Updated March 2018.
The AFFH rule, established in 2015, was still in its nascent stages when HUD decided to suspend its implementation. This decision to suspend implementation of the AFFH rule was made despite the fact that there were early signs of success as the inaugural cohort of communities began to utilize the new process. The early signs of success demonstrate the strength and promise of the AFFH rule. Sign on for comments in opposition to extension of AFFH Submission Deadlines!
The Promise and Objective of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule
The AFFH rule provides a structured process to change the trajectory of growing poverty and inequality. The AFFH rule and the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) planning process the rule creates help HUD grantees weave together housing, health, transportation, education, environmental and economic development approaches that support the transformation of areas of concentrated poverty into thriving communities. The AFH process also is designed in a way that recognizes the connection between housing and the ability of individuals and families to access opportunities. Furthermore, the AFFH rule fosters the design of approaches that promote access to housing that is affordable in communities with high performing schools, clean air, and reliable transportation choices and access to workforce opportunities and good jobs.
The AFFH rule supports local leaders’ success in meeting their long-standing requirement to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, set forth in the Fair Housing Act of 1968, by providing them with resources in the form of guidance, a data and mapping tool, and technical assistance to support their planning success. The locally-driven AFH process helps communities overcome persistent and growing challenges related to disparities in opportunity, fair housing choice and racially concentrated poverty.
For many years, local officials sought greater clarity and guidance from HUD about what they should be doing to affirmatively further fair housing. HUD’s previous approach to implementing the AFFH mandate – through the requirement that grantees periodically develop an Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice – was neither well-structured nor well-administered, as the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) pointed out in its 2010 report on this subject. The AFFH approach was designed to specifically address many of the criticisms that the GAO highlighted, and provides HUD grantees with more structure, clearer guidance, and needed resources for identifying and addressing fair housing problems in their communities.
Key aspects of the AFFH Rule:
- Equips local communities for decision making by providing local officials with a data and mapping and other analytical tools informed by data from the Census Bureau, other federal agencies and best practice. This data equips HUD grantees to better analyze patterns, trends and conditions. Grantees are encouraged to gather additional local data and knowledge to ensure that the full local context and conditions inform the analysis.
- Fosters rich community participation, ensuring that the experiences and perspectives of community members inform the assessment process.
- Guides jurisdictions on how to better align federal funding—Community Development Block Grants, HOME funds, public housing financing, other HUD funds and other federal, state and local resources—to address the housing and economic inclusion challenges identified in the assessments of fair housing.
- Promotes a more effective relationship between federal investments and housing choice and access to opportunity needs, by incorporating the strategies developed during the AFH process into the Consolidated or Public Housing Authority Plans.
- Supports and facilitates locally designed solutions - Local governments develop solutions to fair housing choice and barriers to opportunity through an integrated planning approach that helps HUD grantees leverage expertise and resources through collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders (e.g. developers, banks, universities, advocacy groups, nonprofits and health providers, and other units of government).
- Promotes Jobs and Workforce Development –The AFFH rule helps jurisdictions plan housing that is affordable and located near transit that connects to job centers, in opportunity rich communities; and that focuses revitalization efforts in distressed communities in a manner that co-locates housing that is affordable with community and economic development, workforce development and job placement services.
- Shaped through Extensive Piloting – The AFFH rule was piloted by 74 HUD grantees through the Fair Housing and Equity Assessment (FHEA). To test the effectiveness, the FHEA modeled many components of the AFFH including: guidance, data, mapping, stakeholder collaboration and consultation, and robust community participation