U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


The City of Chico is located in the northern reaches of the California Central Valley situated between the Sacramento River and the volcanic buttes which form the edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills. The City of Chico was incorporated in 1871. Chico has grown from an individual rancho to the center of economic activity of the Tri-County area, which includes Butte, Glenn and Tehama Counties. Currently, an estimated 46 percent of Butte County jobs are located in the Chico Urban Area, and Chico captures about half of Butte County's retail sales, largely because of regional malls and discount retailers that have located in the community. Chico is a major medical and education center serving the entire north-eastern part of California.

Action Plan

The City of Chico Consolidated Plan presents a strategic vision for housing and community development in this unique area. It includes a One-Year Action Plan for spending approximately $1.5 million of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME) funds. These funds will be spent on housing programs and projects and community improvement activities.

Citizen Participation

The City of Chico is the lead agency responsible for overseeing the development of the Consolidated Plan. The City of Chico made a significant effort to involve the public in the Consolidated Plan process. In developing the needs section of the Consolidated Plan the City conferred with social service agencies regarding the housing needs of children, elderly persons, persons with disabilities and homeless persons. The methods of involving citizens in the Consolidated Plan process included development of informational material on the Consolidated Plan process, holding noticed public information meetings specifically on the Consolidated Plan, presentation to open meetings of the City's Finance Committee on the development of the Consolidated Plan, conducting two formal noticed public hearings on the Plan and publication of a summary of the Consolidated Plan with a 30 day citizen comment period between the two public hearings. The Plan was adopted by the Chico City Council on May 2, 1995.


The City of Chico was incorporated in 1872 and operates under a City Council-City Manager form of government. The City's 1995 population was listed at 48,442 persons. The Community of Chico is often considered the combination of the jurisdictional boundaries of he City and its immediately adjacent unincorporated areas. This community is referred to as the Chico Urban Area and its population in 1995 was 88,227 persons. Within the City limits Chico's population growth between 1970 and 1980 was 35%. Between 1980 and 1990 it increased by 51%. For the twenty year period, this growth very nearly equals an annual growth rate of 3.7%, resulting in more than doubling of the City population during this time.

Due to the influence of the large student population within the City limits, the median age is 24.6 years (state-wide median age is 31.5 years and for Butte County, 33.8 years). The majority of Chico's 1990 population was white (89%), 8 % were Hispanic, and 3% were other minorities.

The Median Family Income for the City of Chico is $32,100. Forty percent of all households in Chico earn less than 80% of the median income, twenty five percent of all households earn less than 50% of the median income. There are no concentrations of racial and ethnic minorities in Chico.



Chico's economy is quite diversified. The largest number of jobs are in the service and retail trade sectors, accounting for nearly 47 percent of the jobs in the Chico Urban Area. Government and education (19%) and manufacturing (17 %) are the next largest sectors. Unemployment levels in Chico are approximately 9 percent which is slightly higher than the Butte County as a whole.

Housing Needs

The critical housing needs in the City of Chico are 1) provision of affordable rental housing to very low income families (incomes <50% of median); 2) increasing the affordability of owner occupant housing to low income households (incomes <80% of median) and; 3) rehabilitating the existing housing stock.

Over 80% of very low income households in Chico are overpaying for housing and experience other housing problems. Large families experience the greatest housing need of very low income households followed by small related households and elderly households.

Nearly 60% of low income renter and owner households are overpaying for housing and experience housing problems. The most significant need in the low income group is families in rental housing followed by elderly renters.

Housing Market Conditions

The City of Chico had 16,295 housing units in 1990, 95% of which were occupied. Of the occupied units, 33% were owner units and 67% were rental units. The vacancy rate maintained an average of 5% throughout the 1980's and into the early 1990's as construction has kept up with population increases.

Between 1985 and 1991, 2942 multi-family housing units were added to the inventory as compared to on 1406 single family units. The construction of student housing is partially responsible for this. There has been a drastic decline in the number of multi-family units produced through 1994. All of the multi-family units produced in 1992- 1994 were subsidized housing projects.

Based on a housing condition survey conducted in 1991, 18% or 896 single family housing units were substandard. Nearly all of the units were suitable for rehabilitation.

Affordable Housing Needs

The rental housing market is primarily serving the need of households earning more than 80% of the median income. The rental housing needs of households earning between 60% and 80% of the local median income is met through the combination of older rental stock and assisted units.

A multi-family market study conducted in 1991 indicated an unmet need for 2,839 housing units for very low income households. Since the rental housing market cannot provide affordable units for very low income households there is a need for additional subsidized housing units and rental assistance. There have been 184 assisted rental units produced since 1991.

