Quick Links to Glossary Terms


3 Ps in Affordable Housing: Production, Preservation, and Protection


Accessory Apartment: A secondary dwelling unit created within or as an extension of an existing dwelling that contains separate bath and kitchen facilities.

Acquisition-Rehab Program: A program, usually run by a nonprofit group or local government, that purchases abandoned or substandard properties, repairs them and converts the property into affordable housing, via multiple models including rental housing, home ownership and shared ownership. Often referred to as “acq-rehab”.

Adaptive Reuse: The conversion of nonresidential properties such as mills, schools, hospitals, military bases, motels, warehouses, office buildings, etc. into residential or mixed uses.

Adoption: Approval or acceptance; usually applied to amendments or resolutions.

Affordable Housing: Housing in which a household spends no more than 30% of its gross monthly income for: (a) rent and utilities; or (b) mortgage-loan principal and interest, property taxes, insurance, utilities, and homeowner association dues (if any).

Affordable Housing Sustainable Communities: AHSC focuses and funds land-use, housing, transportation and land preservation projects to support infill and compact development that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Amendment: Formal proposal to change the language of a bill after it has been introduced.

American Disabilities Act: The ADA is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination of individuals with disabilities in all places open to the general public.

Annual Homelessness Assessment Report: An annual report from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), estimating the extent and nature of homelessness in the United States using Homeless Management Information System data.

Area Median Income: AMI is the median income of each county or adjacent counties based on all wage earners in the area, published separately by HUD and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD</span.), to determine household eligibility for various federal, State, and State-governed housing programs, and updated annually.

Assembly Bill: AB is a draft proposed law introduced by an Assembly Member.

Assembly: ASM, is the lower house of the California Legislature, consisting of 80 members who are each elected for a term of 2 years.

Assemblymember: ASM, an elected member of the California State Assembly.

Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee: AHCD is a standing policy committee of the California Assembly. It’ primary jurisdictions are areas relating to housing and community development, including building standards, common interest developments, eminent domain, farm worker housing, homeless programs, housing discrimination, housing finance (including redevelopment), housing, natural disaster assistance and preparedness, land use planning, mobile homes/manufactured housing, redevelopment: housing, and rent control. AHCD is commonly referred to as the “Assembly Housing Committee”.

Assessment of Fair Housing: AFH is a planning process required by HUD, for local governments and public housing agencies (PHAs) to take actions to overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination.


Bill Analysis: An analysis from legislative staff describing the history and impact of the legislation and arguments of the groups supporting and opposing the bill.

Below Market Rate: BMR is a title commonly attached to local programs that make housing available to lower- and moderate-income households at costs below prevailing market rates. The term can include affordable units produced under an inclusionary housing scheme or produced with subsidy loans.

Bill Author: The person (usually a legislator) who presents a bill or resolution for consideration; may be joined by others, who are known as coauthors. See also: introducer, patron, sponsor.

Bill Author: The person (usually a legislator) who presents a bill or resolution for consideration; may be joined by others, who are known as coauthors. See also: introducer, patron, sponsor.

Bill History: Chronological listing of legislative activity for each bill (where the bill was heard, if amended, approved, etc.)

Bill Sponsor: The person (usually a legislator) who presents a bill or resolution for consideration; may be joined by others, who are known as cosponsor. See also: author, introducer, patron.

Bill Status: Current location of a bill and pending action.

Bill Text: Complete text of bills with annotations to identify material added/removed due to amendments.

Brownfields: An abandoned, idled, or underused property where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived contamination.

Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency: BCSH assists and educates consumers regarding the licensing, regulation, and enforcement of professionals and businesses, as well as housing in California.

Building Equity and Growth in Neighborhoods Program: The BEGIN program reduces local regulatory barriers to affordable homeownership housing, and provides down-payment assistance loans to qualifying first-time low- and moderate-income homebuyers.

CalHOME: First time homebuyer program, including mortgage assistance, down payment grants, and sweat-equity programs.

California Air Resources Board: CARB, which exists under the California Environmental Protection Agency, oversees all air pollution control efforts and maintains health-based air quality standards.

CalWORKS: California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids

California Climate Investments: CCIs (from Cap-and-Trade Funds), formerly GGRF, is a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health. Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) is funded through cciS.

