PolicyLink released a public comment guide for the proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule that was posted in the Federal Register on February 9. PolicyLink also hosted a webinar on the proposed rule and the public comment guide on February 8. A recording of the webinar, “Our Housing Futures: Proposed AFFH Rule 101,” can be found here.
Speakers on the webinar summarized the need for an equitable AFFH rule and detailed how advocates can use the public comment process to strengthen the proposed rule. Angela Glover Blackwell, founder-in-residence of PolicyLink, explained that “opportunity should be where you live, and if it is not, you should be able to move where it is.” After commemorating housing justice advocates throughout history, including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Dorothy Mae Richardson, William Byron Rumford, and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Angela suggested that those joining the call were joining “a long list of freedom fighters.” Rasheedah Phillips (PolicyLink) laid out a brief history of AFFH, a preview of the 2015 rule, and a summary of the proposed AFFH rule. Thomas Silverstein (Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) provided an overview and context for the 2015 rule. Natalie Maxwell (National Housing Law Project) spoke on ways the public comment process should be used to strengthen the rule and highlighted the “Equity Lens for Draft Rule Analysis” section of the public comment guide. Nine equity considerations are listed to frame advocates’ public comments, from historical and systemic framing to equity through data and “reparative equity.” Natalie noted that “the proposed rule is the floor” and that if there are more actions HUD can take to increase community engagement or language access, for example, advocates should mention them in their public comments.
Finally, tenant leaders Sarah Yeung (Sojourner Consulting) and Lincoln Larmond (Boston Tenant Coalition) discussed ways organizers in Boston and Philadelphia have used AFFH as a tool to advance housing justice and called for local leaders to stay engaged in the Federal Register process. PolicyLink’s Jasmine Rangel and Tram Hoang ended the call by calling for cross-sector partners to submit their own public comment and include unique insights in their comments to call for a stronger AFFH rule. Specifically, the public comment guide cites example for partners in housing, education, transportation, environmental justice and climate equity, workforce development and economic equity, community safety and justice, and public health.
View a recording of the webinar at: https://bit.ly/40PTU9g
Read PolicyLink’s “Designing Our Just Housing Futures: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Public Comment Guide” at: https://bit.ly/3XbrvHD