Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA)

Sacramento says: "Build Baby Build"

Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA)

HOUSING: Sacramento says Build! Build! Build! How much housing do we really need? Do the State's mandated housing allocations (i.e. a City's RHNA allocation) reflect the population growth? What do the terms "Affordable Housing" and "Market Rate Housing" mean? Will I be forced to live right next to a neighbor building a 10 unit complex right in my backyard?


The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) identifies the total  number of homes for which each region in California must plan in order to meet the housing  needs of people at all income levels. The total number of housing units from HCD is separated  into four income categories that cover everything from housing for very low-income households  all the way to market rate housing. ABAG is responsible for developing a methodology to  allocate a portion of this housing need to every local government in the Bay Area. 

The four income categories included in the RHND are:

 • Very Low Income:       0-50% of Area Median Income

 • Low Income:               50-80% of Area Median Income

 • Moderate Income: 80-120% of Area Median Income

 • Above Moderate Income: 120% or more of Area Median Income 


What will the actual RHND and RHNA numbers look like this cycle? 

In a letter dated June 9, 2020, the California Department of Housing and Community  Development (HCD) provided ABAG with the Regional Housing Needs Determination (RHND)  for use in this cycle of RHNA in the Bay Area. 


Regional Housing Needs Determination from HCD: San Francisco Bay Area 

Income Category       Percent Housing            Unit Need

Very Low                         25.9%                                 114,442  

Low                                   14.9%                                    65,892  

Moderate                       16.5%                                     72,712

 Above Moderate        42.6%                                  188,130  

Total                                 100%                                    441,176  

The methodology which will determine each local government’s share of the overall regional allocation.


Ever since 2017, a few hundred housing bills would be signed by the Governor in September to become effective in the coming January changing the way projects are approved or the way the Municipal Code is interpreted through the state bills that uniformly apply to all cities. “The [2020] new housing laws, among other things, relax regulations, streamline development procedures, increase incentives for the construction of affordable housing projects and further limit local control over housing development,” according to Best Best & Krieger LLP’s Legal Alerts.  Some argue that the housing crisis justifies such state control of local zoning, which “could include more lawsuits against local governments'' brought by the Attorney General. But others are concerned that these bills exacerbate gentrification in vulnerable communities, erode local democracy and limit the local city council’s ability to negotiate more affordable units than the state laws require.