What is Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing?
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act) requires HUD to administer its programs in a way that affirmatively furthers fair housing. The laws that establish the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS), and the Public Housing Authority Plan (PHA Plan) each require jurisdictions to certify in writing that they are affirmatively furthering fair housing.
States must assure that units of local government receiving CDBG or HOME funds comply. States and local governments must certify that they are affirmatively furthering fair housing in their Consolidated Plans (ConPlans) and Public Housing Agency Plans (PHA Plans). In order to comply, these jurisdictions must have an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice, also known as AI.
Affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) is defined in CDBG and ConPlan regulations as:
- Having an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI).
- Taking appropriate actions to overcome the effects of impediments.
- Keeping records reflecting the analysis and showing actions taken.
New Proposed Regulations in 2013
On July 19, HUD published the long-awaited proposed rule intended to improve the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH). Major features of the proposed rule include:
- Replacing the current Analysis of Impediments (AI) (for which no format or standards exist), with a standardized Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH).
- Provision of comprehensive, nationally uniform data by HUD.
- Incorporating language in the Consolidated Plan and PHA Plan regulations that directly ties those plans’ priority setting, commitment of resources, and specific activities into the AFH.
- Requiring the AFH to be submitted to HUD for review and “acceptance” (AIs were not submitted to or reviewed by HUD) well in advance of preparing a five-year ConPlan or PHA Plan so that the AFH informs the priorities, dollar allocations, and future activities covered by those plans.
HUD Issues Proposed AFFH Assessment Tool
On September 26, 2014, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) published the proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Assessment Tool. Comments are due by November 24. After receiving comments, HUD will consider them and solicit a second round of comments for an additional 30 days.
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. Issuing the Assessment Tool one more necessary step before a final AFFH rule can be published.
The AFFH Assessment Tool Federal Register notice is at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-09-26/pdf/2014-22956.pdf
An easier to read version of the preamble is at https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2014-22956.pdf
Toward the end of the preamble there is a link to HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research site which has the proposed AFFH rule, as well as:
- the proposed assessment tool, http://www.huduser.org/portal/publications/pdf/AFFH-Assessment-Tool-2014.pdf
- sample HUD-provided data tables, http://www.huduser.org/portal/publications/pdf/AFFH-Assessment-Tool-data-tables.pdf
- sample HUD-provided maps, http://www.huduser.org/portal/publications/pdf/AFFH-Template-Maps-2014.pdf
NLIHC submitted formal comments regarding the proposed improvements to existing AFFH regulations on September 17, 2013. NLIHC supported the proposed regulatory improvements, but suggested a number of revisions to strengthen the final rule. Click here to read NLIHC's formal comment letter.
Webinar on HUD's Proposed AFFH Rule (August 29, 2013)
More NLIHC resources for advocates:
- Summary of the proposed AFFH rule (7/26/13)
- Full Summary of the proposed AFFH rule containing regulatory citations (8/23/13)
- Brief outline of the proposed AFFH rule (8/22/13)
For more information, contact Ed Gramlich, Regulatory Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.662.1530 x314.