56 of California’s 58 Counties Lacked Enough Affordable Homes Even Before the Pandemic

RELEASE: New 2021 Affordable Housing Needs Reports from the California Housing Partnership

Santa Clara County Housing Needs Report coverEvery spring, the Partnership publishes Housing Needs Reports assessing the failure of California’s housing markets to meet the needs of low-income families. Highlights from this year’s reports include:  

  • Even before the pandemic, low-income renter households lacked access to an affordable home in 56 of California’s 58 counties.
  • In every one of California’s 58 counties, high housing costs continue to plague the majority of low-income households.
  • Households earning less than half of the median income experience disproportionately high rates of severe housing cost burden, putting them at risk of displacement. 
  • Severe housing cost burden is greatest among renter households with the lowest incomes.
Given the persistent severity of the crisis facing low-income renters described in these reports, we urge state leaders to set clear, long-term goals so that the uses of this year’s state budget surplus are framed as down-payments on the sustained investments at scale that our region and state need to meet the four clear goals of California’s Roadmap Home 2030: ending homelessness, closing the affordable housing gap, protecting low-income renters, and advancing racial equity,” said Matt Schwartz, president and CEO of the California Housing Partnership.

California's Roadmap Home 2030 logo

The Partnership urges state leaders to take the following specific actions:

  1. Make permanent the $500 million annual increase to the California Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program to jump-start affordable housing production and provide an additional $100 million annually to rehabilitate existing affordable rental properties.

  2. Create a new Affordable Housing Preservation Tax Credit to preserve existing affordable housing at risk of conversion and to fight displacement pressures.

  3. Allow affordable housing to be built by right on land currently zoned for commercial or public uses and on church-owned lands. 

  4. Streamline all state financing sources for rental housing funding programs through a single application and award process to reduce development costs.

  5. Reduce the threshold for voter approval of local funding of affordable housing and infrastructure from 67% to 55% as was done for educational facilities in 2000. 

  6. Exempt supportive housing and affordable housing from CEQA reviews.

View the 2021 Housing Needs Reports for All California Counties:



Live demonstrations of new features in the Partnership’s Housing Needs Dashboard and Affordable Rental Housing Benefits Map!