HUD Announces Changes to Fair Housing Rule
Enterprise recently summarized changes in the implementation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule. The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published three notices in the Federal Register regarding changes to the implementation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule. These notices will clarify Consolidated Plan program participants’ legal obligation to affirmatively further fair housing.
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Withdrawal of Notice Extending the Deadline for Submission of Assessment of Fair Housing for Consolidated Plan Participants: Following HUD’s notice earlier this year, which allowed local governments to no longer be obligated to submit Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs), civil rights groups across the country sought a court order that would force HUD to immediately resume implementation of the AFH requirement. In response, HUD announced last week that they were withdrawing the notice. This change forces local governments once again to have to submit an examination of the local housing landscape, allowing jurisdictions to set their fair housing priorities and goals.
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Withdrawal of the Assessment Tool for Local Governments: HUD’s second notice announced that they would remove the Local Government Assessment Tool. The Local Government Assessment tool was a computer assessment tool designed to assist local governments in assessing fair housing issues as part of their planning for housing and development block grants. HUD stated that after a months-long evaluation they discovered that the tool was “confusing, difficult to use, and frequently produced unacceptable assessments.” The online tool was not useful in helping local governments with submitting accurate AFHs and “has resulted in great expense to program participants and HUD
and it will no longer be used in its current form.
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH): Responsibility to Conduct Analysis of Impediments: HUD’s third notice is also regarding the withdrawal of the Local Government Assessment Tool. HUD plans to launch a series of national listening sessions and is seeking opinions from the public regarding revising the tool. In the meantime, HUD reminds local governments that they will revert back to an “analysis of impediments to fair housing choice” in order to submit acceptable AFHs, and “that the legal obligation to affirmatively further fair housing remains in effect.”