The Housing and Urban Development in a notice on the Federal Register announced an extension for local jurisdictions to submit an Assessment of Fair Housing in furtherance of HUD’s final rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).
AFFH seeks to promote fair housing in local communities and end discriminatory practices. But the implementation of this housing rule is pushed back as the deadline to submit the assessments is moved by two years, or on October 31, 2020.
Assessment of Fair Housing
“… HUD believes that program participants need additional time and technical assistance to adjust to the new AFFH process and complete AFH submissions that can be accepted by HUD,” according to the Federal Register notice.
Under AFFH’s final rule, local governments and public housing agencies who receive funding under the Department’s HOME Investment Partnerships, Emergency Solutions Grants, Community Development Block Grant, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS are required to participate at the local planning level.
The Department has received 49 AFHs so far from a pool of 1,200 local jurisdictions according to Curbed.com. Indeed, HUD deemed that 35% of those AFHs as initially non-acceptable.
It can be gathered that the low turnout and non-acceptability of the AFHs in their initial form were due to the following struggles of program participants as identified by HUD:
- Meeting regulatory requirements, e.g. developing goals that result in meaningful outcomes.
- Coming up with milestones and metrics that measure the performance and progress of goals toward furthering fair housing affirmatively.
The Department also noted that the misunderstanding of metrics, milestones and goals results in AFHs not being accepted. It further cited technical assistance or significant staff resources as required for an assessment to be accepted at first submission.
To reduce this burden for participants to come up with an AFH that meets regulatory requirements and at the same time lessen this expense, HUD encourages participants to (i) enhance how their technical assistance content and delivery works and (ii) collaborate with other participants to come up with a single AFH.
This goes without saying that the consolidated assessment must meet the regulatory requirements.
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
AFFH builds on the Fair Housing Act that prohibits the refusal of selling a home or renting to an individual based on his or her gender, race, color, or religion.
The final AFFH rule provides an approach for local governments and public authorities to affirmatively promote fair housing at the grass roots level.
Program participants’ actions will center on:
- Assessing their local housing environment if there are racial segregation, conditions that restrict a person/family’s fair housing choice, and disparities in accessing housing and opportunity.
- Identify factors that contribute to housing issues as noted above.
- Create fair housing priorities and goals.
It was in August last year when Dr. Ben Carson who serves as secretary of HUD aired his intention to reinterpret AFFH.