HUD Proposes New ‘Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing’ Rule

Codes and Standards

HUD announced a new proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule this week that represents a significant departure from the Obama-era final rule released in 2015.

Under the 20415 AFFH rule, as a condition of receiving certain HUD funds, state and local governments and public housing agencies (PHAs) must work to identify barriers to fair housing choice, ensure that their practices and policies do not promote racial segregation, and complete costly, administratively burdensome Assessment of Fair Housing plans.

In a press release, HUD said that the 2015 AFFH rule was “ineffective, highly prescriptive and effectively discouraged the production of affordable housing.”

The new AFFH rule is intended to relieve the heavy administrative burdens on program participants. HUD is revising the onerous reporting requirements and codified language of the 2015 regulation. The new rule also considers the supply and quality of affordable housing in a jurisdiction.

Key elements of HUD’s proposed new AFFH rule:
  • Requires jurisdictions to identify three fair housing obstacles/goals within their control that they will address over five years as part of their AFFH certifications;
  • Ranks jurisdictions based on metrics;
  • Fully incorporates AFFH into jurisdictions' Consolidated Plans and require jurisdictions to report progress through their annual plans;
  • Allows, but does not require, jurisdictions to make changes to zoning or land-use policies as one method of complying with their AFFH obligation;
  • Eliminates the costly and burdensome Assessment of Fair report; and
  • Requires PHAs to participate in the development of a consolidated plan process and file their AFFH certifications.

The proposal also substantially revises the definition of AFFH.

The current regulation defines AFFH as “taking meaningful actions that, taken together, address significant disparities in housing needs and in access to opportunity, replacing segregated living patterns with truly integrated and balanced living patterns, transforming racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty into areas of opportunity, and fostering and maintaining compliance with civil rights and fair housing laws.”

HUD proposes changing the definition of AFFH to “advancing fair housing choice within the program participant’s control or influence.”

Comments on the proposal are due 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

For more information, contact Michelle Kitchen at 800-368-5242 x8352.

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