New 'Housing Accountability Unit' to Enforce California's Housing Goals

Part of the state's Housing and Community Development Agency, the unit will focus on enforcing existing laws around housing production and ensure cities build the housing needed to alleviate the current crisis.

October 24, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

California Houses

Frantik at en.wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons

Manuela Tobias reports on California's efforts to more stringently enforce housing production goals across the state. This year, "pro-housing forces won a years-long fight in the California Legislature to allow more density on single-family lots," while "Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law more than 30 bills attempting to quell the state’s affordable housing crisis, including Senate Bill 9, which allows duplexes and as many as four units on most parcels that previously allowed a single home." 

But to ensure that housing production goals are met and localities aren't obstructing development, the state Housing and Community Development Agency created the Housing Accountability Unit. "The 25-person team with a budget of more than $4 million is expected to help cities meet their housing goals — and crack down on those who fail to do so. They will also be enforcing a slew of other California housing laws, including the Housing Accountability Act, Surplus Lands Act and Density Bonus Law."

At the heart of the unit's work is the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, which, every eight years, tells cities how much housing they need to build. While in the past cities often ignored the Assessment with few consequences, "[a] series of recent laws have given more teeth to the process, which say that targeted areas need to feasibly allow housing, and that housing needs to be built in all neighborhoods, including wealthier ones." 

Monday, October 18, 2021 in CALmatters


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