The average residential sales price increased 55% between 1986 and 1991 when the average sales price for a three bedroom home was $132,572. Since 1991 sales prices have dropped. Currently, the median sales price for a three bedroom home is $124,000 which is out of range for low income homebuyers. Low income homebuyers need downpayment assistance in order to buy their first home. A local non-profit housing corporation provides new single family homes to low income families by developing "self help" subdivisions in conjunction with significant subsidies.

Homeless Needs

The City of Chico conducted a count of the homeless in Butte County in 1994. The study revealed that there were 141 homeless in the City of Chico. Over 51% of the homeless are single adults, 40% are in homeless families and 6% are homeless youth. The majority of the homeless are male (72%) and 78% of all homeless are Caucasian.

Chico has a 14 unit homeless transitional shelter for families where the maximum stay is one year. The local Salvation Army operates an emergency shelter at the National Guard Armory during the winter months.

Since the availability of the Armory is being threatened there will be a critical need for an emergency shelter in the City. There is also a need for permanent supportive for homeless and non-homeless with special needs, such as the frail elderly, persons with disabilities and persons with HIV/AIDS.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

Chico has over 2,000 housing units with some type of Federal, State or local assistance. The Housing Authority of the County of Butte has 151 units of public housing and 1,026 of Section 8 Vouchers and Certificates in their inventory. There are currently over 1,800 families on the Section 8 waiting list. The Housing Authority has prepared a physical needs assessment as part of its Comprehensive Grant Program application. The Program outlines a five year improvement program with a total cost of $1.7 million.

The Section 8 units consist of 35% one bedroom units, 46% two bedroom units, 16% three bedroom units and 3% four bedroom units.

Service providers for special needs population indicated the following needs, in addition to affordable housing:

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Barriers to the development of affordable housing can be divided into two general categories, governmental and non-governmental constraints. As part of the General Plan process, the City conducted and in-depth analysis of the effects of government regulation on the cost of affordable housing including land use controls, building regulations, on and off site improvement requirements , costs of permits and fees, availability of public services, project review process and Federal and State actions including Article 34. Article 34 of the California State Constitution can cause a constraint to development to affordable housing unless the community submits a referendum of the voters allowing the development of affordable units. The City continues to work toward increasing the efficiency of the development review process.

Fair Housing

The City is working with other Fair Housing Organizations in Chico to develop an analysis of the impediments to fair housing choice. The study includes a review of the Fair Housing complaints through the State Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, HUD, the Housing Authority and Fair Housing Organizations. In addition the City will review its building, occupancy and safety codes that may affect the availability of housing for low income persons, minorities, and persons with disabilities. The study will include actions the City will take to address identified problems.

Lead-Based Paint

The City performed an assessment of lead hazards based on the methodology provided by the National Center for Lead-Safe Housing. The results of the assessment are listed on the Lead Hazard Worksheets in the Appendix. The assessment indicates that there are over 4,000 housing units in the City of Chico with lead based paint. The figures indicate that over 90% of the houses with lead-based paint are rental households.

The Butte County Health Department reported only 3 cases of elevated levels of lead in children in the last five years. None of these cases were in the City of Chico. Butte County Mental Health through the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program conducts routine blood testing for children. The staff nurse estimated that approximately 45% of the low and moderate income children in Butte County are screened in their blood testing program.

Community Development Needs

Many of the Low Income neighborhoods in south Chico lack adequate storm drainage and have antiquated sewer lines. The City's capital projects budgets include planned infrastructure improvements to neighborhoods in low income census tracts. Since local funds are limited many of the projects are on hold until funding is available.

The City of Chico has had an active Community Organization funding program since 1985. The City funds an average of 40 community organizations each year for a total of over $300,000. Historically, the City has used general funds as well as CDBG funds for community organization funding. CDBG funding is limited to those agencies that provided needed services to low income individuals and families. Services include meals for the elderly and homeless, funding for a women's shelter, counseling services, legal aid and day care for low income families.

The City has recognized that one of the key elements to a vital economy is the provision of employment for a range of income categories. The availability of jobs to low income City residents is critical to the local economy as well as to reduce poverty.


Housing and Community Development Objectives and Priorities

The most serious housing problems are housing affordability for low and very-low income households, availability of rental housing for the elderly, provision of transitional shelter for homeless families and availability of housing for low income homebuyers. The City's General Plan contains programs setting out a goal to assist 607 very low income households through a variety of rental assistance and new construction programs.

Community development objectives include providing funding for improvement of infrastructure in low income neighborhoods, providing funding for community organizations that serve low income residents, and capitalizing a revolving loan fund for small business and micro-enterprise development.

Housing Priorities

Priorities for affordable housing include increasing the supply of affordable housing through developer assistance, expansion of tenant assistance programs and leveraging the City's limited housing resources with State, Federal and private assistance. In addition, the City wants to increase the tenure rate for owner occupied housing through direct subsidies to low income buyers and assistance to developers of "self-help" housing. Preservation of existing single family home through the City's Housing Rehabilitation Program continues to be a priority.

