On January 15, HUD issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking re-opening the public comment period on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule for an additional 30 days. The purpose is only to seek comment on offering certain entities the option of submitting their first Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) at a date later than the one set in the proposed rule.
In response to comments made regarding the proposed rule (see Memo, 7/19/13), HUD is considering providing later AFH submission options to states, insular areas, “qualified” public housing agencies (PHAs), and jurisdictions receiving very small Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement amounts. HUD explains that because some program participants vary in size, capacity, the amount of HUD funds they receive each year, and the scope of their responsibilities, the delay will provide them with sufficient time to prepare and submit their first AFH.
On July 19, 2013, HUD published the long-awaited proposed rule intended to strengthen jurisdictions’ and public housing agencies’ obligation to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH). The proposed rule indicated that HUD would issue an Assessment Tool to be used by program participants to evaluate fair housing choice, identify barriers to fair housing choice, and set and prioritize fair housing goals to overcome those barriers.
Comments received by HUD from states and the four insular areas (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) asserted that the AFH process in the proposed rule is better suited for local jurisdictions. HUD agrees with these comments and proposes to design a separate Assessment Tool (see Memo, 9/29/14, 11/17/14) for states and insular areas. When a separate Assessment Tool is drafted, there will be a 60-day notice and comment period for it, followed by another 30-day notice in accord with the Paperwork Reduction Act.
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 defined a “qualified PHA” as a PHA that administers 550 or fewer public housing and/or voucher units, and is not a “troubled” PHA nor one that has a failing score under the Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP). Because Congress determined that qualified PHAs should have reduced administrative burdens, HUD considers it appropriate to offer qualified PHAs more time to submit their first AFH. The notice does not indicate the length of delay HUD envisions.
HUD proposes delaying the submission date of the first AFH by CDBG grantees receiving a grant less than 0.0125% of the entire CDBG formula appropriation, a percentage that would be roughly $350,000 for FY14. About 15% of all CDBG entitlement jurisdictions receive annual grants of less than $350,000. Again, the extent of delay is not proposed.
Comments are due on February 17, 2015.
The supplemental notice is at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-01-15/pdf/2015-00468.pdf
More information about AFFH is at http://nlihc.org/issues/affh, including an NLIHC summary of the proposed AFFH rule, http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Summary_Proposed_AFFH_8-23-13.pdf, and the proposed Assessment Tool, http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Preliminary_Summary_Proposed_%20AFFH_Assessment_Tool.pdf