California Debt Limit Allocation Committee: CDLAC administers the allocation of the private activity bond “cap” and ensures that the total bonds issued does not exceed the limits established under federal law.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: CDCR manages the State of California’s prison system with an emphasis on public safety, rehabilitation, community reintegration and restorative justice.

California Department of Housing and Community Development: HCD works on increasing affordable housing supply, preserving affordable homes and protecting mobile and manufactured homes. It is located with BCSH.

California Department of Social Services: DSS provides administration and oversight of programs that affect foster children and youth, children and families receiving aid through (CalWORKs), adults and elderly in licensed community care facilities and aged, blind and disabled recipients requiring In-Home Supportive Services or Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI-SSP) assistance.

California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program: CESH provides funds for a variety of activities to assist persons experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

California Emergency Solutions Grant: ESG funding supports rapid rehousing, emergency shelter, and other services to address homelessness throughout the State.

California Environmental Quality Act: CEQA generally requires state and local government agencies to inform decision makers and the public about the potential environmental impacts of proposed projects, and to reduce those environmental impacts to the extent feasible.

California Health and Human Services Agency: HHS oversees departments and offices that provide a wide range of services in the areas of health care, mental health, public health, alcohol and drug treatment, income assistance, social services and assistance to people with disabilities.

California Housing Down Payment Assistance Program: CHDAP offers applicants a deferred-payment junior loan up to 3% of the purchase price/appraised value of the mortgaged property in order to help make the down payment or pay the closing costs.

California Housing Finance Agency: The CalHFA creates and finances programs focused on low to moderate income California renters and homeowners.

California Office of Emergency Services: OES oversees and coordinates emergency preparedness, response, recovery and homeland security activities within the state of California.

California Office of Planning and Research: OPR studies future research and planning needs, fosters goal-driven collaboration, and delivers guidance to state partners and local communities, with a focus on land use and community development, climate risk and resilience, and high road economic development.

California Tax Credit Allocation Committee: TCAC enables investment of private capital into low income housing projects by allocating federal and state tax credits to developers. TCAC also ensures that developers meet requirements of the program and the continued affordability of developments.

California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids: CalWORKS provides temporary financial assistance and employment-focused services to families with minor children, who have income and property below State maximum limits for their family size.

Chronically Homeless: A chronically homeless person is defined by HUD as an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continually homeless for a year or more or has had at least four (4) episodes of homelessness in the past three (3) years.

Coalition: Usually a group of two or more organizations that are working together jointly on a specific issue or cause.

Community Based Organizations: CBOs focus on improving the general physical characteristics of a community.

Community Development: A term broadly used to describe any efforts to improve housing, infrastructure, education, social services and employment in lower income areas.

Community Development Block Grant: CDBG is a federal program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs.

Community Development Corporation: CDC is a loosely defined term for a nonprofit organization that undertakes commercial or residential real estate development. It usually, but not always, indicates some targeting of efforts to a low-income neighborhood.

Community Development Financial Institution: CDFIs are primarily banks and credit unions that focus on serving people in low-income communities that have historically been locked out of the financial system.

Community Land Trusts: CLTs are a form of shared ownership, in which the land is owned by a nonprofit, community-based organization, tenant association, government agency, or other group, and the land is used for community needs. Common uses of land in CLTs are affordable rental housing, affordable homeownership, and supportive housing, as well as community gardens, local businesses and community centers. In the CLT model, ownership of buildings is separate from ownership of the land.

Consent Calendar: A file in a Committee hearing containing a bill or bills that the entire Committee has consented to pass, without debate, to another committee or the full Assembly or Senate.

Continuum of Care: CoC refers to a community plan to organize and deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and maximum self-sufficiency. It includes action steps to end homelessness and prevent a return to homelessness. It also refers to the system of services that help people move from homelessness to housing.

Coordinated Entry Systems: CES facilitates the coordination and management of resources and services through the crisis response system.

Cost Allocation Plan: CAP is a tool that provides a set of methods and procedures that an organization uses to apportion costs to various programs, grants, contracts and agreements.

Council of Governments: COGs, All cities in the County bear responsibility for land use planning, housing policy and development and essential municipal services.

