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HCD Awards $2.3 Million in Planning Grants to Nine Cities to Accelerate Housing Production

August 19, 2019
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has announced awards totaling more than $2.3 million to local governments that are working to streamline housing approvals and accelerate housing production.
 
These are the first awards from HCD's Planning Grants Program, which was created in 2018 as a result of SB 2 (Atkins, 2017). The passage of SB 2 is a significant step in finding solutions to address California’s housing shortage, as it provides a key incentive for the construction of affordable housing. These new funds give cities greater access to funding to streamline housing project approvals, update land use plans and zone or rezone to meet the housing needs in their communities.
 
These first awards went to nine local governments. The local governments will use the grants for a variety of planning documents and process improvements that increase the supply of affordable homes and apartments, while reducing costs and saving processing time.
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"We're excited to see these first grants go out the door and provide this financial support to cities and counties that are working to meet the housing needs of Californians," said HCD Director Ben Metcalf. "The team at HCD is highly focused on providing proactive support to local jurisdictions, so they are well-positioned for success as they apply for funds."
 
All cities and counties in California will be eligible for these non-competitive funds, provided the jurisdiction has an HCD-approved housing plan (Housing Element); has submitted their 2017 or 2018 annual progress reports, showing how the jurisdiction is pacing against their housing plan; and demonstrates in their application that grants will be used to work toward accelerated approvals and production.
 
HCD is providing free technical assistance to cities and counties to help them identify activities, share best-practices, and complete their applications.
 
"SB 2 offered the City of Redlands a great opportunity to complete the planning process currently underway to create our Transit Villages Specific Plan," said Redlands Planning Manager Brian Foote. "It will promote mixed-use development with significant increased residential density development around each of the three planned rail stations scheduled to open in the city by 2021. The staff at HCD has been extremely helpful and has made the application process simple and easy to complete."
 
"The City of Folsom is thrilled about the opportunity to use SB 2 Planning Grant funds to create a state-of-the-art permit center with modern technology and enhanced web platform," said Folsom Community Development Director Pam Johns. "In conjunction with our new electronic permit processing and plan check systems, the new Community Development Permit Center will improve the customer experience with expedited processing and improved access to information and interaction with the plans and permit process."
 
HCD is accepting applications from cities and counties on an ongoing basis through Nov. 30. Local governments interested in applying should visit HCD's Planning Grants Program webpage, where they will find application information and regional contacts who can provide free technical assistance to applicants.
 
Technical Assistance
 
HCD, in coordination with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), is working with a team led by PlaceWorks, Inc. to provide technical assistance (TA) to applicants throughout the application period. The TA team will work closely with regions, sub-regions and counties, to help jurisdictions identify activities and provide best-practice tools to help reach the goal of accelerating housing production. Jurisdictions can reach out for assistance to HCD, OPR, or one of PlaceWork’s regional liaisons.
 
On HCD’s recently announced SB 2 Planning Grants Technical Assistance (TA) Accelerating Housing Production webpage, cities will find new resources, tools, and California's first-ever, statewide peer-to-peer sharing map. Access the interactive map — a peer-to-peer resource, where you can learn what other cities/counties are doing to accelerate housing production.
 
For more information on technical assistance, view the League’s CA Cities Advocate article on “HCD Launches SB 2 Planning Grants Technical Assistance.”
 
For additional SB 2 Planning Grant information, view the League’s CA Cities Advocate article on “SB 2 Planning Grants Are Available: Find out How to Access Your City’s Share” and HCD’s Planning Grants Funding webpage.


 
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