meeting ​ 
Sep 7​, 2023  Sept. Regional Council
Early Sep​t. 2023  Submit comment letter on approved recommendations to HCD​ 
Dec. 31​, 2023  Due date for HCD’s report to the Legislature on RHNA Reform​​ 

RHNA Audit

In October 2021, the California State Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved an emergency audit to examine HCD’s regional determination process. The request for an audit was based on an assertion that the public had limited information on the formula that HCD uses to calculate the RHNA regional determination numbers, and cited confusion and mistrust among regional planning bodies and jurisdictions, and the need for an independent and objective review of the process.   

Summary of Findings  
  • HCD made several errors regarding data calculations and does not have sufficient management review process​ 
  • HCD could not demonstrate consistency and work group recommendations regarding several factors​, including jobs housing balance​ and housing destroyed during state of emergency, and Inconsistent application of comparable regions, as required by statute. 

These errors and inaccuracies led HCD to understate regional determination for these 3 regions and possibly others​. The audit outlined a series of recommendations for HCD and the California Department of Finance to improve the regional determination process, including the implementation of these recommendations in the coming year.  

RHNA Audit Report

6th Cycle Final RHNA Allocation, Methodology, and Regional Housing Needs Determinations

6th Cycle Final RHNA Allocation Plan - Adopted by Regional Council on 3/4/21 and amended on 7/1/21.
Final RHNA Methodology (Updated 3/5/20)
Final RHNA Methodology Data Appendix (Updated 3/5/20)
HCD Final Regional Housing Need Determination

Resources & Links

California Department of Housing and Community Development

HCD is responsible for reviewing local housing element updates and providing comments in accordance with State housing law: California Department of Housing and Community Development.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

HUD’s​ mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Fair Housing Policy & Data

The FHEO administers and enforces federal laws and establishes policies that make sure all Americans have equal access to the housing of their choice: U.S. Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.


SCAG was awarded $47 million in Regional Early Action Planning (REAP) funding from Assembly Bill (AB) 101 to provide housing planning and process improvement services to cities and counties.