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Housing Element

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Housing E​lement Update 2015-2022

The Housing Element Update for 2015-2022 was adopted by the Board of Supervisors on June 10, 2014, and was certified by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on July 25, 2014 for compliance with State Housing Law. The Housing Element is a mandatory element, or chapter, of the General Plan that primarily addresses the housing needs of unincorporated Santa Clara County. A Housing Element must be updated on an eight year cycle or as otherwise determined by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Housing Element update cycles now correlate with regional transportation processes, as conducted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments.

2015 Housing Element Update Major ​Components

The updated Housing Element 2015-2022(2015 Update) is based on the Housing Element Update 2009-2014 (2009 Update), and retains its organization and strategic emphases. The most significant changes to the strategies and policies are increased focus on Extremely Low Income families, Permanent Supportive Housing, Secondary Units, and Farmworker housing.

A primary component of Housing Elements is to demonstrate the capacity to accommodate the need projected for the community and for each income category. The County demonstrates this through a combination of relaxed zoning for secondary dwellings, higher density student housing on Stanford lands, and overall capacity for homes in rural areas.

The RHNA for each jurisdiction is divided into income categories. The RHNA for the unincorporated County by income category is shown in the table below.


Santa Clara County RHNA, 2015-2022 Housing Element Update


Income Category



Very Low



Above Moderate


RHNA for 2015 Update






*Note: The original RHNA determined for the unincorporated County in the “Moderate” category was 14 units. It was increased by 200 units in accommodation of a request from the City of Palo Alto to transfer 200 units of their “Moderate” category RHNA to the County.

The Housing Element demonstrates that the forecasted need (RHNA) can be met with existing zoning capacity. No changes to zoning are necessary for the County to meet its RHNA.


2015 Housing Elemen​t Update Process

Starting in January 2013, the County’s Planning Office began initial work on updating the Housing Element for the 2015-2022 time period. The first phase of the update, collection of data on existing housing needs and special housing needs, was completed in Spring 2013. The second phase, Outreach, was the focus of summer 2013 activity. The highlight was a Housing Element Workshop on June 27, 2013. 

At the workshop, the County received input from a variety of stakeholders and advocacy groups, including but not limited to the homeless, seniors, farmworkers, and mental health and affordable housing service providers. Their input influenced the selection and updating of proposed housing strategies, policies, and implementation measures in the Draft 2015 Update.

In Fall 2013, the Planning Office worked on development of a Draft Housing Element 2015-2022.  The focus of work was on the proposed Strategies, Policies, and implementation measures for addressing the different types of housing need in the unincorporated County.  A Draft was released to the Planning Commission and the public on November 21, 2013, and was the subject of a workshop at the Planning Commission.  The Draft was then sent to HCD for an initial review.

From December 2013 through May 2014 the Planning Office held additional outreach meetings with the public, the Planning Commission, Board Commissions, and Stakeholders, receiving and responding to comments on the Draft Housing Element. The Planning Office also responded to comments resulting from HCD's initial review of the Draft Housing Element. 

Those comments and responses were integrated into a Final Hearing Draft of the Housing Element,  2015-2022 that was be presented to the Planning Commission on May 22, 2014. At the May 22, 2014 Hearing the Planning Commission made further minor modifications then forwarded a favorable recommendation to the Board of Supervisors to adopt the Housing Element Update 2015-2022.

The Board of Supervisors considered and adopted the Draft Housing Element Update 2015-2022 at its June 10, 2014 meeting.

For any questions please contact:

Valerie Negrete
70 W. Hedding Street, 7th Floor
San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 299-5791


2009 Housing Elem​ent Update

The County submitted its Initial Draft 2009 Update to HCD on June 10, 2009. In response, HCD sent a letter dated August 13, 2009 commending the County's efforts to promote and facilitate affordable housing through numerous programs such as the Affordable Housing Fund Program, and sought additional information. As a result, Staff sent a revised draft to HCD on 11/23/09 and conducted follow-up conversations. HCD issued a letter (dated April 23, 2010) finding the County's revised draft 2009 Update in substantial compliance with State housing element law.

Following the County's public hearing and General Plan amendment adoption process (Public Hearings on July 1, 2010 by the Planning Commission and on August 24, 2010 by the Board of Supervisors), the 2009 Update was forwarded to HCD for their final approval and certification on November 5, 2010.



Last updated: 2/1/2021 11:34 AM