Communities & Environment > Planning > Housing > Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) > Overview

Final Regional Housing Need Allocation Adopted


State law recognizes the vital role local governments play in the supply and affordability of housing. Each local government in California is required to adopt a Housing Element as part of its General Plan that shows how the community plans to meet the existing and projected housing needs of people at all income levels.

The Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) is the state-mandated process to identify the total number of housing units (by affordability level) that each jurisdiction must accommodate in its Housing Element. As part of this process, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) identifies the total housing need for the San Francisco Bay Area for an eight-year period (in this cycle, from 2014 to 2022). ABAG and MTC must then develop a methodology to distribute this need to local governments in a manner that is consistent with the development pattern included in the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS). Once a local government has received its final RHNA, it must revise its Housing Element to show how it plans to accommodate its portion of the region's housing need.

As part of the RHNA process, local jurisdictions within a county have the opportunity to form a subregion to develop their own methodology and carry out their own allocation process. For the 2014-2022 RHNA, subregions were formed in Napa, San Mateo, and Solano Counties.

For the Bay Area the "projection period" or the time period for which the Regional Housing Need is calculated is January 1, 2014 – October 31, 2022. The "planning period" for the Bay Area, or the time frame between the due date for one housing element and the due date for the next housing element, is January 31, 2015 – January 31, 2023. For more information on the projection or planning periods please refer to this link.


ABAG has sought to engage local jurisdictions, stakeholders, and members of the public throughout the process of developing the RHNA. In January 2011, ABAG convened the SCS Housing Methodology Committee (HMC), comprised of local elected officials, staff and stakeholders from throughout the region, to advise staff on developing the RHNA methodology. Between January 2011 and April 2012, the committee met almost every month to deliberate about how best to allocate the region's housing need to jurisdictions and ensure consistency between RHNA and the SCS.

In addition, public participation is encouraged throughout the process of developing the RHNA, especially at public meetings and during official public comment periods following the release of discussion documents and board decisions. The major milestones of the RHNA process are outlined in the 2014-2022 RHNA / SCS Schedule. The key steps are described in more detail below.

Key Milestones:

On February 24, 2012, HCD provided ABAG with its determination of total regional housing need. HCD indicated that Bay Area jurisdictions must plan for 187,990 units between 2014-2022.

On May 17, 2012, the ABAG Executive Board approved the draft RHNA methodology and a draft share of the region's total housing need for each of the subregions. Release of the draft methodology initiated a 60-day comment period, including a public hearing on June 6, 2012, for ABAG to receive comments about the methodology and subregional shares.

On July 19, 2012, the ABAG Executive Board adopted the final RHNA methodology and approved release of the draft allocations.

Release of the draft allocations on July 20, 2012 initiated a 60-day period in which a local jurisdiction could request a revision to its RHNA. By the September 18, 2012 deadline, ABAG received revision requests from 14 jurisdictions. None of the revision requests were granted.

Local jurisdictions that requested a revision had until February 18, 2013 to appeal ABAG's decision on their revision requests. Eight jurisdictions submitted appeals. ABAG's Executive Board formed an ad hoc Appeal Committee to hear the appeals and provide its recommended actions to the Executive Board. The Appeals Committee held a public hearing to hear the appeals on April 1, 2013.

On May 16, 2013, the Executive Board adopted the Appeal Committee's recommendations to support the appeals brought by Hayward, Lafayette, and Sunnyvale and deny the other five appeals. The Executive Board also approved the agreement between the City of Palo Alto and the County of Santa Clara to transfer 200 moderate-income units from the City to the County.

On June 3, 2013, ABAG issued the final RHNA, which incorporates the changes resulting from the appeal process and transfer agreement that were adopted by the ABAG Executive Board.

On July 18, 2013, the ABAG Executive Board adopted the Final Regional Housing Need Plan for the San Francisco Bay Area: 2014-2022, including the final housing unit allocations, by income, to local jusrisdictions in the region.

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