Berkeley’s Housing Element

Wednesday, January 18, 2023, Berkeley City Council will hold a special meeting to approve the 2023-2031 Housing Element Update. This marks the culmination of an 18-month process to inform and develop an eight-year plan for accommodating Berkeley’s share of our regional housing need. The draft plan comes after dozens of community meetings and extensive input from various commissions, stakeholders and the general public, taking into consideration a wide range of objectives to make Berkeley an accessible and more affordable community. See the agenda and attend!

What is the Housing Element?

Every eight years, jurisdictions across California are required to update their Housing Element of the General Plan. The purpose of this update is to show how cities will accommodate the production of units required by the state mandated Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). RHNA requirements are updated every eight years by the Association of Bay Area Governments reflecting state and regional population projections and factors to address jobs-housing balance. Under the 2023-2031 allocation, which represents the 6th RHNA cycle, Berkeley must show it has the capacity to build 8,934 units. Of this, 2,446 (27.4%) are for very-low-income households (below 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI)), 1,408 (15.8%) at low-income (50%-80% AMI), 1,416 (15.8%) at moderate income (80%-120% AMI), and 3,664 (41.0%) above moderate income (above 120% AMI). For reference 100% AMI in Alameda County is $99,950 annual income for a single person and $114,250 and $142,800 for families of 2 – 4 respectively.

The proposed Housing Element is split into five sections:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction. Provides an overview of the purpose, scope and organization of the Housing Element.
  • Chapter 2: Goals and Policies. Outlines the City’s commitments to providing and preserving housing opportunities in the City.
  • Chapter 3: Housing Needs. Provides a summary of the City’s community profile, including demographic and housing characteristics, and an assessment of the associated housing needs.
  • Chapter 4: Housing Constraints. Provides an assessment of the potential constraints to housing development and preservation, including governmental and non-governmental constraints (this includes zoning restrictions).
  • Chapter 5: Housing Resources. Provides a collection of resources available for meeting the City’s existing and projected housing needs, including an inventory of sites that could be developed, housing implementation programs, and an assessment of direct or indirect impacts in furthering fair housing choice initiatives.

Collectively, the Housing Element acts as a blueprint to fulfill State law and meet our housing goals. This includes an analysis of population and employment trends, and inventory of suitable land for residential development, including special needs housing and shelters, and an analysis of governmental and non-governmental constraints and how to overcome them, among other topics.

-excerpt from Mayor Jesse Arreguín e-newsletter

All League News