Planning Moderate-Income Housing and Biennial Reporting

Preparing the Moderate-Income Housing Plan Element

Preparing a new moderate-income housing element, or substantially updating one, can be a major undertaking.  Although the Housing and Community Development Division only provides technical input on moderate-income housing plans that municipalities prepare, we have developed a number of useful tools to assist you with meeting this requirement.  These tools and resources include:

  • An outline and writing guide for planning moderate-income housing
  • A model Moderate-Income Housing Element and template
  • A model resolution for amending the general plan
  • A database of moderate-income housing plans
  • A clearinghouse of affordable housing data
  • And more Learn more

Outline and Writing Guide for planning Moderate-Income Housing

HCDD has prepared a basic outline for the moderate-income housing element of your city’s general plan.  The outline is based on a number of guidelines and best practices recommended by the American Planning Association and the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.  The outline also contains a “scorecard” that cities can use to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their current moderate-income housing element.  The writing guide provides easy to follow tips on preparing a high-quality moderate-income housing plan element.  Learn more

Model Moderate-Income Housing Element and Template

HCDD has prepared a model plan that may be modified and adopted by municipalities.  It also contains suggested methods and techniques to encourage the development and preservation of affordable housing. The template closely follows the recommended outline described above, but to get the most out of it, cities should edit and modify its sections to suit their community’s particular housing needs.  Cities will still need to conduct their own affordable housing gap analysis to address the current and anticipated housing needs of their community.  The emphasis of this template is on setting project-oriented goals that achieve tangible results that meet your community’s the affordable housing needs.  Learn more

Model Resolution for Amending the General Plan

Both the moderate-income housing plan element and biennial housing reports should be formally adopted by resolution and posted on a city’s website.  Once a city has substantially revised or prepared a new moderate-income housing element, it must formally adopt it as part of its general plan by resolution.  New and substantially revised moderate-income housing plans require a period of public notice and comment, as well as a public hearing before being adopted.  Cities should also formally adopt the findings report of each biennial review of the moderate-income housing element by resolution.  Clearly listing biennial housing reports as an agenda item for discussion at a regularly scheduled city council meetings is usually sufficient public notice.  To facilitate the adoption of the housing plan element, and subsequent biennial reports, we have prepared an editable document that cities can use by simply filling-in the blanks with the appropriate information.  Learn more

Database of Moderate-Income Housing Plans

Are you curious what the housing plans of your neighboring communities look like, or the plans of cities similar to your own?  What have other cities done to deal with their shortage of affordable housing?  Do you need a copy of your previous moderate-income housing element or biennial review reports?  Well look no further.  In HCDD’s resource link, you’ll find a database full of moderate-income housing plans and biennial reports.  Cities are strongly encouraged to review the housing plans of cities with a population similar to their own to find out what they’ve done to assess and address the affordable housing needs within their community.  City planners who take the time to make these comparisons will gain a better insight into what makes an effective housing plan.  Understanding the housing plans of your neighboring communities will also help you understand their goals and to find common ground as you work together to meet regional housing needs.  Learn more

Clearinghouse of Affordable Housing Data

Planning is said to be policymaking with a map.  Evidence-based policies are forward-looking and shaped by high-quality, reliable information rather than a reflex responses to short-term pressures.  They tackle causes not symptoms.  Evidence-based policies are designed to: 1) Test the validity of perceived issues in a community; 2) Assess the extent of verified problems; 3) Evaluate the potential efficacy of proposed solutions; and 4) Monitor progress in resolving those problems. 

Each year the U.S. Census Bureau conducts an extensive household survey called the American Community Survey (ACS) and posts the results on its website.  The American FactFinder is a powerful online tool for accessing the tabulated results of the ACS.  HUD then compiles the ACS into Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) datasets, which are tabulations of housing needs according household income and program eligibility limits.  It then publishes these data on its HUDuser website. However, these websites are not the most intuitive websites to use.  HCDD has provided a number of easy to follow tutorials and an Affordable Housing Gap Analysis tool to help guide you on your way to evidence-based planning. Learn more

In case your office doesn’t have a stable internet connection, or you are experiencing other issues with the American FactFinder or HUDuser websites, HCDD’s staff has compiled a macro-free MS Excel workbook containing multiple years of data at the city, county, and state levels from five primary sources.  Firstly it contains all available years of HUD’s Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy data.  In addition to the U.S. Census Bureau's current population estimates, this workbook also contains housing, socioeconomic, demographic, and poverty-related data from the 5-year estimates of all available American Community Surveys.  It also compiles multiple years of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual Local Area Unemployment Statistics datasets and data from BLS’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages datasets at the county and state levels.  Learn more

Community-Driven Housing Program

The Community-Driven Housing Program (CDHP) encourages cities and counties to proactively address the affordable housing needs of their residents. For more information on the criteria HCD uses in evaluating affordable housing plans, how HCD scored your city or county’s plan, possible improvements to a plan, or whether your city or county currently qualifies for the CDHP, please email or (801) 468-0141.  Learn more