Data Tools & HESS

Data Tools & HESS

ABAG launched its Regional Housing Technical Assistance program to aid local jurisdictions in adopting and implementing compliant Housing Elements, ensuring that Bay Area jurisdictions remain competitive for various state funding programs to increase housing opportunities.

To avoid duplication of effort, assistance includes development of regionally applicable products that can be customized by local staff to meet their respective needs.

The Housing Element Site Selection (HESS) Tool

This tool identifies potential sites in all Bay Area jurisdictions for Housing Element site inventories, and flags those that will likely require rezoning to be used under new state laws. By using a variety of datasets, HESS allows planners to visualize and screen sites based on HCD’s minimum zoning and density requirements, natural hazards, proximity to transit, access to opportunity and much more. Recent updates to the tool include data layers identified in HCD’s Guidance Memo on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) and Housing Element Site Inventory Guidebook.

The tool also automatically populates many sections of HCD’s new mandatory electronic reporting form.

Local planning staff who have not yet accessed the HESS Tool can create a HESS Tool account. Please note that it may take a couple of business days for the ABAG-MTC team to verify and activate the account. If your jurisdiction has a consultant working on your Housing Element update, you may request direct access to the HESS Tool and Housing Needs Data Packet on their behalf by emailing

Local Housing Element Data Packets

These are editable data packets compiled by ABAG staff for all 109 Bay Area jurisdictions. The data packets contain tables, figures, and accompanying text for over 60 data points that can be placed directly into the Housing Needs section of each jurisdiction’s housing element. The data packets also include some data related to the state’s requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH). The data packets have been pre-reviewed by HCD for consistency with state requirements. Download the PDF versions of the Housing Needs Data Packets, as well the underlying data tables in Excel, for all 109 jurisdictions. Local planning staff can also download an editable Word Document version of their respective jurisdiction’s Housing Needs Data Packet from the Housing Element Site Selection (HESS) Tool.

Data Webinar Recordings

For a full listing of webinars and resources from the webinars see the RHTA Training page

For more information about Regional Data Products contact:

Joshua Croff, GIS Planner/Analyst
Phone: (415) 778-6618

Contact Information

For More Information

Civic Engagement

Leah Zippert, Senior Public Information Officer
Phone: (415) 820-7995

Data Tools

Joshua Croff, GIS Planner/Analyst
Phone: (415) 778-6618

Housing Equity/AFFH

Daniel Saver, Assistant Director, Housing & Local Planning
Phone: (415) 778-6789


Michael Germeraad, Associate Planner
Phone: (415) 820-7945

Online Training Series

Clair McDevitt, Asst. PIO Analyst
Phone: (415) 778-6737

Peer Cohorts and Topic-Specific Workgroups

For more information, email

County Planning Collaboratives

Hannah Diaz, Associate Regional Housing Planner
Telephone: (415) 778-4406

Local Grants & Regional Planning Consulting Bench

Heather Peters, Principal Regional Housing Planner
Phone: (415) 778-6752

Other Technical Assistance

ABAG and its regional partners offer a variety of programs to city and county agencies to provide planning and technical support to reach local and regional goals of greenhouse gas reduction, equity, affordability and resilience.

Visit this Technical Assistance web page for a listing of assistance programs by various categories.

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Subscribe to the Housing Technical Assistance Mailing List

Join the Housing TA mailing list to receive email updates about the initiative and ways to get involved!