For Immediate Release
Sonoma County Housing Element certified by California Department of Housing and Urban Development
SANTA ROSA, CA | October 30, 2023
The County of Sonoma’s Housing Element has been certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, 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.
“This certification is a critical milestone that makes clear that housing is a priority in Sonoma County,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “Thank you to our staff, stakeholders and residents for their hard work and participation in this important process.”
The 2023-2031 Housing Element is a chapter of the County’s General Plan that outlines the County’s eight-year strategy to provide adequate housing for residents of all income levels. The Housing Element includes policies and programs and creates an inventory of sites in unincorporated areas that can accommodate new housing to meet state mandates.
The inventory includes sites in the unincorporated areas around:
- The Lower Russian River
- North Santa Rosa
- South Santa Rosa
- Sonoma Valley
The Housing Element aims to facilitate construction of at least 3,824 homes in unincorporated Sonoma County over the next eight years. This target is the County’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation, which was assigned by the Association of Bay Area Governments. The County’s original allocation of 3,884 units was reduced when the City of Cloverdale partnered with the County to shift 57 units to the city’s allocation. 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.
“I’m incredibly proud of our community for making housing happen in Sonoma County,” said Tennis Wick, director of Permit Sonoma. “Thank you to our staff and consultant housing team, our Housing Advisory Group, Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors, Cloverdale, and especially residents and workers who contributed so many innovative ideas.”
The Certified Housing Element includes several 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 also enhances protections for residents against displacement and will 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 10 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 submitted its Housing Element to the state after the Board of Supervisors adopted the Housing Element on Aug. 22. In response to preliminary feedback from the state, Permit Sonoma submitted an updated version of the adopted Housing Element containing new, non-substantive revisions as authorized by the 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, which was certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, did not include changes to the sites inventory.
To read the certified Housing Element, please click here.