Housing Technical Assistance Program

Housing Technical Assistance Program

Regional Early Action Planning Grants

ABAG is currently developing a new regional housing technical assistance program with the support of new state funding disbursed by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The program’s goal is to assist local jurisdictions in adopting compliant Housing Elements, ensuring that Bay Area jurisdictions remain competitive for various state funding programs to increase housing opportunities. The process to develop the technical assistance began with a listening session at the ABAG Special General Assembly and has included input from local planning staff in all nine Bay Area counties on program design.

The program's framework includes providing:

  • Collaborative and Cohort Based Approach
  • Regional Consultant Bench
  • Regional Coordination with the State Housing and Community Development Department
  • Housing Leadership Development & Community Engagement.

On July 16, 2020, the ABAG Executive Board selected Baird + Driskell Community Planning as the program’s Principal Consultant. These new technical assistance resources are expected to roll out later in 2020 to Bay Area cities, towns and counties.

The funds come from the 2019-2020 Budget Act, which provided a one-time allocation of $250 million to regions and local jurisdictions to implement the sixth cycle of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) and otherwise accelerate housing production.  The funding is divided between two programs: the Regional Early Action Planning (REAP) grants program, and the Local Early Action Planning (LEAP) grants program. 

As the Bay Area’s Council of Governments, ABAG is eligible to receive funding through the REAP program on a population-based formula – totaling roughly $23.7 million.  On February 7, 2020, the ABAG Special General Assembly voted to approve an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2019-20 Budget to authorize ABAG to receive these funds.  Pursuant to state legislation, ABAG was awarded an initial allocation of $5.9 million (approximately 25% of the total regional allocation), however funding was delayed due to state budget negotiations and is now expected this Summer.  ABAG will be eligible to apply for the remainder of the funds later in 2020.     

Contact Heather Peters, hpeters@bayareametro.gov for more information about REAP.

Local Government Direct Assistance

The State's LEAP program is designed to help cities and counties directly by providing funding, incentives, and technical assistance to local governments through over-the-counter grants.  Every local jurisdiction is eligible to apply to HCD for direct LEAP funding per a population-based formula. LEAP applications are due by January 31, 2021; however, HCD strongly encourages jurisdictions to submit their applications as soon as possible.

Review the LEAP flyer and State Resources flyer for more information or visit HCD’s website (link is external) for more information about LEAP. Visit HCD’s website for more information about LEAP.

SB2 Grant Funding

The “Building Homes and Jobs Act” is the first permanent source of state funding dedicated to helping local governments increase housing production. ABAG members can apply for a grant on a range of activities related to streamlining and accelerating housing production. ABAG and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) assist in the development of ideas and coordinate partnerships to pool SB2 resources. Once you review and you’d like to apply for a grant, please contact us for more information (contact info below).

There are three key activities that local governments could pursue:

a. Housing Element Pre-work and Analysis: Recent legislation increased scrutiny of Housing Element sites and introduced limits on whether sites can be carried over from one RHNA cycle to the next to meet lower-income need.  With only seven percent of sites from the previous RHNA cycle available for reuse in the upcoming RHNA with no changes, local jurisdictions will need to identify new sites and/or re-zone previously used sites for by-right development at default densities to meet the needs identified in the upcoming RHNA cycle. Jurisdictions are encouraged to use SB2 funds to identify and re-zone sites to allow multi-family housing by-right and facilitate meeting future housing element requirements.

b. Implementation of ADU Calculator: A tailored ADU calculator is a good example of a low-cost, high-impact SB2 project if enough jurisdictions agree to pitch in and share the cost of developing the tool.  ABAG and MTC staff have experience deploying countywide ADU calculators and are ready to assist similar collaborative efforts.

c. Objective Design Standards: Cities have struggled to implement objective standards for new development standards; and design standards have been especially challenging. The ABAG/MTC staff is eager to help cities and counties develop form-based code design guidelines that can be shared with other jurisdictions--and customized to a particular neighborhood or housing type.

Contact Ada Chan, achan@bayareametro.gov for more information.  SB2 grant program is administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, or HCD. Get the details at the HCD website.(link is external).

ABAG and HCD are partnering to implement a regional technical assistance program.

The interactive webinar introduced the program and explained some of the technical assistance tools being developed. You can view the powerpoint presentation and the webinar recording. The password for the recording is: m?YzX6*V

The webinar discussed the following technical assistance tools:

  • Housing Element land inventory samples and update requirements
  • ADU ordinances
  • Objective Design and Development Standards
  • CEQA Streamlining
  • Model ordinances
  • State Pro-housing Designations
  • ABAG’s upcoming online site selection tool.

If you have any questions about the webinar please email Sohab Mehmood at HCD: Sohab.Mehmood@hcd.ca.gov or Heather Peters at ABAG: hpeters@bayareametro.gov


HCD Announcement




Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing in Local Planning

Housing Element Law:

Fair Housing requirements for local governments

California is experiencing a housing supply crisis, with housing demand far outstripping supply. The supply solution is not just about how many units are built, but also where they are built and who has access to them. As California works to address the housing crisis, local housing planning must include strategies to remediate existing trends in segregation and increase access to opportunity for all community members.  

What are the fair housing requirements?

To address fair housing, AB 686 (Statutes of 2018) creates requirements for all state and local agencies (including, but not limited to, all cities, counties, cities and counties, and housing authorities) that ensure that their laws, programs and activities affirmatively further fair housing. 

HCD has released a summary of the requirements that AB 686 added to Housing Element Law that local governments and interested stakeholders can use to understand the changes. The memo provides a review of the added fair housing program requirement (which started January 1, 2019), the Assessment of Fair Housing, and the sites inventory analysis for all housing elements due on or after January 1, 2021.


Please email: ComplianceReview@hcd.ca.gov.