Double Counting in the Latest Housing Needs Assessment

Updated September 2020 | Gab Layton, PhD – President of the Embarcadero Institute

Do the Math: The state has ordered more than 350 cities to prepare the way for more than 2 million homes by 2030.

But what if the math is wrong?

Senate Bill 828, co-sponsored by the Bay Area Council and Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and authored by state Sen. Scott Wiener in 2018, has inadvertently doubled the “Regional Housing Needs Assessment” in California.

Use of an incorrect vacancy rate and double counting, inspired by SB-828, caused the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to exaggerate by more than 900,000 the units needed in SoCal, the Bay Area and the Sacramento area.

The state’s approach to determining the housing need must be defensible and reproducible if cities are to be held accountable. Inaccuracies on this scale mask the fact that cities and counties are surpassing the state’s market-rate housing targets, but falling far short in meeting affordable housing targets. The inaccuracies obscure the real problem and the associated solution to the housing crisis—the funding of affordable housing.

Read Full Report