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After Earlier Denying Pasadena’s Appeal, Southern California Association of Governments Finalizes Housing Assessments

Published on Friday, March 5, 2021 | 6:40 am

City Councilmembers and mayors from six Southern California counties voted Thursday to adopt an eight-year regional housing needs assessment, which aims to help municipalities anticipate growth.

Last October, Pasadena had appealed the requirements the assessment heaped upon the city — that by 2029 the city must build 9,409 new housing units, including 2,379 very-low-income units, 1,659 low-income units, 1,562 moderate-income units, and 3,449 above-moderate-income units.

But the appeal was denied by the Southern California Association of Governments in January.

The sixth cycle of the RHNA, which passed Thursday unopposed, allocated 1.34 million housing units to Southland municipalities from October 2021 to October 2029, based on a state requirement. The previous cycle’s state requirement was about 412,000 units.

The number of affordable units each city is required to build is based on household growth and access to transit and jobs. Input from localities is also taken into consideration, according to the state-mandated Regional Housing Needs Assessment.

The allocation for Los Angeles County includes:

  • 217,272 very-low-income units;
  • 123,022 low-income units;
  • 131,381 moderate-income units; and
  • 340,384 above moderate-income units.

“The housing crisis has been and remains one of the most significant challenges we face as a region and a state,” said SCAG President Rex Richardson, who also serves as vice mayor of Long Beach. “From our perspective, the RHNA process has always been about working together and doing everything within our authority to address the housing crisis and ensuring that the determination is on the firmest possible technical ground.”

The SCAG Regional Council approved the plan after an appeals process in which 49 jurisdictions wanted the RHNA allocations revised after they were released in September.

The adopted RHNA also includes factors to affirmatively further fair housing, replace integrate living patterns, transform low-income areas into communities of opportunity, and comply with civil rights and fair housing laws.

“In the end, we challenged ourselves to come up with a formula that addresses our formidable housing challenges in an effective and equitable manner,” said SCAG Executive Director Kome Ajise. “This is about more than just counting housing units: It also carries forward our regional plan for sustainable development, improved mobility and increased access to jobs, housing and amenities. As this process plays out, SCAG looks forward to providing our communities with the technical support they need to meet their needs.”

Southern California’s housing crisis is one of the worst in the U.S., with the average home price nearly 2.5 times higher than the national average, and the average rent 50% higher than the rest of the country, SCAG reported.

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment is required by the State Housing Law to update local housing elements of the General Plan. According to the Southern California Association of Governments’ website, the assessment doesn’t necessarily encourage growth, but it helps anticipate growth.

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