WASHINGTON, D.C.- Today the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the much-awaited Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule that is intended to improve compliance with the Fair Housing Act of 1968 by cities, counties, states, and public housing agencies. In addition to prohibiting discrimination in housing, the Fair Housing Act requires recipients of federal housing and community development funds to “affirmatively further fair housing” to overcome the legacy of residential segregation in the U.S. The AFFH rule will increase access to housing in areas of opportunity that has long been denied to the members of the Fair Housing Act’s protected classes: race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) welcomes the rule and congratulates HUD Secretary Julián Castro and his staff for this landmark achievement. HUD will provide substantial data on housing, demographics, and other local conditions for state and local policymakers and public housing agencies (PHAs) to use to determine the degree of segregation and concentrated poverty, the presence of barriers to equal housing opportunity, and other key considerations in their communities.
For the first time since the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was enacted, the rule provides a new approach to previous AFFH practices, which have proven ineffective. To improve the fair housing planning process, HUD is providing greater clarity about the steps jurisdictions and PHAs must take to assess fair housing issues and the underlying factors that impede fair housing so that they can set priorities and goals to address them. Jurisdictions and PHAs will use the data and guidance, along with required public participation, to inform decisions about using federal housing and community development funds and to examine the impacts of their existing policies on fair housing choice.
NLIHC has long advocated for a regulation that could help to realize the Fair Housing Act’s goal of enhancing housing choice for all people regardless of race, national origin, family status, gender, disability, or religion. Because those protected by the Fair Housing Act are often low income, a stronger AFFH rule will help to overcome objections to the development of affordable rental housing.
“The regulation will provide jurisdictions with guidance in complying with their existing obligations,” said Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of NLIHC. “This is a gigantic step in the right direction. The issuance of HUD’s final rule today puts local and state policymakers on notice that fair housing is an obligation, not a choice.”
Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes.
Renee M. Willis
Vice President for Field and Communications
National Low Income Housing Coalition
1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington DC 20005