RSG COVID-19 Economic Response Team →

Can Jurisdictions Help Subsidize Accessory Dwelling Unit Production As A Solution To The State Housing Crisis?


With an already existing housing crisis compounded by the economic upheaval COVID has brought about for communities across the nation, cities and counties remain resolute in providing more affordable housing options for vulnerable populations.  The County of San Diego is one such jurisdiction looking to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to help address their region’s housing affordability crisis.  The County’s Health and Human Services Agency and Housing and Community Development Services are currently looking to develop program design options for an ADU Subsidy Program in an effort to help encourage the development and use of ADUs in the unincorporated areas of the county.  With the County having already put into place the waiving of permit and development fees for ADUs until 2024 and providing pre-approved ADU building plans, an ADU Subsidy Program (Program) would complement existing efforts by providing a financing mechanism to help address the region’s affordable housing needs.

RSG is very excited the help the County analyze and a develop an ADU Subsidy Program that helps address housing needs in the region! The County hired RSG to perform analysis on existing ADU programs in surrounding jurisdictions in an effort to identify pertinent program requirements, overall success of the program, and best practices that the County may want to consider in the development of their Program.  Using our findings, RSG will determine demand for the Program in unincorporated locations in the county, identifying areas that may be better suited for the Program.  Our analysis will include key elements like infrastructure accessibility (e.g. water and sewer access), general demand, parcel size, and other factors that may be attributable.  Further analysis will also include a study of ADU construction trends, where we hope to determine both traditional and emerging construction trends, and a summation of information obtained from surveying other jurisdictions’ currently employing loan and subsidy programs aimed at assisting homeowners with the construction of ADU units.

While we are in the beginning stages of this project with the County, we look forward to contributing to the advancement of the County’s efforts to expand affordable housing options for those in need.  ADUs can serve as a viable resource in addressing the current housing and economic predicament so many local governments find themselves facing, offering a low-cost option for renters and a source of income for homeowners, and we’re excited to help the County of San Diego explore how an ADU Subsidy Program might benefit their region.  If your jurisdiction is interested in exploring ADU Subsidy Programs as a resource for increasing the availability of affordable housing, reach out to RSG Principal Tara Matthews at [email protected].