Department of Housing: Housing Authority (7930P)

Program Outcome Statement

Provides financial assistance to subsidize and create affordable housing for low-income residents

Program Services

  • Administers a variety of housing subsidy programs that provide rental assistance to low-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities to rent decent, safe, and sanitary housing
  • Owns and Operates two affordable rental housing complexes comprising 30 units in Colma, and 150 units in Daly City
  • Provides self-sufficiency and case management services to assist families to achieve greater self-sufficiency under program time limits
  • Supports affordable housing development by leveraging Housing Assistance Payment reserves and Project-based vouchers


Housing Authority of the County of San Mateo (HACSM) serves over 4,800 low income households through various rental assistance programs that direct housing assistance payments to approximately 2,000 property landlords.  HACSM has been granted extraordinary flexibility to modify federal rental subsidy programs according to its special Moving-To-Work (MTW) contract with HUD.  The flexibility of the MTW program has allowed HACSM to collaborate with community stakeholders to further support the residents of San Mateo County through program re-design and innovation.  All the innovation and re-design share one or more of the following three goals:
  1. Reduce costs and achieve greater cost effectiveness
  2. Promote family self-sufficiency
  3. Increase housing choice
An example of how HACSM has leveraged the MTW flexibility is the creation of the Provider-Based program.  HACSM is using its “block-grant” funding status to create a new rental subsidy program to serve populations that may not be served under other rental assistance programs.  The program provides funding to service providers to support their clients' housing and supportive service costs.
Currently, HACSM has contracted with four providers serving different special needs populations.  They are (1) CORA for victims of domestic violence (15 units), (2) Service League for persons re-entering society after a period of incarceration and who are receiving addiction treatment and other supportive services (30 beds in 5 different houses), (3) HIP Housing for low-income parent(s) who are in school and working towards self-sufficiency (22 rooms in 4 different houses ), and (4) Brilliant Corners for persons who are high utilizers of the mental health system or exiting mental health, residential treatment, hospitals, or health care facilities (20 units).

Number of Individuals and Families currently Assisted by the Provider-Based Assistance (PBA) Program

Number of Families Exiting Housing Subsidy Programs as a Result of Self-Sufficiency

Percent of Voucher Subsidies Utilized

Story Behind Performance

The San Francisco Bay Area region continues to experience a severe housing shortage and skyrocketing rents.  Section 8 voucher holders are having a very difficult time utilizing their vouchers.  Not only are the average market rents much higher than the HUD published Fair Market Rents, fewer and fewer landlords are willing to accept Section 8 vouchers as demands for rentals far exceed the supply.  As a result, HACSM has not been able to fully utilize all its vouchers.  The utilization rate has been around 95 percent during the reporting period.  HACSM will continue to use its Moving-To-Work flexibility to leverage Section 8 funding for new affordable housing development as well as provide incentives to landlords through its “Lease Success” program.

Program Accomplishments:

HACSM  has allocated 800 vouchers for its 5-year time-limited Moving-To-Work Program as vouchers become available through turnover. All time-limited program participants are offered self-sufficiency services to prepare them to the eventual transition to paying full rent themselves. Examples of self-sufficiency services are job training, education services, budgeting and financial services, etc.
Within the aforementioned 800 time-limited vouchers, HACSM has allocated 150 vouchers for its 5-year time-limited Housing Readiness Program.  The HRP Program serves low-income individuals and families that are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homelessness. Admission to the program is through the County’s homeless coordinated entry system.
HACSM has been successful in its application for additional VASH vouchers. In late 2016, HACSM was awarded by HUD 140 Project-Based vouchers for homeless veterans.  Through an RFP process, these vouchers will be used in five different projects of which four will be high quality newly constructed projects.  Occupancy of most of these units will start in early 2020. Since the award of the Project-Based vouchers, HACSM has been awarded 40 new VASH vouchers by HUD to serve homeless veterans in our community.
HACSM and the San Mateo County Children and Family Services Agency have a long, successful, and highly collaborative relationship in meeting the needs of foster youths. The partnership enabled HACSM to successfully apply and receive approval from HUD to enroll Foster Youth program participants in its Family Self-Sufficiency program, thereby increasing the term of subsidy from three to five years and opportunities for the youths to achieve self-sufficiency.
HACSM played a lead role in the creation of Half Moon Bay Senior Campus. While retaining its interest in land ownership, HACSM partnered with MidPen Housing, a non-profit housing developer, to successfully redevelop Half Moon Village. Construction for Phase I of the Village, consisting of 45 units, was completed in early February 2014. Construction for Phase II of the Village was completed in August 2015 and is fully occupied.
Developed by another non-profit housing developer on HACSM-owned land, the campus also includes Coastside Senior Housing, a newly constructed, 40-unit property serving the low-income senior population and a new senior center and adult day health center.
Construction for Willow Housing, a new affordable housing development located on the grounds of the Menlo Park VA campus was completed in December 2015 and all 60 units are fully occupied. Most of the rental cost of the residents is covered by either HUD-VASH Tenant-Based or Project-Based vouchers.
During FY 2017-18, with the support of the Affordable Housing funds and Project-Based vouchers, construction for four new affordable housing projects had been completed.  They are: Alma Point Senior Housing in Foster City, Sequoia Belle Haven Senior Housing in Menlo Park, Sweeney Lane in Daly City, and University Avenue Senior Housing in East Palo Alto.  With these new additions, HACSM has increased its Project-Based portfolio to 1045 units. Additionally, through an RFP process, 334 units, including the aforementioned 140 VASH units, spread among seven developments have been committed. Construction or rehab for three of these projects, Colma Veterans Village in Colma, Rotary Terrace Senior Apartments in South San Francisco, and Mosaic Garden in Redwood City is nearly complete.  Occupancy is expected to begin early to mid 2019.
Home sharing is one of the few tools that allow rapid creation of more housing opportunities.  HACSM has been collaborating with HIP-Housing in the outreach and marketing efforts as well as making policy changes to allow shared housing rental using Section 8 vouchers.

Author: Cindy Chan, Rental Programs Manager     Contact Email:     Last Update: 01-25-2019