Planning Moderate-Income Housing and Annual Reporting

The Legislature of the State of Utah has determined that all cities with 10,000 or more residents--and some smaller municipalities in counties with more than 31,000 residents--are required to review the implementation of the 5-year moderate-income housing element of their general plan and report the findings of that review to the Utah Housing and Community Development Division. 

Specifically, the legislative body of reporting municipal governments are to:

  • Conduct a thorough review of the municipality’s moderate-income housing element and its implementation; and
  • Revise its five-year moderate-income housing needs estimates; and
  • Report the findings of the review to the Housing and Community Development Division of the Utah Department of Workforce Services and the Association of Government to which the municipality belongs; and
  • Post the review’s findings report on its website

Reporting the findings of a moderate-income housing review can be an intensive process.  We recommend that each municipal legislative body set-aside adequate time to conduct a thorough review. Municipalities that assign personnel familiar with planning principles, demographic methods, and understand applicable state laws will benefit the most from the reporting process.  The Housing and Community Development Division has also made the “Moderate-Income Housing Reporting Form” available on its website to assist municipal governments with their reporting obligations.  

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

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