On July 16, HUD published a revised Assessment Tool to be used to complete an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) as required by HUD’s new affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) rule. HUD also published a notice describing revisions made to the initial Assessment Tool, which was published for comment on September 26, 2014 (see Memo, 9/29/14, 11/17/14). The revised Assessment Tool reflects changes made in response to comments, and is open to further public comment until August 17.
The official Federal Register version of the final AFFH rule was also published on July 16. HUD released an advance copy of the final AFFH rule on July 8 (see Memo, 7/13). HUD also posted a short FAQ and a one-page Fact Sheet on AFFH.
The revised Assessment Tool is designed primarily for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement jurisdictions and entitlement jurisdictions partnering with public housing agencies (PHAs) submitting a joint AFH. It is also designed for local governments and HOME program consortia required to submit a Consolidated Plan (ConPlan), as well as regional collaborations. Collectively, HUD is calling all of the above either “entitlement jurisdictions” or “program participants.” HUD will issue separate Assessment Tools for states and PHAs submitting independent AFHs.
The new Assessment Tool provides detailed instructions, which the initial Assessment Tool lacked. HUD also released examples of nationally-uniform data and maps that HUD will provide to each program participant. The Assessment Tool consists of a series of questions designed to help program participants identify racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, patterns of integration and segregation, disparities in access to opportunity, and disproportionate housing needs, all of which are defined in the rule and described further in the Assessment Tool. HUD notes that the Assessment Tool asks questions that enable program participants to perform a meaningful assessment of key “fair housing issues” and “contributing factors,” and to set meaningful fair housing goals and priorities. Fair housing issues and contributing factors are defined in the rule and described further in the Assessment Tool, which gives 39 examples of contributing factors.
Many entitlement jurisdictions will not be required to use the Assessment Tool or be required to submit an AFH, which is tied to their next 5-year ConPlan, until 2020 or after. In addition, compliance dates are delayed an additional year for states, entitlement jurisdictions receiving less than $500,000 in CDBG in 2015, and PHAs with more than 550 public housing units or vouchers, combined. There is a two-year delay for PHAs with fewer than 550 public housing units or vouchers, combined. Until program participants are required to submit an AFH using the Assessment Tool, they are to continue to use the current Analysis of Impediments process.
HUD asserts that program participants and the public will be able to filter and sort demographic data for HUD-assisted projects and census tracts by common characteristics, as well as export the HUD-provided data and maps for use during the community participation process.
The final AFFH rule requires program participants to use local knowledge and information in addition to HUD-provided data. The rule defines these terms, and the revised Assessment Tool provides examples of local information to include, for instance, housing market and housing stock information, laws and policies, and common neighborhood or area names and borders. As required by the rule, information obtained through the community participation process must also be considered.
The revised Assessment Tool requires program participants to identify contributing factors that significantly impact specific fair housing issues. They must also assign priorities to contributing factors and provide a narrative justifying the priorities. Program participants must set goals for overcoming the effects of the priority contributing factors, giving the highest priority to factors that limit or deny fair housing choice or access to opportunity, or that negatively impact compliance with fair housing or civil rights law. Goals can vary, as long as the goals address significant contributing factors and related fair housing issues, and can be reasonably expected to affirmatively further fair housing.
HUD published two versions of the Assessment Tool, and seeks public comment regarding the options. The formats do not differ in content; the difference is placement of the analysis of contributing factors.
The PD&R Assessment Tool webpage is at http://www.huduser.org/portal/affht_pt.html#affhassess-tab
- The revised Assessment Tool notice is at http://bit.ly/1GvRWIF
- Option A Assessment Tool is at Option A
- Option B Assessment Tool is at Option B
- Link to a beta test version of the Data and Mapping Tool (AFFH-T), http://affht.vsolvit.com
- Assessment Tool Data Documentation is at Data documentation
The Federal Register version of the final AFFH rule is at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-07-16/pdf/2015-17032.pdf
Here is the link to a beta test version of the Data and Mapping Tool (AFFH-T), http://affht.vsolvit.com
HUD’s FAQ and Fact Sheet are at https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/affh
NLIHC’s AFFH webpage, including a “Preliminary Overview of the Final AFFH Rule” is at http://nlihc.org/issues/affh
More information about the current AI process is on page 7-1 of NLIHC’s 2015 Advocates’ Guide, http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/Sec7.01_AFFH_2015.pdf