State Targets Neighborhood Change in Newly Released AFFH Mapping Tool

Earlier this month, California’s Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) released the final Neighborhood Change Map, which is intended to inform statewide policy for affordable housing and advance affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) objectives.

The Neighborhood Change Map identifies low- and moderate-income communities of color that have undergone substantial racial/ethnic and economic changes. This map signals that the State is seeking to advance AFFH objectives not only by helping increase access to higher resource areas but in other neighborhood contexts – and that more broadly, the State is embracing a both/and approach to AFFH that includes both mobility- and place-based strategies that we describe in our 2021 policy brief

HCD released the draft Neighborhood Change Map on October 23, 2023 and solicited public comment through November 17, 2023. In response to public comment and with guidance from its research partners – which includes the California Housing Partnership – HCD made several changes to the final map, as described in its response to comments memo. The final map was released on April 9, 2024.

The final version of the map differs from the draft map released in October 2023 in several important ways, listed below:

  • Re-organized the avenues to meet the neighborhood change definition into the following “pathways”:
    • Pathway 1A: Substantial Racial/Ethnic and Economic Change (since 2000), Pathway 1B: Substantial Racial/Ethnic and Economic Change (since 2013), and
    • Pathway 2: Change since 2013 in Proximity to Pathway 1A Tracts;
  • Lowered the rising median rent threshold to acknowledge that low-income renters may be particularly sensitive to rent increases and to be consistent with thresholds used in the methodology for racial/ethnic and economic demographic change;
  • Introduced a measure of household incomes outpacing property values to help capture ongoing and future neighborhood change; and
  • Made other minor changes, including the removal of neighborhoods with high concentrations of college or graduate students.

[P]rioritizing affordable housing investments in changing neighborhoods could help stabilize communities and further a wider range of AFFH objectives.” Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) 

To learn more about the Opportunity Framework process that led to the creation of the map, as well as the rationale behind the map, links to mapping tools, methodology documentation, and answers to frequently asked questions, visit the “Opportunity Framework” and “Neighborhood Change Map” headings on HCD’s website.

What is the significance of this map release?

The Neighborhood Change Map represents a meaningful evolution in the State’s approach to advancing AFFH objectives. HCD oversaw the creation of this mapping tool after concluding, based on a review of existing literature, that low- and moderate-income communities of color that have experienced a substantial increase in high-income white households have distinct AFFH implications. Specifically, these neighborhoods are important places to target interventions that address AFFH-related challenges (such as displacement, exclusion, and contributions to new patterns of segregation) as well as advance AFFH objectives (such as promoting integration and addressing disproportionate housing needs). These neighborhoods are typically categorized as Moderate Resource or Low Resource in the Opportunity Map.

HCD plans to use the Neighborhood Change Map in its policies and programs as a complement to the approach of increasing access to higher resource neighborhoods for low-income families via policies that reference the Opportunity Map, along with other measures to define and support comprehensive revitalization strategies in lower resource communities; other State housing agencies are considering similar approaches. The totality of these changes brings these agencies closer to embracing the holistic approach to advancing AFFH objectives in multiple neighborhood contexts, seeking to simultaneously achieve a more integrated society while also making segregation less harmful.

Where did the Partnership come in?

Helping public agencies develop evidence-based and holistic approaches to addressing residential segregation and advancing AFFH objectives are part of the Partnership’s mission and equity values. We contributed to the work that led to HCD proposing the new Neighborhood Change Map and made recommendations based on public comments that HCD incorporated into the final version of the map. In doing so, we worked closely with HCD and other research partners at the UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation and the UC Berkeley Othering & Belonging Institute to develop methodologies based on literature reviews, quantitative analyses, and assessments of new and prior mapping approaches. 

What’s next?

HCD has signaled that the Neighborhood Change Map will be used to inform statewide policy for funding affordable housing. The Partnership will continue to keep an eye out for how HCD – and possibly other Sstate agencies – may use the map in affordable housing funding programs and related policy areas. We remain committed to keeping our partners informed and will provide updates on the usage of the map as well as its potential impact on the State’s funding ecosystem.

For more information about the Partnership’s AFFH work, please reach out to Dan Rinzler, Associate Research Director, at

MattAlvarez-Nissin_staff bio_600x600

Matt Alvarez-Nissen supports the Partnership’s policy and research efforts through data analysis and program evaluation serving local, statewide and academic partner initiatives. He previously worked in urban planning with Dyett & Bhatia in Oakland and in research with the Urban Displacement Project and the Changing Cities Research Lab. 

Dan Rinzler staff Dan Rinzler leads the Partnership’s policy and research initiatives around affordable housing preservation, development and their social impact. He previously worked in housing program development and impact assessment with the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) and as an urban planning consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area.