Housing Element

Draft Housing Element

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.

Please click the following link to download and review the complete Draft Housing Element.

Provide Your Comments

There are a variety of ways the community can provide comments on the Draft Housing Element. Please submit all comments on the Draft Housing Element by July 3, 2022.

OPTION #1: Use "Let's Connect SR"

To make this an easier process, we are using the platform Let’s Connect SR, a free access online platform where our community can provide comments, questions, and feedback on the city’s future housing opportunities, needs, and solutions on the document itself. With this tool, it is also possible to review and see what others are saying about it, all in real time. To access and use the platform: 

  1. Go to Let’s Connect SR: https://letsconnectsr.com/general-plan-update  
  2. Read the whole housing element draft document or any part of it that you are interested in  
  3. Click on any area of the document and add your comment(s), questions, and feedback 
  4. Share it with your organization(s), contacts, family, and friends 

OPTION #2: Attend a public meeting

You can also provide comments during the June 9, 2022, Planning Commission meeting or at the June 21, 2022, City Council meeting.

OPTION #3: Submit your comments directly to staff

You can also submit comments directly to City staff via email at srforward@srcity.org or through the Comment Form on this website.  



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.

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) (Spanish)
  • Stakeholder Consultations
  • Community Workshops
  • Online Community Survey
  • Focus Groups and Listening Sessions
  • Housing Authority Study Session
  • Planning Commission and City Council Meetings

Current and Upcoming Opportunities to Get Involved

  • Review and provide comment on the Public Review Housing Element – Posted June 3, 2022
  • Planning Commission Meeting on Public Review Draft Housing Element – June 9, 2022
  • City Council Meeting on Public Review Draft Housing Element – June 21, 2022
  • Review and provide comment on the Revised Public Review Housing Element – October 2022
  • Planning Commission Recommendation for Adoption – January/February 2023
  • City Council Adoption Hearing – January/February 2023

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