A critical component of the Housing Element is the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), which is a quantification of future housing needs for all income levels in a jurisdiction. Every jurisdiction must plan for its RHNA allocation. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is the organization tasked with developing a RHNA allocation plan for the Southern California region. If you would like additional information about RHNA and the Housing Element, please see the following link for tutorials: https://www.occog.com/housing-orange-county
According to the RHNA adopted by SCAG, Fountain Valley must plan to accommodate 4,839 housing units, including 2,093 lower income units, during the 2021-2029 planning period. This includes:
- 1,307 very low (<50% AMI)
- 786 low (50-80% AMI)
- 834 moderate (80-120% AMI)
- 1,912 above moderate (>120% AMI)
- OC area median income (AMI): $103K
The Housing Element must identify “adequate sites” and set forth policies and programs that will accommodate the RHNA. Although the City is required to allow for this growth, as well as report to the State annually as to its progress, the City is not required to construct these units itself. That is the role of the private sector.
Although the City submitted many formal opposition letters, supported draft legislation, and submitted a formal appeal of its RHNA allocation, the appeal was denied on January 19, 2021, and SCAG adopted the final RHNA allocation on March 4, 2021. Click HERE for the City’s appeal materials.
At its May 27, 2021, Board meeting, the OCCOG Board of Directors unanimously voted to file a writ of mandate against the California Department of Housing and Community Development. The writ was filed June 21, 2021. Information about OCCOG’S lawsuit vs. HCD can be found at: https://www.occog.com/
In broad terms, affordability is simply the relationship between housing costs and income. The generally accepted measure for housing affordability is spending less than 33% of one’s gross household income on housing costs (including utilities, principle and interest). In the context of Housing Elements, affordable housing generally focuses on housing for extremely low, very low, low and moderate income households. In Fountain Valley, those income levels break down as follows:
In response to concerns that affordable housing could lead to increases in crime and/or lowering of property values in Fountain Valley, please see the following information:
The biggest takeaway from this research is that: Concentrating large amounts of affordable housing in areas of poverty can lead to lower property values and higher crime rates in those areas of poverty. On the other hand, placing affordable housing in affluent or high opportunity areas, like Fountain Valley, does not lower property values or increase crime rates.
- Trulia conducted a comprehensive study of property values near low-income housing developments and found that there was no significant difference in home prices of nearby properties compared with those further away. The study evaluated “3,000 projects financed using the federal low- income housing tax credit program between 1996 and 2006 in 20 of the most expensive U.S. metro areas.
- “Trulia researchers measured the change in home values for properties within a 2,000-foot radius of the low-income units as well as an outer ring between 2,000 and 4,000 feet.”
- “Across the 20 metro areas, the study found no significant difference in price per square foot when looking at properties closest to the low-income units and those farther out.”
- The researchers noted that the impact of low-income housing developments on surrounding property values varies from city to city based on existing poverty levels.
- “Large concentrations of low-income units in already-distressed areas will likely cause a deterioration in prices, while a less concentrated approach in more stable neighborhoods leads to a boost in property values across the board.”
- Uneven Distribution of Criminal Activity. “First, and similar to other studies examining crime within a homogeneous set of facilities or land uses (e.g., Eck et al., 2007; Sherman et al., 1989 Weisburd et al., 2014), low-income housing developments in San Antonio were not uniformly criminogenic, with 5% of housing developments accounting for approximately 72% of all violent crime, 87% of all drug crime, and 72% of all property crime. As predicted, housing developments with more security and design features that control access, enforce rules, facilitate surveillance, and generally increase the risks and efforts associated with offending had lower levels of violent, drug, and property crime.”
- Crime and Poverty Levels. “Second, low-income housing developments located in areas with high levels of concentrated disadvantage and low levels of residential stability had higher levels of violent, drug, and property crime. Theoretically, this indicates that low-income housing developments are not isolated havens, but rather part of the larger community in which they are embedded, and thus vulnerable to deleterious neighborhood conditions.”
- Varying Efficacy of Security Measures and Poverty Concentration. “The relationship between security and design features and crime at the housing development varies by neighborhood concentrated disadvantage. In other words, the crime-reducing benefits of these efforts will be stronger in low-income housing developments located in more prosperous communities and weaker in developments located in more disadvantaged communities. Additional efforts may need to be made at developments located in neighborhoods suffering from high levels of concentrated disadvantage.”
- Recommendation for De-Concentration of Poverty. “Our findings support changes to federal policy aimed at incentivizing the development of subsidized housing in eco- nomically diverse and stable communities and moving away from previous practices of concentrating low-income housing in poor communities.”