The purpose of the Housing Element is to achieve an adequate supply of decent, safe, and affordable housing for Hayward’s existing and future workforce, residents, and special needs populations. Housing Element law is designed to ensure that low-income families are not excluded from opportunities in all communities and to promote economic and environmental sustainability throughout the region. The Housing Element strives to conserve the city’s existing housing stock, while providing opportunities for new housing for all economic segments of the community.
State Housing Element law requires that local jurisdictions describe and analyze the housing needs of their community, the barriers or constraints to providing that housing, and actions proposed to address these concerns over an eight-year period. In addition, Housing Element law requires each city and county to accommodate its “fair share” of projected housing need over the Housing Element planning period. Cities and counties must demonstrate that adequate sites are available to accommodate this need, and that the jurisdiction allows for development of a variety of housing types. This housing need requirement is known as the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) and apportions to each jurisdiction its portion of the Bay Area’s projected need.
To make adequate provision for the housing needs of all economic segments of the community, the Housing Element establishes goals, policies, and programs to:
- Conserve and improve the condition of the existing affordable housing stock;
- Assist in the development of housing affordable to low and moderate income households;
- Identify adequate sites to encourage the development of a variety of types of housing for all income levels;
- Address and, where appropriate and legally possible, remove governmental constraints to the maintenance, improvement, and development of housing;
- Promote equal housing opportunities for all persons; and
- Provide for the special housing needs of seniors, persons with disabilities, large families with children, single female-headed households, and persons who are homeless.
The goals and policies of the Housing Element are closely related to several other elements of the General Plan, including the Land Use and Community Character Element and the Community Health and Quality of Life Element.