Housing Element

Anticipated Housing Element Schedule

Milestone Anticipated Schedule
Council District Public Workshops Fall 2020
Public Engagement Events Fall 2020
Public Review Draft Housing Element January 2021
Planning Commission and City Council Public Hearings Spring 2021
State of California Final Review/Housing Element Certification Summer/Fall 2021

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Housing Element?

The Housing Element is one of the mandatory elements that must be included in a city’s General Plan. The Housing Element provides goals, polices, and actions that help Whittier plan for existing and future housing needs for all segments of its population and expresses community goals about housing in Whittier. Whittier’s Housing Element is required to be updated every eight years and must be approved by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

When was Whittier’s previous Housing Element prepared?

Whittier’s City Council previously adopted Whittier’s Housing Element in December 2013. On February 6, 2014, HCD issued a letter of certification for the adopted Housing Element.

What are the items that the Housing Element covers?

The Housing Element must cover the following topics:

  • An evalution of a city’s demographic and housing characteristics and trends including an analysis of existing and projected housing needs, the number of people living in overcrowded housing, residents paying more for their homes than they can sustainably afford, people with special housing needs and affordable units at risk of converting to market rate;
  • A review of potential market, governmental, and environmental constraints to meet a city’s identified housing need;
  • An evaluation of land, administrative, and financial resources available to address the housing goals (developed by the Southern California Association of Governments, SCAG);
  • A review of a city’s past accomplishments under the previous Housing Element; and,
  • A Housing Plan including goals, policies, and programs that the City will adopt to assist the development of housing for different income and special needs groups, ensure equal housing opportunity, and preserve and improve the existing housing stock.

What is the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) and how does it relate to the Housing Element?

Every Housing Element must make an "adequate provision for the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community." The estimated 2021-2029 RHNA for Whittier is 3,431 units composed of four different income affordability categories. Despite the wording, the RHNA is a "distribution of housing development capacity" that each city must zone for in a planning period. A community is not obligated to actually provide housing to all in need but it must plan for it.

How is the Housing Element connected to the work the City has been doing on “Envision Whittier” (General Plan Update)?

The Housing Element is a required chapter of the General Plan and was not originally included in the General Plan update due to the timing of the Housing Element (due October 15, 2021 and covering the time period of October 15, 2021 to October 15, 2029). However, General Plan update’s work completed to-date and the public input received will be used and supplemented with additional public input to inform the Housing Element update. State law requires that the General Plan contain a consistent set of goals and policies. The Housing Element will, therefore, be consistent with the policies contained in other elements of the General Plan.

Why is it important for the City to have a State Compliant Housing Element?

Housing Element is considered out of compliance with State law if one of the following applies: 1) It has not been revised and updated by the statutory deadline, or 2) Its contents do not substantially comply with the statutory requirements. If a Housing Element is certified, there is a legal presumption that it is “compliant” or adequate.

Who prepares and certifies the Housing Element?

The City of Whittier prepares the Housing Element, but the Housing Element must be certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). This certification creates a presumption that the Element is compliant with State law.

How can I get involved and provide comments and feedback on the Housing Element Update?

The City will be conducting outreach activities during the Housing Element update. Due to the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, the City is working to identify safe and effective forms of public input and will be announcing those soon. You can view our Events page for upcoming activities and sign up for email updates at the bottom of this page or use the contact form on this site.

For more information of the Housing Element update Please contact Don Dooley, ddooley@cityofwhittier.org, 562.567.9320

Para obtener información adicional sobre la actualización del Elemento de Vivienda,un capítulo importante del Plan General de la ciudad, favor de contactar a Don Dooley, ddooley@cityofwhittier.org, 562.567.9320.