Affordable Housing Requirements, Incentives, and Assistance
In September 2021, CalHFA introduced ADU Grant Program offering up to $25,000 to help homeowners build more affordable housing options.
In October 2021, The City of Oxnard City Council adopted the 2021-2029 6th Cycle Housing Element on October 5, 2021. The Council also approved Zoning Map Amendments to change the zoning designation on 106 parcels (https://arcg.is/HmSS1) and adopted five (5) zoning ordinances to facilitate construction of housing units as stipulated in the Housing Element. Information on the Housing Element update, the adopted 2021-2029 Housing Element and new ordinances are available here.
In October 2022, the City will be conducting its Annual Housing Element workshop. To sign up for this workshop, click this link
Since 1969, the State of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has required that all cities and counties prepare and adopt housing plans as part of each jurisdiction’s “general plan” (also required by the state). City and county general plans serve as the local “blueprint” and include seven elements: land use, transportation, conservation, noise, open space, safety, and housing. Housing Elements planning periods are set by State legislation and the current housing element planning period is 2013 to 2021.
The City of Oxnard (City) joins all cities, counties, states, and the nation in the goal of a “…decent home and a suitable living environment…” first expressed in the National Housing Act of 1949. Since 1949, housing has improved substantially in terms of structural integrity and protection from the elements; safe and reliable utilities, indoor plumbing and heating; and adequate space and privacy. The cost of housing relative to other necessities remains the challenge for many households, whether renting or owning.
What does ‘Affordability’ mean in terms of annual household income?
“Affordable housing cost” is defined in State law as not more than 30% of gross household income with variations (Health and Safety Code Section 50052.5). “Housing cost” commonly includes rent or mortgage payments, utilities (gas, electricity, water, sewer, garbage, recycling, green waste), and property taxes and insurance on owner-occupied housing. When a household pays more than 30%, they are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and medical care. Housing cost burdens have greatly increased for lower- and moderate-income households since the 1960s.
Affordability is often broken down by income category. The income categories are based on household size and an area median income (AMI):
The California Department of Housing and Community Development, (HCD) annually establishes the state and federal income limits See http://www.hcd.ca.gov/grants-funding/income-limits/state-and-federal-income-limits.shtml
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annually establishes the income limits for assisted housing programs based on metropolitan areas (Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA MSA). See https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il.html
The income limits for affordable housing often vary depending upon a program’s requirements, development’s financing and rules. For income limit eligibility on Section 8, see S8 Income Limits
Development of Affordable Housing Units
The City Council of the City of Oxnard adopted the City’s HCD-required 2021-2029 Housing Element (PDF) on October 5, 2021 (Resolution 15,490). The 2021-2029 Housing Element provides housing and affordability information for the City, uses an HCD-assigned target of 8,549 new units as a new housing goal, and establishes 44 implementing programs to be administered by various City departments. Eight Housing Element programs directly involve requirements, incentives, or financial assistance for affordable housing. The 2021-2029 Housing Element may be viewed here
Below is a brief summary of programs related to new housing development with links to detailed documentation, instructions, links, and contacts for more information.
