What is the Assessment of Fair Housing?

Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides block grants to states, urban counties and large cities for community development and housing activities. States and qualifying counties and cities choose how to invest those dollars to meet their needs, within certain parameters. For example, the investments must assist low to moderate income households or low income neighborhoods.

The primary community development and housing block grants are:

  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)-established in 1974
  • HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)—established in 1990
  • Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG)—established in 1987
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA)—established in 1992

As a condition of receiving these funds, states, counties and cities must certify that they will “Affirmatively Further Fair Housing” choice—or AFFH. The AFFH requirement originates from the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which requires that HUD administer programs and activities relating to housing and urban development in a manner that affirmatively furthers the policies of the Act.

To AFFH, a state, county or city must research housing barriers and develop a plan for mitigating barriers. This study is called the Assessment of Fair Housing, or AFH.

The AFH will include a standardized assessment through which The County and entitlement jurisdictions (see Partner Agencies) will evaluate fair housing issues, and factors contributing to fair housing issues. The AFH is an assessment of historical and existing fair housing conditions, focusing specifically on:

  1. Patterns of integration and segregation;
  2. Concentrated areas of poverty and how these relate to location of affordable housing and “access to opportunity”;
  3. Disparities in access to opportunity, or how well all residents can access employment, quality education, transportation and environmentally healthy neighborhoods; and
  4. Disproportionate housing needs.

Which areas are covered under the AFH?

The entire County is included in the AFH. Seven jurisdictions are partnering to conduct a regional AFH (see Partner Agencies LINK).

How long will the Assessment of Fair Housing be active?

The County of San Mateo is required to complete an AFH every 5 years. HUD accepted our AFH on November 30, 2017.


The County of San Mateo AFH has several components:

  • Community Engagement—A robust Community Engagement Process is a priority for the County. This process will elicit input from a diverse set of residents. The process will be inclusive of diversity in race, ethnicity, language, culture, family status, gender identification, income, and housing tenure. See more about the process on the How to Get Involved (LINK) page.
  • Demographic, Segregation/Integration & Housing Analysis—This section will examine segregation and integration patterns; the location and characteristics of racially, ethnically and poverty concentrated neighborhoods.
  • Housing Analysis—This section examines differences in housing needs and housing availability for residents of different races, ethnicities, family status, and disability, as well as income range. It will include a review of land use regulations and zoning ordinances that further housing choice, and access to both publicly-supported and privately-provided housing.
  • Disability and Access Analysis —This section is dedicated to an examination of if persons with disabilities live in integrated settings and how well housing providers and communities accommodate persons with disabilities.
  • Access to Opportunity Analysis— This section examines how well residents can access educational, economic, employment, and transportation opportunities and environmentally healthy communities.
  • Fair Housing Enforcement, Outreach & Resources—This section examines trends in fair housing violations as captured through legal/enforcement actions and examines available fair housing resources in San Mateo County.
  • Contributing Factors, Priorities and Goals—The AFH research will examine a range of potential barriers to housing choice, including mobility barriers, displacement, gentrification, segregation, and disparities in access to opportunity. The strategies developed as part of the AFH must be specific, meaningful, time bound, and express the County’s commitment to AFFH.

Availability of draft report sections and public comment— The draft AFH was made available to the public for review and comments between the dates of  August 1st, 2017 and September 15th, 2017.  We received 15 public comment letters.

HUD Approval of the AFH-- HUD approved our AFH on November 30, 2017.  Please find the AFH report on the AFH Home Page.

AFH Home