State certifies Ontario’s updated Housing Element to address housing – and affordability – crisis across Southern California

October 18, 2022

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has certified Ontario’s updated Housing Element – an aggressive plan that positions this City of more than 185,000 residents to lead the Inland Empire in addressing the housing crisis.

The updated Housing Element, which was adopted by the city Council in March, lays out a series of planning and zoning changes that would allow the building of more than 20,000 housing units over an eight-year period ending in October 2029, including nearly 9,000 units for low-income and very low-income residents.

Those numbers represent Ontario’s allocation under the state-mandated Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) – a process governed by the HCD and updated every eight years to address the housing shortage across California.

No Inland Empire city had a higher RHNA allocation than Ontario – testament to the City’s standing as one of the most dynamic economic and population centers in Southern California. Across the six-county SoCal region, only three cities – Los Angeles, Long Beach and Irvine – had higher allocations.

“We are pleased that HCD has certified our Housing Element – one of the most aggressive in the state and reflective of the City Council’s commitment to Ontario as a complete community. As this plan demonstrate, we are and will remain a destination for individuals and families looking for a better quality of life,” said Mayor Paul S. Leon.

HCD requires cities to establish a framework that would allow a level of production to meet the needs of all income categories. Ontario’s updated Housing Element followed two-year planning process that included extensive technical analysis, community outreach and engagement with residents, businesses, community-based organizations, affordable housing developers and advocates, homeless services providers, neighborhood associations and stakeholders. City staff held community workshops, distributed mailers and conducted a social media campaign to solicit public participation and input on the plan.  

The updated Housing Element was built around several City Council priorities:

  • Addressing the needs of existing Ontario residents for quality and affordable housing at all income levels. 
  • Ensuring that the city’s housing stock matches the type, price and tenure needed by Ontario’s residents and workforce. 
  • Creating, preserving and (where needed) improving the quality and identity of Ontario’s distinct neighborhoods. 
  • Assisting residents of all ages and backgrounds to allow them to live, work and enjoy themselves and their families in Ontario. 
  • Obtaining financing for affordable housing as tax credits become more competitive and make it more difficult to obtain financing for affordable housing. 

The plan also takes into account job growth and the Council’s commitment to supporting business and employment opportunities. 

“This was an inclusive process that engaged stakeholders throughout our community and, in the end, resulted in a long-term plan that will balance economic growth and quality of living,” said Scott Murphy, the City’s Executive Director of Community Development.

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