Since 1969, California has required local governments (cities and counties) to adequately plan to meet their communities existing and projected housing needs, including their fair share of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). Local governments meet this requirement by adopting housing plans, every eight years as part of their General Plan. The Housing Element not only establishes the housing need and demand goals, but also outlines a variety of housing programs the local jurisdiction will implement, as well as regulatory standards that are a hindrance to housing production that the local jurisdiction needs to remove. Once adopted, local governments will assess their progress towards meeting the Housing Element goals and submit an annual report to the California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD).
To learn more about what the housing element is and why we need it, watch the 2 minute HCD video below