County Matchmaker Tool Overview

Living and working in the communities they serve, county leaders across the country understand the local housing conditions and challenges faced within the community. As these challenges appear on the doorstep of county officials, local governments often face complex decisions to effect substantive change.

The housing policy matchmaker aspires to be a resource for local officials, providing information that assists in understanding the elements of local housing markets, identifying key challenges and providing resources on policies that might help enhance the local housing landscape.

Recognizing that local governments vary in their available resources, as well as legal powers,there is no single comprehensive strategy that works for all places. Rather, the tool provides a data-informed assessment, referring local officials to resources that support county leaders’ continued actions to improve the affordability, quality and supply of local housing stock.

Explore the Tool

Intended Uses and Scope

The Housing Policy Matchmaker provides local governments with a concise, accessible snapshot of housing conditions, focusing on a handful of key metrics, and places the locality in context relative to neighboring communities.

The matchmaker does not provide a detailed implementation plan, narrowly customized to each locality. Rather, it serves as a triage assessment that points policymakers in the right general direction and provides links to other resources that offer detailed information on different policy tools.

In addition, the tool focuses specifically on housing affordability and supply and is not intended to provide resources on all types of housing challenges, such as homelessness or mixed-use residential and commercial development. Some additional resources on those topics can be found in the “Resources on Other Housing Topics” tab on this page.

A Regional Approach to Solutions

Housing supply and affordability challenges are not the sole responsibility of counties; they are regional problems requiring a regional approach to solutions. For long term success, officials in counties, cities, towns and other local jurisdictions should coordinate with neighboring communities to develop and implement effective changes.

Counties can play a key role in organizing and coordinating a regional approach to affordable and sustainable housing. For example, Waukesha County partnered with three neighboring counties and nearly every municipality within their jurisdictions to establish the HOME Consortium, which received federal funding to fund and coordinate programs to improve home ownership, home quality, and build affordable housing.

In addition, many counties already work together within metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), such as the Twin Cities’ Metropolitan Council. However, MPOs have few financial resources tied to housing and do not have binding legal authority over member jurisdictions, making coordination and leadership by local officials to prioritize housing supply and affordability essential.

Explore the Tool

Click here to access the Housing Solutions Matchmaker tool in a new window.

Housing cost and population growth archetype

Additional Resources


In counties across America, homelessness is a crisis confronting local government. While counties are on the front lines of tackling the driving factors and downstream impacts of homelessness, our state, federal and non-governmental partners play an essential role in developing and implementing comprehensive strategies to address this crisis

Affordable Housing

Constituents in communities nationwide are calling on county elected officials to reduce the burdens of housing costs that force residents to relocate to more affordable neighborhoods. Although housing affordability is a shared priority across the country, available options to promote affordability vary widely between counties due to differences in jurisdiction and authority under state constitutions and statutes.

  • Affordable Housing Toolkit

    Toolkit detailing the role of counties in addressing the affordable housing crisis through partnerships, funding, zoning strategies, and federal resources. The toolkit also includes an appendix that goes into greater detail on housing affordability metrics.

  • Building Homes: County Funding for Affordable Housing

    A detailed report on the role of counties addressing funding solutions for affordable housing, featuring three case studies on innovative solutions.

  • Housing Connections: Building Affordability Through Community Engagement

    A report on the importance of effective community engagement practices in addressing housing strategies, featuring how three counties engaged their own communities and providing further resources on community engagement.

  • Housing Security Solutions Framework

    Series of proposed solutions and solutions frameworks with sections tailored to specific kinds of stakeholders, programs, and communities. These sections include strategies for indigenous, immigrant, and rural communities.

  • Partnership Takes On Affordable Housing

    Example of an inter-jurisdictional partnership in Colorado focused on affordable housing.

Workforce Housing

Across the country, the lack of affordable housing is severely impacting homeowners and renters, including county employees who live and work in the communities they serve. Affordable housing programs for employees reduce barriers to success at work and increase employee retention.

Planning & Zoning

Counties are uniquely positioned to respond to affordable housing challenges because of the role many play in planning and zoning. Most county governments have some planning, zoning, land use and permitting authority; with this authority, county leaders can create a regulatory framework that incentivizes developers to build affordable units without requiring additional funding from the county.

Coordinating Regional Housing Policy

Housing supply and affordability challenges are not the sole responsibility of counties; they are regional problems requiring a regional approach to solutions. For long-term success, officials in counties, cities, towns and other local jurisdictions should coordinate with neighboring communities to develop and implement effective changes.

