Affordable Housing Program

The City of Sonoma’s Affordable Housing Program started in 1992 and has grown to include the oversight of over 100 deed-restricted affordable housing units. Today the program includes prequalification of potential applicants, annual reporting and oversight, and long-term planning.

The City does not build affordable housing units itself. Rather, it partners with developers and affordable housing nonprofits who do the actual building and who manage the application process, rents, etc. Some properties, such as Alta Madrona, are 100% affordable housing units. Other properties have some affordable housing units along with market-rate housing units. Currently, all new developments are required to provide affordable housing units, either by building units as part of the development or paying an in-lieu-of fee.

Want to be notified when affordable units become available in city limits? Submit your email address below to receive an email directly to your inbox when an affordable unit is accepting applications:

  • SUBSCRIBE to receive notifications here:

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, there are almost 400 units of affordable housing within the City limits. Affordable homes are found in nearly all neighborhoods and come in all sizes. Some units are under the oversight of the City of Sonoma and some are being managed by Sonoma County.

  1. Refer to the County’s Affordable Housing Directory List to locate Affordable Housing Properties – please note that listings for ‘Sonoma’ include housing both within Sonoma City limits and also in unincorporated Sonoma County near the City of Sonoma.
  2. Contact the affordable housing properties directly to ask about availability, eligibility, and the application process.
  3. Get and submit the application OR put your name on a waiting list, if available.
  4. For other affordable housing opportunities in Sonoma County, you can go to the County of Sonoma website here.
  5. Sign up to receive updates on affordable housing availability on our Affordable Housing Page.


Each affordable housing property manages availability and placement for its units. You can contact the properties directly to inquire about availability, see the Affordable Housing Directory for contact information. In addition, you can subscribe to receive automatic email notifications when the City is notified of an available unit.



According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Affordable housing is generally defined as housing in which the occupant is paying no more than 30 percent of gross income for housing costs. For homeowners, this includes principal, interest, taxes, and insurance and for renters, it includes rent and utilities.

Affordable housing units have different eligibility requirements based on income and, in some cases, age. The income categories are approximate as follows, subject to variations in household size and other factors:

  • Acutely low income: 15% of Area Median Income (AMI)
  • Extremely low income:  30% of  AMI
  • Very low income:  50% of AMI
  • Median: 60% of AMI
  • Low income:  80% of AMI
  • Median income:  100% of AMI
  • Moderate income: 120% AMI

“Affordable housing cost” for lower-income households is defined in State law as not more than 30 percent of gross household income with variations (Health and Safety Code Section 50052.5).

Contact property managers directly to inquire about specific eligibility requirements for individual units. The California Department of Housing and Community Development publishes income limits for each county annually. Find Sonoma County income and rent limit information on the County of Sonoma website.







The population of California (like the rest of the world) is growing. In order to ensure there is enough housing for everyone to live affordably, the State of California determines projected population numbers then estimates how many housing units must be created to meet the housing demand. The State then calls upon cities to help, allocating each city a number of housing units they must create to support the growing population (this is known as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation).

Simply put, the City of Sonoma, like all other cities in California, is required by the State to create housing units. The number of units changes as the State’s population projections change, but we must always follow their direction or we run the risk of the State revoking our land-use powers – which would mean the State could decide what can and cannot be built here.

Sonoma’s General Plan and Urban Water Management Plan help us project and prepare for future water use, including use associated with new housing units. We plan far in advance and have backup plans in place for droughts, which is a recurring condition in our region. Some of these backup plans include calling on our community to help conserve water, expanding the treatment and distribution of recycled water, and reliance on groundwater supplies when surface water allocations are curtailed.

Additionally, all new development is subject to the latest building code standards, which require water efficiency for indoor and outdoor water uses. The City also imposes a Landscape Water Use Efficiency Ordinance, which minimizes water use for irrigation.

Sonoma County’s three groundwater sustainability agencies, Petaluma Valley, Sonoma Valley and Santa Rosa Plain, released the Final Draft Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) on October 1, 2021. The GSPs assess the conditions of the groundwater basin, analyze the basin’s sustainability over a 50-year period, and identify projects and actions needed to ensure the basin is sustainable by 2042. See the link below for more information:

Groundwater Sustainability Plan | Sonoma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency

Sonoma Valley Affordable Housing Inventory

The map below shows affordable housing developments in the City of Sonoma and also in unincorporated Sonoma Valley. Please note units outside of Sonoma city limits are not included in the City's email notifications.

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