Assessment of Fair Housing Tool Removed for Local Governments
On May 18, 2018, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would be publishing three separate notices in the Federal Register that would indefinitely suspend the implementation of the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. This would also remove the Assessment of Fair Housing tool for local governments.
The first notice explained the withdrawal of the January 5, 2018 Federal Register notice, which had extended the deadline to either 2024 or 2025 for 856 local governments to submit an Assessment of Fair Housing.
The second notice was much more significant. This notice removed the Local Government Assessment Tool, due to apparent deficiencies in its system. The HUD claimed, “HUD therefore is withdrawing the Local Government Assessment Tool because it is inadequate to accomplish its purpose of guiding program participants to produce meaningful AFHs.”
There were seven categories that were identified as problem areas. One of these categories was community participation, which the HUD sees as inadequate. Another problem was “insufficient use of local data and knowledge.
” When local governments failed to use local data properly, they did not address issues properly and therefore did not take advantage of the HUD tool. Another problem area was the failure to recognize contributing factors to fair housing issues. For example, despite detailed analyses outlining lending discrimination failed to recognize discrimination as a “contributing factor.”
Many are critical of the removal of the Local Government Assessment Tool, since it seems the HUD was aware of its shortcomings.
The third notice repeats that “HUD has withdrawn the current version of the information collection device used by local government program participants to assess fair housing issues as part of their planning for use of housing and community development block grants.” As a result, jurisdictions must instead use the failed Analysis of Impediments (AI), in order to guarantee fair housing process.
HUD is seeking public comment on how to revise the local government assessment tool. In the meantime, it is removed until it is fully revised.
On July 25th, a Congressional Reception will be held at the Dirksen Senate Auditorium in Washington D.C. This event will allow New Jersey Residents who are working poor, below the poverty line and or impacted by homelessness to urge their elected officials in Washington to make No Cuts to Housing and remind them that Opportunity Starts at Home.