Intergovernmental Resources

Counties vary in available resources, staff capacity and legal powers to address local housing challenges. As local front-line officials, county leaders must coordinate with state, federal and other local entities to effect substantive change.

Tool Contacts

Image of Kevin-Shrawder.JPG

Kevin Shrawder

Senior Analyst, Economic and Government Studies
Image of Ricardo-Aguilar.jpg

Ricardo Aguilar

Associate Director, Data Analytics
Image of 156_0873_BPC_Headshots_December_2017.jpg

Tim Shaw

Associate Director of Policy, Aspen Institute Financial Security Program
Image of PIC_Schuetz, Jenny.GIF

Jenny Schuetz

Senior Fellow, Brookings Institute


The archetype model and policy solutions for the Housing Solutions Matchmaker Tool were developed by Jenny Schuetz, Senior Fellow at Brookings Metro, and Tim Shaw, Associate Director of Policy at the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program (FSP). Housing Solutions County Profiles were developed by Ricardo Aguilar, Associate Director of Data Analytics, and Kevin Shrawder, Associate Economist, at the National Association of Counties (NACo).

The developers would like to thank the county officials and staff from NACo and the Community Advisors from the Aspen FSP, who provided thoughtful feedback and contributions to this resource. The developers also express their appreciation to the NACo Digital Communications Team for the landing page design and implementation.

See Here for additional background and information on the Housing Policy Matchmaker from the Brookings Institute.

Related News

Warren, Ohio

Senators introduce bipartisan legislation to level playing field for rural communities

Senators introduced the Rural Partnership and Prosperity Act, bipartisan legislation intended to advance economic development in rural counties and overcome barriers to obtaining federal funding and resources. 

Miami-Dade County, Fla. Commissioner Eileen Higgins tells fellow LUCC members they may have to demolish wasteful space in order to make way for new affordable housing. NACo file photo
County News

Not all urban counties have the same housing solution, but they have the same problem

County officials discussed housing affordability at NACo’s Large Urban County Caucus symposium in Orange County, Fla.

Participants in Housing Forward's train-the-trainer session learned skills and needed to help facilitate future training sessions, expanding the nonprofit's caseworker roster. Dallas County, Texas's support for Housing Forward has helped support an increase in caseworker capacity. Photo courtesy of Housing Forward
County News

Collaboration helps Dallas County, Texas reduce homelessness

Dallas County, Texas's support for a local nonprofit has helped fund housing subsidies and additional case managers, contributing to a 32% reduction in chronic homelessness in less than two years.

Allan Golston addresses the General Session audience during the 2023 NACo Annual Conference. Photo by Denny Henry
County News

Economic mobility is ‘more than just a paycheck,’ Allan Golston says

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Program strategy aims to ease access to safety net benefits, help local leaders promote economic mobility and join partners to unify the economic mobility field.

Construction workers

DOL issues final rule on updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations

On August 8, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule to raise the prevailing wage standard for approximately 1.2 million construction workers under the Davis-Bacon and Davis-Bacon Related Acts.

Upcoming Events


Community Engagement, Partnerships, and Education: Fostering Healthy Dialogues and Collaborations with Community Organizations and Neighboring Counties to Advance Housing Affordability

Understand housing's broader community impact, focusing on collaboration and benefit-driven narratives.

cover photo

ARPA and Beyond: County Perspectives on Using Federal Funds to Address Affordable Housing Challenges

This webinar will examine how two counties leverage their ARPA funds for housing. It will also explore approaches post-ARPA for accessing federal funds from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for housing.



Rural Prenatal-to-Three Peer Learning Network: Centering Family Voice in Local Policy

Join this virtual convening to learn more about how and why county governments can engage families in planning and implementation efforts.


Urban Prenatal-to-Three Peer Learning Network: Centering Family Voice in Local Policy

Join this virtual convening to learn more about how and why county governments can engage families in planning and implementation efforts.

GettyImages 1385170534 (1).jpg

Care Coordination for Improved Population Behavioral Health

We invite you to join this presentation to discover proven solutions and compelling success metrics from other counties.

cover photo

Boosting Career Opportunities in Coal and Manufacturing Communities

Join NACo’s Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities (BRECC) National Network and Counties for Career Success (C4CS) initiatives for this collaborative webinar that showcases successful programs in coal and manufacturing communities.