The coveted designation recognizes Santa Rosa as a leader in addressing the housing crisis.
Today, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the City of Santa Rosa has received the State of California’s Prohousing Designation from the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The coveted distinction acknowledges the City’s commitment to addressing housing availability and affordability. It will give Santa Rosa added points when competing for affordable housing, transportation, and infrastructure dollars, and allow the City to speed up the production of housing and further scale up its efforts to meet critical housing needs in Santa Rosa.
“I’m proud to see Santa Rosa being recognized as a leader in pursuing affordable housing for our residents,” said Mayor Natalie Rogers. “Housing equity is one of our most critical issues and one we have prioritized. We look forward to the new funding opportunities that come along with this designation as we continue to pursue the creation of housing for all Santa Rosans.”
Santa Rosa’s Prohousing application received 57 points, well above the 30 points required to earn the distinction and ranked second only to Sacramento for its Prohousing initiatives. To date, 27 California communities have been designated Prohousing since the program launched in 2019. The City was joined by the County of Sonoma, Town of Windsor, Long Beach, and Moreno Valley in today’s announcement.
To receive the Prohousing Designation, cities and counties must demonstrate that they are promoting housing development in a variety of ways, including but not limited to streamlining multifamily housing developments, up-zoning in places near jobs and transit to reduce emissions, and creating more affordable homes in places that historically or currently exclude households of color and those earning lower incomes.
“Creative efforts to enhance state and local partnerships are essential to meeting ambitious and necessary state housing goals,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez. “We recognize today local governments that are breaking down barriers to affordable housing – and reward those good actors with incentives to enhance the work they are already doing.”
In its application, the City outlined multiple pro-housing policies it has enacted or will enact to increase housing production and to improve access to affordable housing. These included streamlining and expediting application and review processes, deferring fees for affordable housing construction, incentivizing increased housing density, speeding approvals for accessory dwelling units, reducing parking requirements for new housing, and creating an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District to help support affordable housing development, among many other policies the City has adopted or is pursuing.
One project highlighted in the City’s application that received high marks was adoption of the Southwest Greenway Plan, which will preserve up to 47 acres of parklands and open space and provide 244 multi-family housing units in an underutilized area previously designated for Highway 12 expansion.
Santa Rosa is on track to create 4,685 units of new housing by 2031, including 1,919 affordable housing units. With 397 units under construction from June 30, 2022, and later, the City’s 2023-2031 Housing Element accounts for 163% of Santa Rosa’s remaining total Regional Housing Needs Allocation. There are more than two dozen affordable housing developments in the pipeline, including Caritas Homes - Phase One set to open soon in Downtown Santa Rosa, South Park Commons at the former City-owned Bennett Valley Senior Center site, and The Cannery at Railroad Square. Recently completed affordable housing projects include the Linda Tunis Senior Apartments in Rincon Valley and Laurel at Perennial Park located on Mendocino Avenue at the former Journey’s End Mobile Home Park site, among others.