HUD’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
Local governments and States that receive Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA), as well as public housing agencies (PHAs) are required to affirmatively further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act. To better facilitate this obligation, as well as address issues raised by the Government Accountability Office, HUD proposes an improved structure and process whereby HUD would provide these program participants with guidance, data, and an assessment template from which they would complete an assessment of fair housing (the AFH). This assessment would then link to Consolidated Plans, PHA Plans, and Capital Fund Plans, meaningfully informing resulting investments and related policies to affirmatively further fair housing.
The AFH focuses program participants’ analysis on four primary goals: improving integrated living patterns and overcoming historic patterns of segregation; reducing racial and ethnic concentrations of poverty; reducing disparities by race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability in access to community assets such as education, transit access, and employment, as well as exposure to environmental health hazards and other stressors that harm a person’s quality of life; and responding to disproportionate housing needs by protected class. HUD would provide all program participants with nationally uniform data on these four areas of focus as well as outstanding discrimination findings. Once program participants have analyzed the HUD data, as well as local or regional information they choose to add, they would identify the primary determinants influencing fair housing conditions, prioritize addressing these conditions, and set one or more goals for mitigating or addressing their determinants.
The proposed rule encourages local governments, States, and PHAs to work together on the AFH, and also facilitates regional AFHs that cover regions that need not be contiguous and may even cross state boundaries. The AFH would also reflect substantial public input through community participation and stakeholder consultation.
The proposed AFFH Rule outlines a process whereby program participants will use HUD-provided data, along with any local supplementation, to assess fair housing conditions, identify determinants perpetuating fair housing barriers, and establish fair housing goals in the assessment of fair housing (AFH) that will inform future investment plans. The purpose of this prototype tool is to demonstrate baseline capability and how the data HUD plans to provide program participants will facilitate successful completion of the proposed AFH and help grantees fulfill their AFFH obligations. Note, this version is just a prototype for demonstration purposes and does not include all the full roster of anticipated features such as the ability to create standard data tables and custom reports. Based on feedback received during the 60 days of public comment, HUD will work on a more robust version to share during the final stage of the rulemaking process.
Purpose of the User Friendly Guide
This document outlines the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed strategy to refine and improve the process currently known as the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI), which HUD grant recipients must undertake in keeping with their obligation to ‘affirmatively further fair housing’(AFFH). HUD seeks public comment on this proposed approach and will incorporate all ideas that effectively enhance the spirit and requirements of the Fair Housing Act. While HUD drafted this proposal principally for HUD program participants, including states, local governments, and public housing agencies, HUD hopes that a broader audience of civil rights advocates, affordable housing developers, community development organizations, academics, housing development agencies, and other members of the public interested in fair housing in their communities will provide input. The goal of the proposed rule is to address concerns raised by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and stakeholders about the current AI process in order to better equip communities to fulfill their fair housing obligations and plan in a manner that promotes fair housing choice.