Housing Element

Housing Element Update

The Housing Element identifies the current conditions and future needs of housing in Santa Rosa while categorizing objectives and outlining policies and programs that could meet those needs, all in the hope of addressing segments of the population with special needs like seniors, persons with disabilities, and veterans. The report also establishes the maximum threshold of new homes that could be built in the city over the next several decades. Key features and highlights of the draft Housing Element include, but are not limited to: 

  • Building as many as 24,000 new homes in Santa Rosa by 2050, with a focus on density in downtown and neighborhood centers, and ensuring new growth and development is resilient to economic and environmental forces.
  • Increasing mobility and decreasing exposure to environmental hazards, while prioritizing funding for services, amenities, and infrastructure in equity priority communities.
  • Limiting development in the wildland urban interface area (WUI) to what is currently allowed, with a heightened focus on evacuation safety and efficiency.
  • Enhancing sustainable development by managing traffic congestion and reducing vehicle miles traveled (VHT) by improving connectivity and reducing dependence on single-occupant cars. 
  • Improving east-west connections for walking and biking.

The following page summarize current information on the Housing Element update process, including all drafts of the Housing Element, formal comment letters from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), and ways you can participate and provide your feedback. 


Adopted Housing Element Reviewed by HCD (March 2023)

Housing Element Summary

Adopted Housing Element (February 2023)

Housing Element Adoption Draft (January 2023)

Revised HCD Review Draft Housing Element (Winter 2022/2023)

This latest draft addresses Informal comments received from HCD prior to November 1, 2022; formal comments documented in HCD’s November 1, 2022 findings letter; and community comments. All revisions are shown in tracked changes and revisions addressing HCD’s formal comments are highlighted in yellow.

HCD Review Draft Housing Element (Fall 2022)

The City of Santa Rosa is required to submit the draft Housing Element to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for their review and certification. The following are links to the HCD Review Draft Housing Elements and HCD's formal comment letter. 

Public Review Draft Housing Element (Summer 2022)

Please click the following links to download and review the initial draft Housing Element.

Public Comments on Housing Element

Community Engagement Opportunities

The City of Santa Rosa has made a diligent effort to engage the community in the General Plan Update and development of the 6th Cycle Housing Element.

Completed Engagement Activities

  • Preparation of the General Plan Update Community Involvement Strategy (English) (Español)
  • Stakeholder Consultations
  • Community Workshops
  • Online Community Survey
  • Focus Groups and Listening Sessions
  • Housing Authority Study Session
  • Planning Commission and City Council Meetings
  • Review and provide comment on the Public Review Housing Element
  • Planning Commission Meeting on Public Review Draft Housing Element
  • City Council Meeting on Public Review Draft Housing Element
  • Review and provide comment on the Revised Public Review Housing Element

Current and Upcoming Opportunities to Get Involved

  • Planning Commission Recommendation for Adoption – January/February 2023
  • City Council Adoption Hearing – January/February 2023

Submit Comments

Comments on the draft Housing Element can be submitted via email srforward@srcity.org, through our website comment form, or by mailing or delivering handwritten comments in person to the following address: 

100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 3
Santa Rosa, CA 95404


Santa Rosa is currently updating its Housing Element, one of eight elements the City is required to include in its General Plan. In recognition of the severe need for housing across the state, the housing element is subject to additional requirements, not placed on other elements, including a requirement to update the Housing Element and have it certified by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for each eight-year housing cycle. Santa Rosa’s current Housing Element plans for the period of 2015 to 2023, the 5th Cycle. The 6th Cycle Housing Element will plan for housing needs from 2023 to 2031 and must be certified by January 31, 2023. Since the Housing Element must be complete by a specific date, it is being prepared on a separate schedule from the other elements in the Santa Rosa Forward General Plan Update.

Regional Housing Need Allocation

The Housing Element serves as a blueprint to address housing needs of everyone in the community for the eight-year housing cycle. With each Housing Element update, the city must plan to meet the community’s existing and projected housing needs, including their fair share of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). The RHNA process is the part of Housing Element Law used to determine how many new homes, and the affordability of those homes, each local government must plan for in its Housing Element. The State of California sets the total housing units needed in each region. For the Bay Area, including Sonoma County, the region must plan for 441,176 housing units, about half of which must be affordable to lower income households The City of Santa Rosa was assigned the following housing allocation for the 6th Cycle:  

Santa Rosa Regional Housing Need, 2023-2031
Income Category 2023 – 2031 RHNA  Percentage of RHNA
Very Low (<50% AMI) 1,218 26%
Low (50%-80% AMI) 701 15%
Moderate (80%-120% AMI) 771 16%
Above Moderate (>120% AMI) 1,995 43%
Total 4,685 100%

Source: Association of Bay Area Governments, 2021.
Notes: Area Median Income (AMI) in Sonoma County for a 4-person household: $103,030. It is assumed that 50 percent of the very low-income units are allocated to the extremely low-income category.

Housing Element Components

  • Public Outreach and Engagement: Overview of outreach activities to engage the community and stakeholders in preparation of the Housing Element.
  • Housing Needs Assessment: Examination of demographic, employment, and housing trends and conditions that affect local housing needs.
  • Fair Housing Assessment: Summary of fair housing issues; an analysis of available federal, State, and local data that support identifying patterns of segregation or other barriers to fair housing; and prioritization of factors contributing to fair housing issues.
  • Housing Sites Inventory: Inventory of sites identified as available and suitable for housing development or redevelopment. The Sites inventory ensures there is adequate capacity to meet RHNA.
  • Housing Constraints: Analysis of and recommend remedies for existing and potential barriers to housing development.
  • Evaluation of Previous Housing Element: Assessment of the 5th Cycle Housing Element to measure it’s progress toward implementation of the identified policies and programs.
  • Goals, Policies, and Programs: Goals, policies, and programs identified to address the community’s housing needs.

Housing Element Schedule

For information on the schedule for the housing element and other components of the General Plan update, visit https://www.santarosaforward.com/schedule