Criminal Justice: CJ a system including governmental agencies and courts that seeks to enforce laws and deter harms by imposing sanctions and penalties, and sometimes may involve less punitive measures that include rehabilitation.


Department of Health Care Services: DHCS administers a variety of mental health programs for children and youth, and adults.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion: DEI, is an intersectional approach that considers race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language interaction.

Domestic Violence: DV and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other.


Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund: ERAF is a local tax revenues from cities, counties, and special districts used to reduce its obligation to the schools.

Emergency Housing: Emergency housing is a temporary shelter with services that are designed to facilitate the transition from sleeping in places not meant for human habitation to appropriate housing for homeless individuals and families.

Emergency Housing and Assistance Program: EHAP is missioned to fund emergency and transitional housing The funds are to assist housing programs with their operational, small capital costs, and for the expansion of their bed capacity and/or supportive services offered to clients.

Emergency Shelter: An emergency shelter is a short-term shelter providing services designed to facilitate homeless individuals and families transition from sleeping in places not meant for human habitation to appropriate housing.

Environmental Impact Report: EIR is a document prepared pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) which evaluates potentially significant impacts on the environment resulting from the physical development of land.

Equitable Transit–Oriented Development: eTOD is new development with an explicit commitment to achieve equity goals through dedicated strategies that ensure low-income residents and residents of color benefit from – and are not displaced by – the new development.

Extremely Low-Income: ELI households earn 30% or less of AMI, by household size.


Fair Market Rent: FMRs are primarily used to determine payment standard amounts for the Housing Choice Voucher program, to determine initial renewal rents for some expiring project-based Section 8 contracts, to determine initial rents for housing assistance payment.

Federal Emergency Management Agency: FEMA is meant to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the Nation from all hazards, including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters, by leading and supporting the Nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation.

Federal Housing Administration: FHA provides mortgage insurance on single-family, multifamily, manufactured home, and hospital loans made by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States and its territories.

Federal Transportation Improvement Program: FTIP is a federally mandated four year program of all surface transportation projects that will receive federal funding or are subject to a federally required action.

First Reading: The first presentation of a bill or its title for consideration.

General Obligation Bond: GO Bond is a common type of municipal bond that is secured by a state or local government’s pledge to use legally-available resources, including tax revenues, to repay bondholders. There are two main types of municipal bonds: general obligation bonds and revenue bonds. General obligation bonds are used to finance public projects like parks and schools that don’t actually make any money. Rather, their purpose is to serve the public good.

Greenhouse Gas: GHG is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range, causing the greenhouse effect.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund: GGRF was to provide formal and on-the-job training and work experience to complete projects that aid in reducing Greenhouse Gas.

Grandfathering: Specific situations that are allowed to continue while a law would make changes henceforth.

Gut and Amend: When amendments to a bill remove the current contents in their entirety and replace them with different provisions.


Hearing: Public discussion and appearance on a proposal or bill; usually scheduled by a committee.

Held In Committee: A bill fails to get sufficient votes to pass out of committee.

Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council: HCFC

Homeless Emergency Aid Program: HEAP provides direct assistance to cities and counties to address the homelessness crisis throughout California.

Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing: A federal act which amended and reauthorized the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. The legislation increased priority on homeless families with children, significantly increased resources to prevent homelessness, continued to provide incentives for developing permanent supportive housing, and granted rural communities greater flexibility.

Homeless Prevention Initiative: The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $100-million plan to reduce the concentration of homeless services in Skid Row by establishing five centers across the county that would provide temporary shelter and social services for homeless persons.

Homeless Management Information System: HMIS is a computerized data collection system designed to capture client information over time on the characteristics, service needs and accomplishments of homeless persons. HUD requires all CoC applicants to demonstrate progress in implementing HMIS.

Housing Authority: HA is a general term used for a PHA, which is a government entity authorized to administer HUD housing programs.

Housing Choice Vouchers: The Housing Choice Voucher program (formerly called Section 8) is a form of subsidized affordable housing in which families who qualify (usually by having an income that is 50% or less than the AMI) may be provided with government funding to pay a portion of their rent in standard, market-rate housing.

Housing Code: Standards in state law that ensure that maintenance and improvement of housing meets accepted standards and is adequate for occupancy.

Housing Element: The part of a city’s or a county’s general plan that details how the jurisdiction will meet the projected demand for new housing development.