Program 3: Rezone to Meet RHNA
Program 30: Vacant Repeat RHNA Sites
Program 31: Non-vacant Repeat RHNA Sites
Specific parcels and groups of parcels are identified in the Supplement 1 of the 2021-2029 Housing Element as Affordable Housing sites where residential development of up to 30 dwelling units per acre is permitted, provided that at least 20% of dwelling units are restricted as affordable to lower income households. These sites are designated with a zoning suffix of “-AHP” (Affordable Housing Permitted) or “-AHD” (Affordable Housing Discretionary) and are subject to objective development standards outlined in Oxnard Municipal Code Chapter 16, Sections 16-420A to 16-420K Development is permitted “by-right” with a ministerial Site Plan Review permit on -AHP sites, or with a discretionary Special Use Permit on -AHD sites. Specific Zone changes may be viewed here. Direct questions to Planning staff at (805) 385-7858
Program 5: Parcel Assemblage
The City will reduce setbacks and/or parking requirements, waive the Parcel Assemblage/Lot Consolidation fees (in accordance with Ordinance 2927) for targeted parcels (less than 0.5 acres) of contiguous lots identified in Supplement 1 of the 2021-2029 Housing Element, and concurrent/fast tracking of project application reviews to developers who provide affordable housing.Direct questions to Planning staff at (805) 385-7858
Program 6: State Density Bonus (5 or more units)
Developers of new residential development containing five (5) or more units may, under most circumstances, automatically qualify for 20 to 50 percent more housing units (a “density bonus”) than otherwise allowed by zoning if the developer provides a specified number and types of affordable units within the project. Such applications may also be eligible for waivers or reductions in development standards and parking ratios. Details are outlined in the California Government Code Section 65915. Direct Density Bonus questions to Planning staff at (805) 385-7858
Program 6, 36, 37 & 44: Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) An update to ADU ordinance in 2019 simplified the ADU permitting process, revised development standards and waived parking requirements. This resulted in a notable increase in ADU applications. To further encourage development of ADUs as a form of affordable housing, the 2021-2029 Housing Element included four new programs related to ADU development.
Program 10: Inclusionary Housing Program (10 or more units) Program 14: Shelter Development Program 35: Housing in Business Research Park (BRP) zone Program 40: Institutional Land Use Housing Opportunity Program Program 43: Annual housing Element Workshop Programs that Assist Oxnard Residents to Own or Rent The following three programs are long-standing programs that offer home-buying and rental assistance to qualifying Oxnard residents. Program 11: Homebuyer Assistance Program 12: Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) Program 18: Section 8 Assistance Program Program 19: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
Single-family home resident owners in most areas of the City may create a relatively small and affordable “second” or “accessory” rental unit by either: 1) converting one or more rooms entirely within their existing house, 2) adding rooms to their house, or 3) building a separate ADU in the rear yard. ADU details are outlined in the Oxnard Municipal Code Chapter 16, Sections 16-465 to 16-465.5.
In general, developers of new residential projects containing ten (10) or more for-sale or for-rent dwelling units are required by the City Code to provide 10 percent of the total units as on-site affordable housing for low income households in the manner specified in Ordinances 2980 (PDF), or make an in-lieu Affordable Housing Payment to the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund (See in-lieu fees). Unless authorized by the City Council in advance of the development application being processed by the City, the default is to provide the affordable units within the project and record a deed restriction for at least 20 years. Only households that can be documented to have a household income in each unit’s respective affordability range may rent or own these units, now and in the future. Direct Inclusionary Housing Program questions to Planning staff at (805) 385-7858
The City amended its Zoning Code (see Zoning Code Section 16-504) to define and permit supportive and transitional housing as residential uses and to allow emergency shelters with a Special Use Permit in the R-2, R-3, R-4, and C-M zoning districts. Emergency shelters are allowed without discretionary review in the M-L and M-L-PD zoning districts. Further amendments to the Zoning Code will be made to allow transitional and supportive housing in all zoning districts that allow residential uses in the same way other residential uses are allowed in those zoning districts and to allow residential care facilities for six persons or less without discretionary review where single-family dwellings are allowed. The City will continue to work with homeless services stakeholders to complete the Navigation Center 110-bed emergency shelter and address ongoing needs of the homeless population.
The City is evaluating establishing an overlay district in specific areas of the BRP zone that will allow property owners an additional option to develop residential dwelling units as an alternative to, or in conjunction with, uses allowed in the BRP zone. This effort would utilize the High Quality Transit Corridor recommendations for modification to the BRP zoning standards. The target timeframe for evaluating and holding public workshops on the potential zone would be in fiscal year 2023- 2024.
