HUD announced plans to publish a proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule “imminently.” The proposed rule would help communities meet a more than five-decade old requirement to actively address systemic racism and segregation, which have often resulted from specific federal policies. The proposed rule would seek to improve a 2015 rule issued by the Obama administration that was suspended abruptly and replaced by the Trump administration in 2018. In a statement, NLIHC applauded the Biden-Harris administration for developing the proposed rule. NLIHC has also prepared a brief summary of key points in the proposed rule based on the preamble’s “Executive Summary” and “Background” sections. Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, advocates will have 60 days to offer comments. NLIHC will provide sample comment letters for advocates to consider using.
“The 2015 AFFH regulation was an important step toward rectifying decades of racist housing policies that created today’s segregated neighborhoods and resulted in associated harm to children, families, and the country,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel in a statement released on January 19. “Today’s updated proposed AFFH rule not only helps to undo the harmful efforts by the Trump administration to undermine fair housing, but it seeks to simplify the fair housing analysis process while holding communities accountable for addressing racial inequities and advancing equity. We look forward to closely reviewing the proposed rule and working with the administration on our collective efforts to advance racial and social equity.”
President Biden said in a statement that the proposed rule “sends a clear message to communities across the country that just saying they won’t discriminate isn’t enough. Communities must take action to aggressively combat and end racial discrimination in our housing system. This is an important step forward to ensure every community does its part to expand equity in housing and to fulfill our promise of a nation of opportunity and equity for all.”
The “Fair Housing Act of 1968” not only makes it unlawful for jurisdictions to discriminate but also requires jurisdictions to take actions to undo historic patterns of segregation and other types of discrimination that have resulted in racially segregated, under-resourced communities that persist to this day. The law likewise requires jurisdictions to take action to promote fair housing choice and to foster inclusive communities, ensuring that all neighborhoods have equitable access to high-quality schools, healthy food, clean air and water, reliable transportation, quality healthcare facilities, and other community resources and amenities.
Despite the statutory language, the federal government did not provide meaningful guidance until 2015 about how communities could meet the legal requirement to correct discriminatory housing practices and undo the harms caused by racial segregation, housing discrimination, and disinvestment. Under the Trump administration, HUD suspended the 2015 regulation and abruptly and without public review or comment published the “Preserving Neighborhood and Community Choice” rule. Shortly after taking office, the Biden administration published an Interim Final Rule to rescind the Trump mandate, announcing its intention to further improve the 2015 regulation.
“Housing justice and racial justice are inextricably linked,” said Yentel in the NLIHC statement. “More than ever, large-scale, sustained investments and anti-racist reforms are necessary to ensure that people with the lowest incomes have quality homes that are accessible and affordable in communities of their choice. The administration’s action is an important step toward addressing structural racism and achieving greater racial equity and justice.”
Read HUD’s announcement at: https://bit.ly/3XlRP2H
Read the proposed AFFH rule at: https://bit.ly/3kiISZ6
Read NLIHC’s press statement at: https://bit.ly/3XHE4el
Read NLIHC’s brief summary of the proposed AFFH rule at: https://bit.ly/3QSVzpM
Explore other fair housing materials on NLIHC’s Racial Equity and Fair Housing page.