FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021
SAN DIEGO – Mayor Todd Gloria reached a key milestone this week in his efforts to provide homes that all San Diegans can afford when the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) approved the updated Housing Element of San Diego’s General Plan. Mayor Gloria will build upon this important milestone by advancing City initiatives to expand housing opportunities, furthering fair housing policies and participating in HCD’s Prohousing Designation Program.
“We can’t tackle our housing crisis without a comprehensive, thoughtful plan for where new homes can be built. San Diego has such a plan, and I’m pleased that it has earned the endorsement of state housing officials,” Mayor Todd Gloria said. “The approved Housing Element and my ‘Homes For All of Us” initiative pave the way for new homes at prices San Diegans can afford.”
The state requires the City to update its Housing Element regularly to show how the City plans to reach its share of statewide housing-production goals. In 2018, under the state’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process, the City and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) recognized the need for more housing for people of all income levels and took the unprecedented action of accepting the Department of Housing and Community Development’s determination of housing units needed in the region between 2021 and 2029.
To accommodate its share, the City must plan for more than 108,000 new homes serving all income groups by 2029, including 44,860 homes for lower-income households.
“For the first time ever, SANDAG took a data-driven approach to allocate housing units where transit and jobs exist today,” said SANDAG Chief Executive Officer Hasan Ikhrata. “Mayor Gloria’s new housing plan aligns with the SANDAG 2021 Regional Plan’s vision for a faster, fairer, and cleaner transportation system, giving people in this region viable options to choose where they live, work, and play now and in the future.”
The new Housing Element is the first by a large city in California to meet new state requirements for access to homes in areas of opportunity, preserving existing affordable homes, and facilitating new housing and supportive services tailored for people experiencing homelessness. The Housing Element includes 63 programs and additional actions to increase the housing supply to meet the needs of all residents and enhance quality of life through vibrant, equitable neighborhoods.
In addition to helping the City address its housing crisis, the Housing Element furthers the City’s climate-action goals by focusing growth in mixed-use activity centers that are pedestrian-friendly and linked to the regional transit system.
“The State of California’s approval of the City’s Housing Element shows their confidence in our efforts to bring more affordable housing to the region and to ensure fairness in housing,” said Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn, who chairs the City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee. “Every San Diegan deserves safe housing they can afford, and I look forward to continuing to work with my Council colleagues, Mayor Gloria, City staff, and others to make this a reality for all.”
Mayor Gloria is committed to ensuring the City of San Diego continues to expand housing opportunities beyond what is required under Housing Element law, focusing housing near transit and jobs, addressing displacement, and furthering fair housing. His Homes For All of Us initiative will help implement several actions outlined in the Housing Element. The Mayor’s initiative includes nearly a dozen proposals aimed at increasing the production of homes at all income levels. It also includes Blueprint SD, a new approach to community planning that will help meet the City’s housing and climate goals, and the formation of the Middle-Income Housing Working Group.
Earlier this year, the San Diego Section of the American Planning Association (SDAPA) selected the City of San Diego’s General Plan Housing Element to receive its 2021 Best Practice Award, given to a project that best demonstrates innovative and state-of-the art planning methods and practices to help create communities of lasting value.
“We are proud to lead the way in launching citywide strategies, actions and goals to help make housing you can afford a reality for all San Diegans,” said Mike Hansen, the City’s Planning Director. “The City is committed to implementing these programs and actions during the next several years to improve affordability and ensure enough attainable homes are built by 2029.”
Having an approved Housing Element is also a requirement for the state’s Prohousing Designation Program, under which cities that are deemed pro-housing are given advantages when competing for state grant funding for housing, community development, and infrastructure projects. The City of San Diego is currently in the process of applying for the prohousing designation.