The City is evaluating a program that will allow institutional properties (properties owned by organizations having a social, educational, or religious purpose such as a school, church, hospital, club or lodge) to build housing affordable to lower income households and/or homeless shelters on their property as part of their mission/community outreach and in conjunction with their existing development or use on their property. If the City determines this will be a beneficial program for the City, information regarding the program will be posted on this website. The time frame for this program is Fiscal Year 2024- 2025.
The City will hold a public workshop to update the community on progress towards implementing the Housing Element. The next workshop will be in October 2022, and information regarding the workshop will be posted on this website. To sign up for this workshop, click this link
The City of Oxnard Affordable Housing and Rehabilitation Division has a Homebuyer Assistance Program for low and moderate-income Oxnard residents. The Division can provide down payment assistance of up to $57,000 (based on income level and need) for the purchase of a single-family residence, a condominium unit, a cooperative unit, or a manufactured home. Assistance may include a forgivable loan up to $30,000, with a 10-year term, zero interest, no monthly payments, forgiven at the end of the term, or due and payable if property is sold, transferred, or defaults before the end of the term, and/or a deferred loan of up to $27,000 with a 30 year term, 3% interest, no monthly payments, due and payable at the end of the term or earlier if the property is sold, transferred, or defaults before the end of the term. Funds are available upon funding availability and based on a first-open escrow, first-served basis. Applicants may only receive assistance once in their lifetime. Program details and application are available here.
The MCC Program offers qualified first-time homebuyers a federal income tax credit. The federal tax credit reduces federal income tax liability and creates spendable income for first-time homebuyers to use towards their monthly mortgage payment. The qualified home buyer is awarded a tax credit of up to 20% of the annual interest paid on the mortgage loan. The remaining 80% of the mortgage interest continues to qualify as an itemized tax deduction. The MCC program is administered by the California Housing Finance Agency and their eligibility and application information is here.
The Section 8 program subsidizes very low-income households who expend over half their income on rent. The Section 8 tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) assistance program is funded by the federal government and administered by the City of Oxnard Housing Authority (OHA). When a family is determined to be eligible for Section 8 and funding is available, the OHA issues the family an HCV. When the family finds a suitable housing unit, the OHA will enter into a contract with the property owner and the family will enter into a lease. The OHA and the family both make their respective payment to the owner so that the owner receives full rent. The HCV holder pays only 30%-40% of their household income toward rent and the OHA pays the difference directly to the property owner. The OHA continues to make payments to the owner as long as the family is eligible and the housing unit continues to qualify under the program. The City regularly seeks to increase Section 8 vouchers from HUD. The City also provides biannual training to landlords regarding fair housing requirements, including the requirement that they accept vouchers, and encourage them to market available units at their rental properties in high resource areas to voucher holders to increase mobility from low to high resource areas. More information is available here. For more information please contact the Oxnard Housing Authority Applications Division at (805) 385-8014
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, known as the Fair Housing Act, has two goals: to end housing discrimination and to promote diverse, inclusive communities. The second goal is referred to as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH). AFFH requires recipients of HUD funds to take meaningful actions, in addition to combating discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics, such as race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, ancestry, familial status, source of income, or disability, and other characteristics protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
An update to ADU ordinance in 2019 simplified the ADU permitting process, revised development standards and waived parking requirements. This resulted in a notable increase in ADU applications. To further encourage development of ADUs as a form of affordable housing, the 2021-2029 Housing Element included four new programs related to ADU development.
Program 10: Inclusionary Housing Program (10 or more units)
Program 14: Shelter Development
Program 35: Housing in Business Research Park (BRP) zone
Program 40: Institutional Land Use Housing Opportunity Program
Program 43: Annual housing Element Workshop
Programs that Assist Oxnard Residents to Own or Rent
The following three programs are long-standing programs that offer home-buying and rental assistance to qualifying Oxnard residents.
Program 11: Homebuyer Assistance
Program 12: Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC)
Program 18: Section 8 Assistance Program
Program 19: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing