SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- We're just days away from a deadline to help create millions of new homes across California.
But around 20 Bay Area communities might not make that deadline on January 31.
Years of strongly-worded letters calling on cities and counties to keep up with housing needs hasn't worked.
Now, California's department of housing and community development is switching strategies: obey state orders or face serious penalties.
And that leaves some Bay Area cities only days to submit plans that comply with state wishes.
"The housing need in California is still really great," HCD's Melinda Coy said. "And as a result, it has become more important that cities and counties hold to their commitments that they're making to their own communities so that we can get the housing built."
Last January, Bay Area cities and counties submitted their plans to meet state housing needs.
About 20 jurisdictions still need to adopt a state approved housing plan.
"It's really critical that the cities and counties basically set the table for development to occur," Coy said. "That's through their own powers to zone, also through their abilities to approve housing developments and facilitate their development."
In San Jose, leaders have been working to make changes needed to meet the housing element.
The council spent their most recent meeting racing against the clock to get plans in place and sent to the state.
The city's planning department told us their housing element plan was approved by the state Monday afternoon.
Other cities await HCD's decision as the deadline nears.
"Right now, we're evaluating those jurisdictions that actually have had to do those rezonings to make the land available to make sure that they've actually have completed their commitments," Coy said.
If cities are not approved, they may lose state funding eligibility and other state-imposed consequences escalating over time.
Developers may also bypass cities, by invoking a so-called "builders remedy" to get housing plans approved in areas that don't meet state compliance.
The state is serious about housing and it's time for cities to get on board.
You can learn which jurisdictions are compliant with state regulations by visiting the HCD website here.
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