Policy and Research

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) conducts research and analysis of California's housing markets, identifies California's housing challenges, and develops policies that support housing and community development.

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Education on Policy

In addition to developing policy, HCD serves as an educator on policy, creating policy briefs, white papers, and special reports on housing and homelessness. HCD also serves as analyst on policy and legislation, informing the office of the governor, state legislators and their staff, state departments and agencies, local elected officials and government employees, developers, advocates, media, and the general public.

HCD 2018-19 Policy and Research Accomplishments:

  • Provided technical assistance to 74 percent of California counties to enhance, develop, or improve the delivery of services for people experiencing homelessness, including the implementation of Housing First principles.
  • Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-06-19 to make excess state-owned property available for affordable housing development. This Executive Order requires that HCD coordinate with the Department of General Services (DGS) to develop two screening tools to evaluate plots of excess land to determine the economic feasibility of development and to identify where housing is most needed throughout the state. By applying these screening tools, HCD and DGS worked together to identify opportunities for affordable housing development on state-owned properties developing a ground lease, preparing to issue a Request for Proposals, and collaborating with local governments.
  • Following AB 879 (2017), HCD was required to study and evaluate the review of local impact fees charged to new developments. To meet this, HCD contracted the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at University of California, Berkeley to prepare a study through outreach, case studies, interviews and various other methods. The study, Residential Impact Fees in California, provides an overview and analysis of impact fees in California and suggests many findings and recommendations related to fee transparency, fee structure, fee design process and alternative funding options.
  • Made possible by funding from HCD, the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at University of California, Berkeley launched a survey for planners across the state to learn more about local land use policy contexts in California. In December 2019, the Terner Center released the California Land Use Data Set, the most up-to-date jurisdiction-level resource on policies that affect the production, location, and preservation of housing in the state. The data set includes survey responses from 252 cities and 19 unincorporated county areas, and touches on issues from how land is zoned for different uses, to the process a project goes through to get approved, to policies aimed to producing affordable housing. It will help citizens and policy makers alike understand how cities in California are approaching the use of their land, and with what effect on the quantity, accessibility, and affordability of their housing.