Manager/Director of Planning & Investigations
(title and salary dependant on experience)

CalHDF is a non-profit housing organization that uses legal advocacy and education to hold cities accountable and get housing built. CalHDF has a housing monitoring and intake system to track housing policy changes and development throughout the state. People across California reach out to us when cities and counties break state law and put up illegal barriers to housing, and we proactively monitor local policy and housing development permitting. 

If you have a love of housing, deciphering municipal code, analyzing state law, doing the research, and being a stand-up person who helps people who are frustrated by their cities, we can use your help! This is a great opportunity to hone your plan check skills, stay up to speed on state legislation, create educational materials, and just help get housing built.

CalHDF is a small office consisting of three full-time staff and two interns. We are currently a remote-only office, but plan on getting back to a Downtown Oakland office in mid- to late 2024. At that time, we will offer a flexible “some days in-office and some days remote” hybrid style of work.

About the Position

The Director or Manager (depending on experience) of Planning and Investigations will report directly to the Executive Director but will also work closely with the Director of External Affairs and Legal Team, and be responsible for managing Planning Interns.

The Planning Team will consist of this position and the Planning Intern, with support from the Executive Director.

Summary of Essential Job Functions:


  • Review city council and planning commission agendas throughout the state, focusing on areas with the greatest housing shortage, segregation, and inequality.
  • Review and comment on housing development entitlements for compliance with the HAA, Permit Streamlining Act, and SB 330.
  • Review and comment on local ordinances to implement state laws.
  • Review other local policy changes for compliance (impact fees, housing element, etc).

Intake & Investigations

  • Act as the first point of contact to parties who reach out to us for assistance regarding projects suspected to be stalled illegally.
  • Review and respond to inquiries from developers, homeowners, and concerned members of the public relating to state housing law compliance.
  • Act as first review of requests for assistance to gauge general merits of inquiries, which may include analyzing if they are covered by state laws, looking up parcels in questions, checking local zoning and specific/general plans .
  • Investigate state housing law compliance with ministerial permitting requirements (ADUs, SB 35, etc…) through Public Records Act requests, engaging permit applicants, interacting with city planning staff and officials at the state level.
  • Escalate cases to Executive and Legal Team when lawsuits seem necessary.

Research and Education

  • Work with Director of External Affairs to create educational materials for homeowners, small developers, and governmental agencies to more easily understand and navigate current and proposed changes to housing law.
  • Work with legal team to organize and conduct educational events to empower the public, promote CalHDF’s work and encourage public engagement on housing law and policy.
  • Work with CalHDF staff to coordinate with partners and elected officials on policy proposals and new legislation.
  • Research and prepare support material for educational and fundraising around changing housing prices, demographics, and general trends across California.
  • Work with CalHDF staff to create materials around trends being seen through monitoring and investigation work to release as periodic updates to donors and the general public.


  • Actively track the number of open and closed cases to create regular reports for the Executive Director, Director of External Affairs, the Board of Directors, and donors.
  • Keep track of local and state legislative proposals affecting housing production and flag and monitor those of interest to CalHDF’s mission.


Experience and Qualifications 

  • Bachelors/Masters in Political Science, City/Urban Planning, Data Science, Legal Studies/Law or related field preferred, but can be substituted for directly relevant experience.
  • At least 2 years of experience in local government, planning, architecture, or development. 
  • Experience and knowledge of housing policy and law at the state and local levels and a passion to get more housing built.
  • Experience with and ability to locate, navigate, and interpret municipal code, state law, and state guidance documents.
  • Experience with local processes for permitting new housing development.
  • Ability to synthesize and simplify large amounts of sometimes complex information, including CalHDF’s library of past and current housing impact litigation.
  • Proficiency with Google Suite and/or Microsoft Office.
  • Proficiency with Asana or other online task management tools.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills.
  • Exceptional time management and organizational skills and the ability to work independently on essential duties and responsibilities.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work well with others on shared duties
  • Data science and geospatial mapping skills are a plus.


  • Exemplify highest standards of integrity, professionalism, discretion, excellence and accountability; demonstrates emotional intelligence and self-awareness; inspires confidence and trust; welcomes feedback.
  • Exercises initiative to identify and solve problems with drive, flexibility, resourcefulness and creativity.
  • Able to interact in an effective, tactful and professional manner internally, externally and with the public at large; responds graciously and promptly to the needs and requests of others.
  • Plan to participate in communications efforts and public events/activities as a member of the development and communications team.

Salary and Benefits

Salary commensurate with experience, with a minimum starting salary of $85,000 annually. Benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, and health insurance as well as being part of a small team (two full time staff, three interns) that values teamwork, collaboration, a relaxed work environment, and life-work balance.

California Housing Defense Fund is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ+ candidates, people of all gender identities, persons with disabilities and individuals over 55 are encouraged to apply.

To Apply

Please send a resume and cover letter to the CalHDF Team at with the subject line “First Name Last Name – Planning & Investigation”. In your cover letter, in addition to your relevant experience and qualifications, be sure to address what makes you passionate about housing.

Job open until filled. The first review of applicants will be November 3.