They wanted a community where they could afford to buy a house with a yard and plenty of space for my sisters and me to safely ride our bikes through the neighborhood and run around with our friends. Back then, Concord was considered a “bedroom community” – families lived and played here but commuted into larger city centers for work.
Over the last 30 years, Concord has evolved into a vibrant city with many more business centers and local jobs, as well as popular restaurants and shops that are a destination for residents and visitors alike.
It is still a desirable place to live, but it isn’t the bedroom community it used it be. We have a mix of housing types with higher density properties throughout the city, including in our downtown and near our BART stations. Like other cities throughout California, however, we simply do not have enough housing to meet the demand – especially for lower-income households.
Every eight years, California cities are required to update the Housing Element, which is a state-mandated plan for how we meet our housing needs. Based on a Regional Housing Needs Assessment, Concord must plan for an additional 5,000 housing units for 2023-’31.
Our planning team launched the Housing Element update last summer, with the intention of finalizing it in early 2023. The primary focus is to ensure decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing for current and future residents. It contains goals, policies and programs to provide adequate housing for Concordians at all income levels.
As a renter, I understand how challenging it is to find and keep affordable housing. Over the last 30 years, wages have not kept pace with the cost of living in California, which is why it is so much harder for people my age to buy a home today than it was for my parents when they moved to Concord.
When I talk with family members and friends who are now leaving the Bay Area, I hear a common theme: They are looking for a community where they can afford to buy a home.
Updating Concord’s Housing Element to address the current situation is critical to producing and protecting the kind of housing that meets the needs of our current and future residents. We need housing that works for everyone.
One key element of this process is community feedback. I realize that the city has requested a lot of feedback recently on everything from investing federal funding to redistricting, but hearing about your housing needs is even more vital.
Our team hosted a few Town Hall meetings last fall and is conducting a digital survey through March 31. You can access the survey in English and Spanish through the project website at concordhousingelement.org.
Town Hall meetings
The information gathering will continue with two more Town Hall meetings:
6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, on Zoom. Register at concordhousingelement.org.
Noon-2 p.m. Sunday, March 27, at Todos Santos Plaza.
Community members can learn more about the Housing Element update, have conversations with the project team, provide input and feedback to help the City Council make well-informed decisions and find out how to participate as the update continues. Spanish translation will be provided.
Updating the Housing Element is a complex process that relies on a number of data points. Community input is a significant component, and we want to know that our community has had a chance to weigh in.
We know that Concord needs more housing at all affordability levels. Through this process, we will create an action plan for how to get there.
If you would like to receive email updates about the Housing Element, please subscribe at concordhousingelement.org.