‘Prohousing’ powerhouses: Bay Area locales recognized for efforts to add new residences

New housing construction takes place on Applejack Way in Santa Rosa's Meadow Creek subdivision in an undated image. Santa Rosa along with Sonoma County and the town of Windsor have been named "prohousing" communities by the state for their development-friendly policies that speed residential construction. California has a goal of adding 2.5 million homes by 2030, with 1 million of them affordable to people at lower income levels. (Google image)

A Bay Area county and two of its cities are among the latest batch of designated “prohousing” communities demonstrating a commitment to enacting policies to accelerate housing production.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced that Sonoma County, Santa Rosa and the town of Windsor, along with Long Beach and Moreno Valley in Southern California, are among the latest batch of designated “prohousing” communities demonstrating a commitment to enacting policies to accelerate housing production.

The five jurisdictions will be eligible for funding incentives and additional resources through a state grant program to speed up housing production.

The June 14 announcement of the five new prohousing communities comes as California faces a severe housing shortage. The state’s population is expected to grow by 10 million by 2050, and the deficit will only worsen without more housing.

“Every city and county across California need to work together to tackle the state’s housing crisis,” Newsom said.

“Rather than evade their duties, these communities are committed to rolling up their sleeves and building more housing faster. We are putting the needs of Californians first and seeing to it that more housing gets built throughout the state.”

With the announcement of the latest five jurisdictions, 27 California communities have been designated as prohousing, including eight from the Bay Area. Communities that earn the prohousing designation receive additional points or other preferences in scoring competitive funding programs by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

Santa Rosa ranked second only to Sacramento for its prohousing initiatives, according to city officials in a statement that announced the city is on track to create 4,685 units of new housing by 2031, including 1,919 affordable housing units.

“I’m proud to see Santa Rosa being recognized as a leader in pursuing affordable housing for our residents,” Mayor Natalie Rogers said in a statement. “Housing equity is one of our most critical issues and one we have prioritized.”

The state’s 2019-20 Budget Act established the Prohousing Designation Program, which helps California meet its goal of building 2.5 million homes by 2030 — with 1 million of those homes affordable to people at lower income levels.

El Cerrito won the pro-housing designation in the February round of awards.

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