Orange County Needs More Housing. Let the RHNA Stand.

Orange County Council of Governments and member cities

Sign this letter to tell the Orange County Council of Governments you want them to drop a lawsuit that aims to reduce the number of housing units built in Orange County. The state correctly requires 1.3 million new units to be planned for in the Southern California region to address all levels of affordability.

The Orange County Council of Governments (OCCOG) is an association of Orange County cities. OCCOG filed a lawsuit against the CA Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) alleging that the state's regional housing needs determination for Southern California, including Orange County, is too high, and Orange County cities need to build only 13% of the housing units assigned by the RHNA.

This petition attests to the experiences of people impacted by the housing shortage and housing affordability crisis. It asks OCCOG to drop their lawsuit because Orange County needs more housing, especially affordable housing. Instead of suing HCD, we are asking these leaders to work with their cities' staff and residents through the housing elements process to find sites suitable to build new housing.

You can read the lawsuit here.

To: Orange County Council of Governments and member cities
From: [Your Name]

Re: Your lawsuit against Gustavo Velasquez and the CA Dept of Housing and Community Development (HCD), Los Angeles Superior Court Case # 21STCP01970

We are Orange County residents who feel the financial strain caused by the housing shortage. We are renters who pay ever-increasing rents; we are low-income households for whom there is no subsidized apartment or housing voucher available; we are young adults living with our parents; we are aspiring first-time homebuyers who cannot find a house in our price range. We are homeowners who support more affordable housing for our neighbors. We are the current and future workforce in Orange County, and together with our allies and housing advocates, we object to this lawsuit.

This lawsuit runs counter to the interest of the most at-risk for displacement and homelessness. Orange County needs more housing. We need subsidized affordable housing for low & very-low-income families and service sector workers. We need “missing-middle” townhomes and condos near jobs for millennial-aged teachers, healthcare workers, and emerging professionals.

In January 2020, before the stay-at-home orders and resulting recession, a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found that homelessness was the major concern of most Californians, and the issue they hoped the Legislature would tackle that year. This was true for both Democrats and Republicans. COVID-19 has laid bare the risks of falling into homelessness for households that are cost burdened, paying more than 30% of their income on housing, or otherwise housing housing insecure.

Those who object to the high Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocations to OC cities do not feel the impacts of the housing shortage. They likely have secure housing for which they pay 30% or less of their income. In OC, those with stable housing have 30-year mortgages and benefit from Prop 13, which caps their property taxes. These policies enable homeowners to secure stable housing at a fixed cost. In contrast, renters and would-be homebuyers are subject to “market forces,” and the housing shortage has driven up housing prices for both renters and first-time homebuyers.

The 6th cycle RHNA allocations reflect the magnitude and the urgency of a housing shortage. It is an affordability crisis for those who have not already secured permanent housing.

We are signing this petition to tell you that Orange County cities and the Southern California region as a whole need all 1.3 M new homes as assigned by the 6th cycle RHNA. Please drop your lawsuit. Instead, please work with cities' staff and residents through the housing elements process to find sites suitable to build new housing.