The Housing Element serves as a policy guide to address the comprehensive housing needs of the unincorporated areas. The primary focus of the Housing Element is to ensure decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing for current and future residents of the unincorporated areas, including those with special needs. The 2021-2029 Housing Element was adopted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on May 17, 2022, and certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development on May 27, 2022.
What Does the Housing Element Include?
State law mandates updates to the Housing Element every eight years and requires specific components to be included.
Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA)
The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) projects the housing need for unincorporated communities. SCAG assigns a number of housing units that the County is required to plan for in the eight year Housing Element cycle. That number of units is called the RHNA, and it is broken down by income category, ensuring that all economic groups are accommodated.
A jurisdiction then needs to show that there are enough sites within the jurisdiction to build that amount of housing. This task is called the Sites Inventory. In order to count toward the RHNA, sites must meet several criteria, including residential zoning of a certain density, a minimum lot size, and the site must be either vacant or underutilized. Underutilized means that the property is not built to its maximum capacity, so there is potential there for more units. If a jurisdiction cannot show that there are enough sites to address the housing need, the jurisdiction is required to develop a rezoning program. The rezoning ensures that there are enough sites with sufficient densities, to address the housing need identified through the RHNA.
Constraints and Barriers
Another component of the housing element is the identification of constraints and barriers to the development of housing, such as the time and cost of obtaining permits and the high cost of land.
Goals, Policies and Implementation Programs
The County must also develop goals, policies and implementation programs to address housing needs.
- Goals: General statements about the desired housing outcomes, expressing the community’s values.
- Policies: Specific statements that guide decision-making.
- Implementation programs: Actions for carrying out the policies of the Housing Element. Each implementation program identifies lead/partner agencies and timelines. LA County Planning partners with other agencies that oversee housing, such as the Los Angeles County Development Authority and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, for implementation and administration.
Explore this interactive story map to learn more about the Housing Element and proposed rezoning in the unincorporated areas. Rezoning is required by State law to ensure that there are enough sites with adequate densities to meet the housing need in the upcoming eight years.