HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) posted Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the January 5 Federal Register notice suspending most local governments’ obligation under the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule to submit an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) until after October 31, 2020 (see Memo, 1/8). The suspension effectively postpones implementation of the AFFH rule until 2024 for a large majority of jurisdictions.
The FAQ restates provisions of the January 5 Federal Register notice in a question-and-answer format that might be easier to interpret than the notice. The AFFH rule requires local governments to use an “Assessment of Fair Housing Tool” to assist them in meeting their obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. Unlike the notice, the FAQ clearly states that HUD intends to use the suspension to revise and streamline the Assessment Tool. In addition, the FAQ notes that, if a local jurisdiction’s next Consolidated Plan is due on or before October 31, 2020, its first AFH submission will not be due to HUD until 2024. Consequently, advocates estimate that 900 of approximately 1,200 local jurisdictions will not have to comply with the AFFH rule until 2024.
Based on a review of the first 49 AFH initial submissions, HUD claims that many local governments need additional time and technical assistance to adjust to the AFFH process instituted in 2015. Of those 49 AFH submissions, 17 were not accepted when first submitted. HUD does not discuss why those 17 AFHs were not accepted on the first go-round, or how meaningful the deficiencies were. Misinterpretations and mistakes are to be expected when a new process is instituted, and the rule provides for re-submission based on HUD guidance.
The FAQ is available on a new webpage devoted to the suspension at: http://bit.ly/2EUba20
NLIHC, together with 75 national civil rights, faith-based, affordable housing, and other organizations issued a statement opposing HUD’s suspension of the AFFH rule. Read the statement at: http://nlihc.org/press/releases/8662