Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing at HUD: A First Term Report Card Part II provides a review of HUD’s enforcement of the affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH) obligation during the first term of the Obama Administration. The report notes that since 2009 there have been significant advances in AFFH enforcement and summarizes four types of HUD enforcement activities. The report was prepared by the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, the National Fair Housing Alliance, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
One type of activity is federal court enforcement actions and settlements. The report provides overviews of four cases: Westchester County, New York (see Memo, 7/27/12), Thompson in Baltimore (see Memo, 11/30/12), and three post-Hurricane Katrina cases, St. Bernard Parish (see Memo, 2/3/12), Road Home Program in New Orleans (see Memo, 7/8/11), and the state of Mississippi (see Memo, 11/19/10).
Regarding the 2009 Westchester case, the report asserts that HUD has “never moved to hold the County in formal contempt for any of its violations of the court order,” and criticizes HUD for accepting housing developments that do not affirmatively further fair housing as meeting the terms of the court settlement.
A second type of enforcement activity pertains to administrative complaints alleging AFFH violations. At least 14 privately initiated complaints were pending as of April 2011, and 16 were pending in February 2013. Two administrative complaints are summarized. One is from the Texas Low income Housing Information Service and Texas Appleseed concerning the state of Texas’s use of disaster-CDBG funding (see Memo, 5/20/11). The other is a complaint against Sussex County, Delaware filed by the Diamond State Community Land Trust (see Memo, 12/7/12).
A third type concerns HUD reviews of Analyses of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AIs). In FY10 HUD reviewed the AIs of more than 300 jurisdictions, since then has reviewed another 293 AIs. Of the AIs reviewed, 128 were incomplete or inaccurate. In addition, HUD challenged 11 jurisdictions’ certifications that they were affirmatively furthering fair housing. Here the report has an overview of a complaint brought by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law against Danville, Illinois, which led to conciliation.
The fourth type of enforcement activity is HUD compliance reviews. HUD has initiated 46 compliance reviews, with at least two resulting in significant Voluntary Compliance Agreements: Marin County, California (see Memo, 1/14/11) and Joliet, Illinois (see Memo, 8/19/11).
Part II concludes by giving HUD positive marks for its AFFH enforcement in the first term of the Obama Administration. However, the report criticizes HUD because, “after almost four years of planning and design, HUD still has not published an AFFH regulation to better define the AFFH monitoring and enforcement process. Moreover, it is not clear that the proposed rule under consideration will establish a complaint process that will give private parties the ability to participate in the enforcement process as they do now. The lack of a clear compliant process has been a major hindrance to AFFH enforcement and it needs to be addressed in any new regulation.”
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing at HUD: A First Term Report Card Part II, HUD Enforcement of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Requirement is available here.