Support for Local Engagement

Support for Local Engagement

ABAG staff is working on supporting materials, research-based messaging guidance, online tools, and best practices in engagement outside of traditional public meetings. Some completed materials include the following tools and templates. Other tools are under development and will be available over the next several weeks. More information on translation and interpretation assistance can be found on this webpage

New Resources for Communications and Public Engagement

An analysis of HCD comments on Housing Elements from other regions showed that two-thirds of communities had inadequate public engagement. These new tools are designed to help kickstart Housing Element public engagement and to address HCD comments made on jurisdiction housing outreach activities.

"Let's Talk About Housing:" Communications Guide For Local Government
This document is a data-driven communications guide for use by local government staff and elected officials to foster productive conversations with residents about housing. The guide is based on existing and new research and includes consistent, clear language for discussions about affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) legislation. View the Guide and download the video overview.  

Best Practices for Equitable Engagement Primer
This primer provides effective ways to engage communities and stakeholder organizations that traditionally are underrepresented in local government participation. It is designed to provide local jurisdictions with a range of tools, strategies and best practices for engaging all community members. View the Primer and download the video overview. 

Communications and Public Engagement Consultant Services Now Available

An analysis of HCD comments on Housing Elements from other regions showed that two-thirds of communities had inadequate public engagement. To assist you with effective community engagement, RHTA is offering direct, customized community engagement and communications support to local planners and elected officials. The following services are available at no charge through Schechter Consulting:

  • Advice and coaching on communications, outreach and community engagement
  • Strategies and process design for community engagement 
  • Community meeting planning and facilitation
  • Assistance in development and review of presentations, frequently asked questions and other communication materials
  • Assistance in handling difficult conversations or conflict with community members.

For more information and to access these services email with a brief description of the support you need and the timing.

Template Housing Survey Now Online 

EMC Research has worked with RHTA to develop a survey to help local governments better understand their residents’ feelings about housing and related issues. The survey has been translated into Spanish, simplified Chinese, Vietnamese and Tagalog.

This survey is available to all Bay Area jurisdictions as part of the Housing Element public outreach process. To receive a unique survey link for your community, send an email to with the name of your jurisdiction. EMC staff will share the survey link in this Box folder. Watch the training video for more information.

Reimbursement for Online Engagement Tools

Funds are available to reimburse jurisdictions that purchase online tools to help with public engagement. Each jurisdiction is eligible for a $200 reimbursement per year. These tools could include:

  • Live polling (Poll Everywhere, Mentimeter)
  • Forms/questionnaires (Typeform, SurveyMonkey)
  • White boards (Mural, Miro, Doodly)

Other tools that help communities conduct remote engagement can also be reimbursed. Purchases need to be made by the jurisdiction, not by a staff member. For more information about these types of tools and how to use them, view the webinar Engage How To! Introduction to Remote Meeting Tools on the trainings page and then contact Clair McDevitt,, for next steps. 

Social Media Toolkit

A  social media toolkit (in English, Spanish and simplified Chinese) to help jurisdictions communicate with their residents online about Housing Element updates.


Webinar Recordings

For more information about civic engagement contact:

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