In October, The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) approved the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) which determines how many new homes each city or county needs to be able to produce in order to accommodate the growth of our region. That growth was recently identified by the State, which found that the Bay Area needs to supply close to half a million new homes over the next eight years to make a dent in our affordability crisis. Executive Director Amanda Brown-Stevens is a member of the Housing Methodology Committee which spent the past year researching, planning, and discussing the best approach to address this need. Amanda gives a step-by-step explanation of the RHNA process here. After carefully assessing various methodology options, the Committee landed on option 8A, which we feel is the best approach to help the region improve our environment, reduce our commutes, and ensure every resident has a stable home they can afford (see more details below). The Committee is recommending option 8A to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) who will make the final decision on how to proceed.
You have a say!
The RHNA methodology is in the public comment phase until November 27, which means we have a short window of time to drum up community support for option 8A. We’ve written an official letter to outline why we want 8A to be chosen, and given the Thanksgiving holiday, will submit it ahead of the 27th. Read our letter by clicking here, and if you believe that 8A is the best option to ensure we accommodate the sustainable, inclusive growth our region needs, add your name to our petition now!
We believe that option 8A offers the best environmental health benefits and provides the clearest path forward to mitigate climate change in several ways, including:
- More homes near jobs: 8A allocates more homes in communities with high quality economic, educational, and environmental opportunities which means that more homes, especially affordable homes, will be allocated to cities and counties with quality jobs, adequately-resourced schools, and minimal pollution.
- Density: With 8A, there will be more housing zoned for multi-family housing to meet the very low- and low-income allocations.
- Reduction in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT): Option 8A will reduce commutes for all kinds of jobs—not just the tech jobs in Silicon Valley—in order to meet the new statutory jobs-housing fit requirement. Jobs-housing fit is a jurisdiction’s ratio of low-wage jobs to homes affordable to those workers. Those workers include farmworkers and service workers at our tourist destinations, homes, offices, and schools, and many more.
Whether you are an advocate for open space or housing (or both!), and as residents of this region, we must use our voice to speak up for more homes within our own neighborhoods, cities, and towns, just as we fight to protect our natural and working lands. Greenbelt Alliance supports option 8A (with a slight adjustment to the unincorporated counties) to make sure we are not encouraging development on our precious lands, and are instead building safe, resilient, climate-smart communities for all to thrive!