Housing First: A homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing people experiencing homelessness with permanent housing as quickly as possible, and then providing supportive services as needed.

Housing for a Healthy California: HHC creates supportive housing for individuals who are recipients of or eligible for health care.

Housing Trust Fund: HTF is an affordable housing production program that complements existing federal, state and local efforts to increase and preserve the supply of decent, safe, and sanitary affordable housing for extremely low- and very low-income households, including homeless families.


Incentivized buildings: The state and city often provide tax incentives and tax exemptions for developers and owners who dedicate a certain portion (usually 20%) of their units to affordable housing.

Integrated Services for Mentally Ill Parolees: ISMIP provides individuals on parole (parolees) with mental health and housing services as they transition back into society.


Joe Serna Jr Farmworker Housing Grant Programs: FWHG finances the new construction, rehabilitation, and acquisition of owner-occupied and rental units for agricultural workers, with a priority for lower income households.




Land Use and Finance: LUF is Housing California’s policy team that focuses on issues impacting affordable housing development, such as zoning codes, Housing Element regulations, and financing tools provided by Federal and State governments.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning or Queer, Intersex and Asexual or Allied: LGBTQIA

Local Housing Trust Fund Program: LHTFP provides matching funds to local and regional housing trust funds dedicated to the creation, rehabilitation, or preservation of affordable housing, transitional housing and emergency shelters.

Low-Income: LI households earning between 50% and 80% of AMI, by household size.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance ProgramP: LIHEAP, a reduction in an entity’s federal and/or state tax obligation granted in exchange for investing equity in lower-income housing developments.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, or Tax Credits: LIHTC are a reduction in an entity’s federal and/or state tax obligation granted in exchange for investing equity in lower-income housing developments.


Market rate housing: Market rate housing is housing that is available on the private market, not subsidized or limited to any specific income level.

Mental Health Services Act: MHSA expands and transforms California’s county mental health service systems.

Metropolitan Planning Organizations: MPO is the policy board of an organization created and designated to carry out the metropolitan transportation planning process.

Ministerial Approval: The mandatory approval of a land use proposal if it meets objective, written criteria without any ability of the decision-maker to apply independent judgement.

Multifamily Housing Program: MHP assists the new construction, rehabilitation and preservation of permanent and transitional rental housing for lower income households.


NHTF: NHTF is the first new housing resource since 1974 targeted to the building, rehabilitating, preserving, and operating rental housing for extremely low-income people.

National Low Income Housing Coalition: NLIHC is focused on ensuring the lowest-income and most marginalized people in our country have safe, accessible, and affordable homes.

Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing: NOAH is rental housing that is not subject to an affordability restriction but is nonetheless relatively affordable because of age, location, size, or type of construction.

Notice of Funding Availability: NOFA is issued by a governmental body, foundation, etc. which is looking for organizations or individuals to submit proposals in response to a funding opportunity, generally a grant.

Not In My BackYard: NIMBY is a term that refers to people who may express sympathy for a given change in their city but say they don’t want it to happen in their neighborhood.

No Place Like Home: NPLH invests in the development of permanent supportive housing for persons who are in need of mental health services and are experiencing homelessness, chronic homelessness, or who are at risk of chronic homelessness.




Permanent Supportive Housing: PSH is housing that combines non-time-limited affordable housing assistance with wrap-around health care and other supportive services for people who have experienced homelessness or are otherwise unstably housed, as well as other people with disabilities.

Point-In-Time Count: The PIT count is a HUD-mandated biennial count of persons experiencing homelessness on a specified day of the year intended to provide a snapshot report on the extent of homelessness.

Political Data Inc: PDI provides data and an electoral campaign platform used for phone banking, canvassing, data collection, voter registration, events management, and targeting.

Public Housing Authority: PHA is a local quasi-governmental agency that typically owns and manages public housing units and may administer a Section 8 program.




Rapid-Rehousing: Rapid-Rehousing and prevention services are effective intervention methods for individuals and families who have recently become homeless or who are at risk of homelessness.

Re–development agency: RDA is a government subdivision created to improve blighted, depressed, deteriorated, or otherwise economically depressed areas; to assist property owners displaced by redevelopment; and to issue bonds or other instruments necessary to fund the programs.

