Two notices concerning the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule were published in the Federal Register on March 23.
One notice announced the availability of an assessment tool that public housing agencies (PHAs) must use when preparing their Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH). Comments are due May 23.
According to the new AFFH rule (see Memo, 6/13/15), PHAs have the option of submitting an AFH on their own, collaborating with neighboring PHAs, or submitting a joint AFH with local or state governments. HUD has urged “qualified” PHAs (those with fewer than 550 public housing units and vouchers, combined) to participate with their states in preparing an AFH. To accommodate such collaboration, the assessment tool proposed for states (see Memo, 3/14) has a section specifically for qualified PHAs. The assessment tool announced on March 23 is for PHAs not submitting a joint AFH with a local or state government.
The proposed PHA assessment tool is a modification of the local government assessment tool (see Memo, 8/17/15 and 1/11). In the publicly supported housing section of the PHA assessment tool, HUD proposes adding two subsections. One asks specific questions about the demographics, location, and occupancy of the PHA’s public housing, vouchers, and any other programs. Another asks PHAs to assess affordable rental housing in the PHA’s service area and region. PHAs are also asked to analyze whether voucher-assisted households, by protected class, are able to access affordable rental housing in areas that would promote integration and provide access to opportunity. The protected classes listed in the Fair Housing Act are race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability.
The proposed PHA assessment tool has new “contributing factors,” which are defined as something that creates, contributes to, perpetuates, or increases the severity of one or more “fair housing issues.” The new contributing factors are restrictions on landlords accepting vouchers, impediments to moving with a voucher from one PHA service area to another PHA service area (portability), and policies related to voucher payment standards, the Fair Market Rent (FMR), or rent subsidies. HUD asks whether additional contributing factors should be included. A “fair housing issue” is a condition that restricts fair housing choice or access to opportunity, including conditions such as local or regional segregation or lack of integration, racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, significant disparities in access to opportunity, or disproportionate housing needs.
PHAs are required to submit AFHs according to the following schedule:
- PHAs with more than 550 public housing units and vouchers, combined, (“non-qualified PHAs”) must submit an AFH 270 calendar days before a new 5-Year PHA Plan is due on or after January 1, 2018.
- PHAs with fewer than 550 public housing units and vouchers, combined, (“qualified PHAs”) must submit an AFH 270 calendar days before a new 5-Year PHA Plan is due on or after January 1, 2019.
Until required to comply with the new AFFH rule, PHAs must still comply with the existing rule regarding the Analysis of Impediments to fair housing choice.
The second notice says HUD is seeking comments about the existing Local Government assessment tool, which was finalized on December 31, 2015. That assessment tool had Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for only one year. Therefore, the Local Government assessment tool is open for comment again. Comments are due May 23.
HUD poses questions about the Local Government assessment tool, such as:
- Should racial or ethnic areas of concentrated poverty (R/ECAPs) be amended to exclude college students from the calculation of poverty rate?
- Should HUD provide additional data on homeownership and rental housing, such as percent of renter-occupied housing, including by protected class group?
- Should HUD add Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data?
- Should HUD distinguish between 9% and 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties?
The Federal Register notice about the PHA assessment tool is at http://1.usa.gov/1T9oiEu. The PHA assessment tool is at https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/affh/proposed-tools
A version of the PHA assessment tool showing how it differs from the Local Government assessment tool is on the HUD User website at https://www.huduser.gov/portal/affht_pt.html#public-comment-pra
The Federal Register notice about the existing Local Government assessment tool is at: http://1.usa.gov/1RribJl.
NLIHC’s AFFH webpage is at http://nlihc.org/issues/affh