Sonoma County’s Statement on the Housing Element
The following is the statement sent from the County on the Housing Element:
The County of Sonoma’s Housing Element has been certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), signifying the County’s compliance with State Housing Element law. Certification makes the County eligible for considerable grants and State funding opportunities to support affordable housing. Sonoma County and its nine cities are the first subregion in the Bay Area to be fully certified.
The Housing Element aims to facilitate the construction of at least 3,824 homes in the unincorporated County over the next eight years. This target is the County’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation, which the Association of Bay Area Governments assigned. The State-mandated 3,824 housing unit target is nearly a 650 percent increase above the 515 unit allocation Sonoma County received in the previous Housing Element cycle from 2014 to 2022. The Certified Housing Element includes a number of programs that protect low-income residents and renters. It will increase housing choices and affordability in moderate and high-opportunity areas, which have been shown to help economic mobility.
The document will also enhance protections for residents against displacement and result in new outreach efforts to inform residents about housing programs. The policy and program development for the Housing Element update was the result of a multi-year, extensive public outreach campaign. The project engaged a diverse Housing Advisory Committee to guide policy development, convened ten focus groups with equity priority populations, conducted surveys with more than 6,000 participants, held two public workshops, and had two public hearings with the Planning Commission.
The County transmitted its Housing Element to the State promptly after the County Board of Supervisors adopted the Housing Element on August 22, 2023. In response to preliminary HCD feedback, Permit Sonoma transmitted an updated version of the adopted Housing Element to HCD containing new, non-substantive revisions as authorized by the County Board of Supervisors by Resolution 23-0429. The revisions included updates to data and analysis, minor adjustments to programs, updates to the Technical Background Report and appendices, and clarifying language. The revised version did not include changes to the Sites Inventory. The revised version was subsequently certified by HCD.