NLIHC urges advocates to submit comments in response to HUD’s intent to “streamline” the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. NLIHC encourages advocates to tell HUD to not change the AFFH rule until all 1,200 jurisdictions have had substantial experience with it over several years. NLIHC has prepared a sample comment letter. A “Comprehensive Assessment of HUD’s Streamlining AFFH ANPR” offers more detail. For those unfamiliar with submitting comments, NLIHC also has step-by-step instructions. Comments are due October 15.
Advocates may also refer to comments drafted by the National Fair Housing Alliance, the National Housing Law Project, and PolicyLink, as well as a joint sample letter drafted by the National Housing Trust, Enterprise, LISC, and Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future.
HUD published in the Federal Register on August 16, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Streamlining and Enhancements,” an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) inviting public comment on amending the AFFH rule (see Memo, 8/20). The ANPR asks the public to comment on eight sets of questions.
As a brief background, the opening summary of the ANPR lists five changes that HUD will propose making. HUD seeks to:
- Minimize regulatory burden;
- Create a process that is focused primarily on accomplishing positive results, rather than on performing an analysis of community characteristics;
- Provide for greater local control;
- Encourage actions that lead to greater housing supply; and
- Use HUD resources more efficiently.
The background section of the ANPR claims that the Local Government Assessment Tool is ineffective, repeating claims HUD made in its January 5 and May 23 Federal Register notices effectively suspending the AFFH rule. As NLIHC has written (see Memo, 5/21), HUD is basing its claim on the experience of only the first 49 Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) submissions. Eighteen of the 49 were accepted by HUD on initial submission and, according to HUD, 32 were ultimately approved. The AFFH rule anticipated a learning curve and provided for an iterative process by which HUD could identify problems with a draft AFH that a jurisdiction could fix.
One of the three Federal Register notices HUD issued on May 23 identified seven categories of problems with the Assessment Tool and gave a single example for each. NLIHC noted that, based on the examples, most of the “problems” could have been addressed very easily by using the AFFH rule’s process for HUD offering suggestions for curing a deficiency. And one of the problems HUD highlighted was an egregious violation of the public participation requirements that warranted rejection of the AFH until adequate public participation was provided (see Memo, 5/21).
NLIHC’s sample comment letter is at: https://bit.ly/2R8DYeo
NLIHC’s “Comprehensive Assessment of HUD’s Streamlining AFFH ANPR” is at: https://bit.ly/2Pq2xlV
NLIHC’s step-by-step instructions for submitting comments via regulations.gov are at: https://bit.ly/2DVXwjr
The National Fair Housing Alliance template letter is at: https://bit.ly/2OxDZd7
The National Housing Law Project’s sample comment letter is at: https://bit.ly/2PnRCsH
PolicyLink’s template letter is at: https://bit.ly/2zPcgMT
The Joint NHT, Enterprise, LISC, SAFH sample comment letter is at: https://bit.ly/2zQJPOz
HUD’s ANPR is at: https://bit.ly/2OD43jG