What is a Housing Element?

A single family home in the suburbs.

A Housing Element is part of a General Plan adopted by a city, town or county that includes the goals, policies and programs that direct decision-making around housing.

The Housing Element is — at its core —  an opportunity to have a community conversation about how to address local housing challenges and find solutions.

This two-page overview addresses common questions about Housing Elements and helps explain:

  • Examples and definition of a Housing Element
  • Certification and legal components of a Housing Element
  • When jurisdiction do not adopt a Housing Element
  • Who determines Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA)