The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) received the final Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) determination from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) of 24,856 housing units which is approximately 15 percent below the previous draft number of 29,313 units presented to the SBCAG Board of Directors last November. The final number represents Santa Barbara County’s eight-year, between 2023 and 2031, minimum housing need across various income-levels as defined by State law. On Thursday, February 18 the SBCAG Board of Directors will consider accepting the 24,856 RHNA number or request to file an objection to the State of California. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. and will be conducted with remote public participation only, suggested methods of participation is listed on the SBCAG Board meeting agenda.
The 15 percent reduction is attributed to SBCAG staff’s continued consultation with HCD on the region’s draft determination that focused attention on further analyzing two components: accuracy of data sources and comparable regions related to overcrowding and cost burden. Additionally, updated American Community Survey data became available during the consultation process that was subsequently integrated into the formula calculating the final determination helping to lower the number of units.
The final RHNA determination was presented to SBCAG Technical Planning Advisory Committee earlier this month, the committee voted unanimously to recommend to the SBCAG Board of Directors to accept the final number. The technical committee is comprised of community development and planning staff from Santa Barbara County’s eight cities and the county.
Following a decision on the final RHNA number, the SBCAG Board of Directors must adopt a final methodology by which to distribute the 24,856 regional housing needs determination among Santa Barbara County’s eight cities and unincorporated areas. The final methodology will be considered for approval at the March SBCAG Board of Directors’ meeting. A draft methodology was presented to the SBCAG Board at the December 17 meeting which proposed distributing housing units by addressing the region’s jobs-housing imbalance as well as advance statutory objectives, such as promoting infill development, affirmatively furthering fair housing, and seek consistency across the region as related to the housing offered to the various income-level needs.
WHAT IS RHNA?
RHNA is the State’s fair share housing law. It requires local governments to plan for a minimum number of housing units across four income groups. The State’s Housing and Community Development department is responsible for determining each region’s need. Regional agencies, such as SBCAG, are responsible for developing a methodology to allocate the housing units to local governments. Finally, each local government, by updating its Housing Element, accommodates its share of housing need. This is the 6th cycle which covers the 2023-2031 period. More information can be found on HCD’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation and Housing Elements’ webpage.