Priorities for assisting the homeless include provision of transitional housing for homeless families, provision of services for the homeless, and providing support networks and services to persons at risk of homelessness.

Non-housing Community Development Needs

Priorities for non-housing community development needs include improvement of infrastructure in low income neighborhoods including replacement of sewer collection systems, installation of storm drain systems and improvement of streets.

Priorities for economic development activities include the development of a CDBG funded economic development revolving loan fund designed to assist businesses to create or retain jobs for low income persons.

Through the Community Organization Program the City has prioritized the provision of public services to low income households including meals programs, counseling services, affordable day care and shelter for victims of domestic violence. In addition the City funds an ongoing Fair Housing Program that provides fair housing education and referrals for tenants and landlords.

Anti-poverty Strategy

The City has continued to support the RDA funded and the CDBG funded Economic Development Programs as a strategy to create and/or retain jobs for low income residents. The City believes that the availability of jobs is the most important ingredient in reducing poverty.

Housing and Community Development Resources

The primary resource for funding housing and community development programs and projects include CDBG, HOME, Redevelopment Agency Funds, Section 8, Emergency Shelter Program (through State) and the Supportive Housing Program. The City is eligible to receive a Fiscal Year consolidated formula allocation of $1,314,000. The CDBG Allocation is $944,000. The HOME entitlement allocation is $370,000. The State Department of Housing is providing a supplementary allocation of $130,000 of HOME funds for a total HOME allocation of $500,000. The City will be required to provide a 25% non-Federal match for the HOME funds. The City plans to match the HOME funds with $125,000 of Chico Redevelopment Agency Funds.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

The City will continue to conduct a program of regular Community Meetings to educate the general public on the functions of the local government and to allow citizens an opportunity to express the needs of families, individuals and neighborhoods. Additionally, the City will continue to conduct joint meetings of the local Housing Authority and the City Council regarding affordable housing. Housing Office Staff attend meetings of the Non-Profit Network in order to keep in touch with the needs of social service providers.


The City of Chico One-Year Action Plan outlines the proposed use of approximately $1.5 million in CDBG and HOME funds in addition to program income. The funds will be spent on a variety of housing and community development activities including:

CDBG/HOME Proposed Projects 1995-96

Activity Name & DescriptionProject LocationCDBG Funds
FY 1995-96
HOME Funds
FY 1995-96
FY 1995-96
1) Housing RehabilitationCitywide$ 100,0000$ 100,000
2) Temp. Relocation (Rehab)Citywide0
3) Public Services (15%) *Citywide$ 145,000
$ 145,000
4) Public Improvements16th Street$ 350,000
$ 350,000
5) Community Facilities2233 Fair Street$ 12,000
$ 12,000
6) Property AcquisitionFair Street/20th$ 125,000
$ 125,000
7) Economic DevelopmentCommercial/Indus.$ 50,000
$ 50,000
8) Fair HousingHousing Office$ 10,000
$ 10,000
9) Program AdministrationHousing Office$ 82,000$ 30,000$ 112,000
10) New Housing Constr.651 E. 20th Street
$ 250,000$ 250,000
11) Mortgage Sub (<80%)Citywide
$ 200,000$ 200,000
12) ADA ComplianceCity Facilities$ 50,000
$ 50,000
13) Planning (Survey)South Campus$ 50,000
$ 50,000
14) Homeless PreventionCitywide0$ 20,000$ 20,000
** $ 974,000$ 500,000$ 1,474,000

** includes $30,000 in anticipated Program Income

Lead Agencies

The City of Chico is the lead agency responsible for administration and implementation of the housing and community development programs set forth in the Annual Plan including the housing rehabilitation program, the first time homebuyers program and the public improvements. The Economic Development activity will be implemented by the Tri-County Economic Development Corporation. The Public Services will be carried out through local non-profit community organizations.

Housing Goals

The City of Chico's housing goals for the first year include increasing the supply of affordable housing through the housing rehabilitation program, new construction of owner occupied housing units, downpayment assistance for first time homebuyers, provision of transitional shelter for homeless families, increasing housing choice for low income and minority families and preventing homelessness for at-risk households.


MAP 1 depicts the area of Chico, California.

MAP 2 depicts the region in the vicinity of Chico.

MAP 3 depicts selected points of interest for the City.

MAP 4 depicts the low and moderate income areas within the City.

MAP 5 depicts the areas where minority populations are concentrated within the City.

MAP 6 depicts relative unemployment within the City.

MAP 7 depicts the project area within the City.

For more information regarding the City of Chico's Consolidated Plan, please call David Burkland, Housing Specialist, at (916) 895-4862.
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