Housing Element Enforcement and Advocacy

Campaign Update – December 2021

Over the past two years, Public Advocates and our partners engaged in intensive advocacy to ensure that the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), which drives local Housing Elements, combats racial segregation and displacement and that high-income, largely white jurisdictions are allocated a fair share of housing affordable to low-income residents and people of color. This work leveraged two fair housing laws that Public Advocates was instrumental in passing in 2018, AB686 (Santiago) and AB1771(Bloom).

As a result of our advocacy, the final methodology adopted by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) allocated 50,199 lower- income units to the region’s 49 most exclusionary jurisdictions and included an “Equity Adjustment” that added 3,068 lower income units to 18 exclusionary cities and counties that otherwise would have received disproportionately low allocations.

28 cities and counties appealed their allocations. In August 2021, we submitted a letter with our 6 Wins partners and allies urging ABAG to reject all 28 appeals noting that they fail to meet statutory requirements for reducing allocations. In November, ABAG denied nearly all appeals, except for one that raised a minor calculation error.
Despite its diversity, the Bay Area is more segregated today than it was three decades ago. These campaign wins will have a major impact in advancing housing justice on a regional scale and set up strong opportunities for local organizing and advocacy.

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