Year one of Generation Housing’s Prohousing Initiative draws to a close this month. We are proud to have worked with Designation-winning jurisdictions across Sonoma County as well as those outside of the county, including Ukiah and Roseville, to better understand the Department of Housing and Community Development’s approach to housing production. Sonoma County remains the county with the most successful applications in 2023, including Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor, and the County itself. Even more exciting than the funding these designations unlock are the policies on affordable housing production that cities are required to implement.
Now that the application stage is over, in many ways, the hard work starts. Jurisdictions must implement their policies in order to remain in compliance and stay eligible for the Prohousing Designation advantages over the next two years. The state retains the right to determine how successful cities are at executing their policies as well as monitor the passage of separate ordinances that risk undermining housing production. The work ahead is even steeper for jurisdictions like Santa Rosa with a significant proportion of “proposed” rather than enacted policies. These policies must be passed within the first year of the designation. Jurisdictions are required to outline some but not all concrete steps toward the execution of these proposed policies.
But there is a lot of work to do – from understanding successful models of implementation, to finding data-backed evidence on the intersection of policy plans, and devising model ordinance language. This is where Generation Housing’s second phase of advising comes into play. Now that applications are in hand, Generation Housing will advocate, educate, and advise on the successful implementation of policies across five major areas of Prohousing policy. This next phase is reflected in our new North Bay NEXT initiative: a research-, advocacy-, and community-oriented rollout of model policy design in five areas crucial for boosting housing production and eliminating constraints on affordable housing approval, financing, and construction. Each is tailored to the assets and challenges of midsize cities and smaller towns with a legacy of single family housing but ambitions to provide housing for all its residents, workers, young families, and students.
As a result, our Prohousing Initiative updates will now become the home for our North Bay NEXT updates. Here, you can learn more about each policy area – from financing, approval, zoning, fee structuring, and parking – that impacts the cost of housing. You can also follow along as jurisdictions pledge to adopt or meet these housing goals. Each month we will post our Action Dashboard, share updates and information on a new policy area, including a policy brief that you can read to stay informed, and highlight opportunities to advocate for reform in front of elected officials. Stay tuned for more and please reach out to Joshua Shipper, our Director of Special Initiatives, at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.