HCD’s Prohousing Designation Program – What You Need to Know

prohousing policy 2.jpg
prohousing policy 2.jpg

California’s housing crisis and the lack of affordable housing remains a persistent problem for local governments all over the state.  With cities and counties already working hard to increase the quantity of housing for their residents, now they will likely have to contend with the fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19).  In the wake of job losses resulting from COVID-19, the need to provide affordable housing will not only be front and center, but even more imperative than it was before.

Last year as part of the 2019-20 Budget Act, AB 101 enacted the Prohousing Designation Program.  This program enables the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to designate jurisdictions throughout the state as prohousing when they demonstrate policies and planning that accelerate the production of housing.  The benefit to jurisdictions receiving the prohousing designation includes being given preference and in some cases, additional points, when participating in various state funded programs including the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC), Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) and Infill Incentive Grant (IIG) programs.

HCD has been tasked with developing Prohousing Designation Program guidelines and procedures by July 1, 2021.  In an effort to help local governments adopt policies that would provide them designation as a prohousing jurisdiction, HCD has allowed the use of funding activities for the Local Early Action Planning (LEAP) and Regional Early Action Planning (REAP) grants to establish prohousing policies.

Per the HCD 2020 notice of funding availability for the LEAP/REAP grants, prohousing policies in accordance with Gov. Code Section 65589.9(f)(2), mean “policies that facilitate the planning, approval, or construction of housing.”  Policies include:

  • Establishing plans to manage local financial incentives for housing, like a local housing trust fund;

  • Reducing parking requirements for residentially zoned development sites;

  • Granting “use by right” zoning for residential and mixed-use development;

  • Zoning activities to help meet or exceed the existing RHNA minimum requirements for the current Housing Element Cycle;

  • Establishing policies and procedures that encourage the use and development of accessory dwelling units as it pertains to furthering affordable housing efforts;

  • Streamlining permit processing;

  • Establishing objective development standards;

  • Activities that result in the reduction of development impact fees; and

  • Establishing a Workforce Housing Opportunity Zone (per Section 65620) or a housing sustainability district (per Section 66200).

If you are interested in pursuing prohousing designation through the LEAP or REAP grant opportunities, you can visit the HCD website here or reach out to RSG Principal Tara Matthews at tmatthews@rsgsolutions.com.