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As seen in the table below, 231 new residences have been permitted in Eureka since 2019, but to meet the RHNA goal for the current Housing Element cycle 721 additional dwelling units will need to be built by 2027.
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We are currently at the very beginning of the planning process, with an initial public meeting planner for November 15, 2023, and an online survey recently released, to give feedback on public priorities for the project prior to development of a conceptual design. After the initial meeting occurs and survey results are analyzed, one or more conceptual design(s) will be drafted and will be brought to a future City Council meeting for feedback from Council and the public, and then a final design will be taken to the City's Design Review Committee for Design Review approval. Once Design Review approval is secured, RCHDC may apply to the City for building permits to construct the project. Per the City's agreement with RCHDC, a minimum of three public meetings will be held to encourage public input on the project prior to RCHDC applying for a building permit.
Rural Communities Housing Development Corporation (RCHDC) is a nonprofit dedicated to providing decent and affordable housing to low- and moderate-income persons in rural northern California. We strive to be a strong, dynamic, and flexible organization; effective at achieving our mission through our efforts and partnerships both public and private. RCHDC has developed over 700 units and manages over 1,400 units of multi-family affordable housing for individuals and families, elderly, and special needs populations. This extensive organizational history exemplifies our experience and capacity for developing and owning affordable housing. Throughout the last 7 years, RCHDC has expanded its knowledge of Housing First Principles as evidenced by our successful collaborations with the Counties of Siskiyou, Mendocino, Lake, Tehama, and Humboldt to develop five No Place Like Home developments for people experiencing homelessness and/or serious mental illness.
RCHDC’s approach to developing affordable housing in the City of Eureka will be driven by the needs of the local community. To understand and plan for a project that meets those needs, we focus on five essential components – building a project-specific team, ensuring community involvement and integration, knowing the market and target population, assessing the built environment possibilities, and matching the appropriate funding sources. We look forward to expanding housing opportunities in the beautiful City of Eureka.
To meet the City's Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA; see "What is RHNA?" below) and help alleviate our local housing crisis, the City has adopted a program to sell or lease City-owned parcels to affordable housing developers, with a goal of contractually requiring developers to construct at least 327 deed-restricted affordable housing units on City-owned parcels by 2028. The four Sunset Heights parcels were added to the program in 2022, after Pierson Properties & Development, LLC came forward with a proposal to swap three of the City-owned Downtown parking lot sites originally included in the program for the Sunset Heights property. The City acquired the Sunset Heights property from Pierson in early 2022, and officially added the site to the housing program in October 2022. On September 5, 2023, City Council entered into an agreement with RCHDC for development of Sunset Heights with a minimum of 80 affordable dwelling units (a.k.a. residences).
Since 1969, the State of California has required that all cities and counties adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in their communities. To meet this requirement, each city and county must develop a Housing Element as part of its General Plan (the local government’s long-range blueprint for growth) that shows how it will meet its community’s housing needs. There are many laws that govern this process, and collectively they are known as Housing Element law.
Every eight years, every city and county in California must update their Housing Element and have it certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The current Housing Element cycle for the Humboldt region runs from 2019-2027. HCD determines the number of new homes by income category the Humboldt region needs to plan for during the current Housing Element cycle, and Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG) distributes the region’s housing allocation amongst the seven cities and County of Humboldt. The City of Eureka was allocated a RHNA of 952 units (i.e., a goal of constructing 952 new housing units within City limits between 2019-2027). The RHNA goal is divided into four income levels as follows:
City of Eureka 2019-27 RHNA
Very Low Income (VLI)
Low Income (LI)
Moderate Income (MI)
Above Moderate Income (AMI)
Affordable housing generally means not spending more than 30% of a household’s income on housing, including rent and utilities for renters, and mortgage, interest, insurance, taxes and utilities for homeowners. For purposes of affordable housing planning and funding, State Housing law establishes the following income levels:
Very Low Income
31 to 50% Area Median Income
51 to 80% Area Median Income
81 to 120% Area Median Income
Above Moderate Income
>120% Area Median Income
According to the Census, median household income in Eureka is $46,926 (2017-2021). However, for the purpose of determine affordable housing prices, HCD has set the 2023 median income in Humboldt County at $83,800 for a family of four (HCD raises Humboldt County’s area median income to equal California’s non-metropolitan median income). HCD uses the $83,800 median income value to determine which Humboldt County households qualify as very-low income, low income, and moderate income as follows:
Official 2023 State Income Limits for Humboldt County by Income Category
As shown in the table above, if a four-person household earns the median household income in Eureka of $46,926, that household qualifies as low-income. A one-person household earning $46,926 qualifies as moderate income. For context, the minimum wage in California will increase to $16.00 per hour in January 2024. A person working full time (2,080 hours per year) and earning minimum wage will bring home $33,280 in 2024.