Regional Housing Need Allocation: RHNA is the State-mandated process to identify the total number of housing units (by affordability level) that each jurisdiction must accommodate in its Housing Element.

Regional Transportation Plan: RTP is a long-term blueprint of a region’s transportation system.

Regional Transportation Planning Agency: RTPA guides, maintains, and advocates for California’s regional transportation planning process and ensures federal and state legislation, policies, and priorities are met.

Rent-burdened: households spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent.”

Residents United Network: RUN is a housing resident advocate member.


Senate Bill: SB is a draft proposed law introduced by a Senator.

Senate: Sen, is the upper house of the California legislature consisting of 40 elected members.

Senator: Sen, elected members of the upper house of the California legislature.

Single Room Occupancy: SROs are private rooms that contain either food preparation or sanitary facilities, or both, that are designed for occupancy by a single individual.

Southern California Association of Governments SCAG develops long- range regional plans and strategies with the goal to provide for efficient movement of people, goods and information; enhance economic growth and international trade; and improve the environment and quality of life.

State Constitutional Amendment: SCA In California, a State Constitutional Amendment can be initiated by the public, by a two-thirds vote of the California Legislature, or by a constitutional convention.

Stakeholders: A person, group, organization, or system who affects or can be affected by an advocacy or organizing action.

Strategic Growth Council: SGC coordinates and works with public agencies, communities, and stakeholders to achieve sustainability, equity, economic prosperity, and quality of life.

Status of Bill: The progress of a bill at any given time in the legislative process. It can be in committee, on the calendar, in the other house, etc.

Sunset: Expiration date of a measure.

Supportive Housing Program: SHP provides funds for supportive services, rent subsidies and/or housing operating subsidies and for the development and operation of programs that help homeless persons transition from homelessness to living as independently as possible.

Sustainable Communities Strategy: SCS are long-range plans, which align transportation, housing, and land use decisions toward achieving GHG emissions reduction targets set by CARB.

Sustainable Communities for All: SC4A advocates for our climate funds to be invested in innovative, integrated, and inclusive solutions at the community level.

Suspense Files: Bills considered at one hearing after the state budget has been prepared and the committee has a better sense of available revenue. No testimony is presented – author or witness – at the Suspense File hearing.


Tax Increment Financing: TIF is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement project.

Trailer Bill: Legislation that implements specific changes to the law in order to enact the State Budget. Generally, a separate “trailer bill” is needed for each major area of budget appropriation, such as transportation, human services, education, revenue, etc. These bills are generally negotiated as part of the entire budget package each fiscal year.

Transition–Age Youth: TAY are young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four who are in transition from state custody or foster care environments and are at-risk.

Transformative Climate Communities Program: TCC funds development and infrastructure projects that achieve major environmental, health, and economic benefits in California’s most disadvantaged communities.

Transitional Housing TH is a general refers to a time-limited housing programs that are intended to help households ready themselves to move to permanent housing. These programs are limited to homeless households and are intended to serve households for no more than 2 years and usually have specific supportive services as a part of the program.

Transit–Oriented Development: TOD is a type of urban development that maximizes the amount of residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transport.


U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: HUD is a federal department created in 1965 to increase homeownership, support community development and housing free from discrimination. Responsible for the implementation and administration of government housing and urban development programs including community planning and development, housing production and mortgage credit (FHA), equal opportunity in housing, research, and technology.

Urgency Clause: Language in a bill which states the bill will take effect immediately upon enactment. A 2/3 vote is required for passage.


Vehicle Miles Travelled: VMT is a measure used in transportation planning for a variety of purposes.

Veto: An action taken by the governor to prevent the enactment of an item of an appropriation bill; also may be called line item veto.

Very Low-Income: VLI is a term used for a household earning between 30% and 50% of AMI.






Yes In My BackYard: YIMBY is a term that refers to people who support new development in the area where they live, typically in order to increase the availability of housing.


Zoning: A body of regulations adopted by a city or a county that governs land use, dividing up the jurisdiction’s territory into residential, commercial, industrial, and other districts, in which various uses are allowed by right or with the issuance of a use permit, and in which standards for such physical aspects as setbacks from property lines, building heights, and parking ratios are set forth.