Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rules and Technical Assistance have Successfully Empowered Local Communities in NJ
On October 12, 2018, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) sent a letter to U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson urging him to halt HUD’s efforts to weaken its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulations.
The AFFH regulations help local communities meet their legal obligations to combat residential segregation and expand housing opportunity. Responding to HUD’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking related to the AFFH rule, Senator Booker urges the agency to “not move forward with these proposed alterations to the existing rules or elimination of the related assessment tools.”
The senator also responded to statements recently made by Secretary Carson that imply the administration is interested in changing the AFFH regulation to focus more on reducing local zoning and land-use regulations that drive up the cost of housing and limit supply.
“Historic patterns of segregation cannot be addressed simply by increasing the supply of available housing,” Senator Booker states in the letter. “In order to uphold our American values of inclusion and integration, it is critical that communities work to identify obstacles to fair housing and to develop local solutions and community-specific strategies that address barriers to housing opportunities.”
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) submitted comments in response to HUD’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, urging the agency to not make any changes to the AFFH rule:
- Until all 1,200 program participants have had substantial experience with it.
- NLIHC urged HUD to immediately resume implementing the existing AFFH rule.
Elsewhere in his letter, Booker wrote that “The AFFH rules and technical assistance have successfully empowered local communities in New Jersey and around the nation to make strategic decisions on how to utilize federal resources and expand fair and open access to housing opportunities …”
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is a legal requirement that federal agencies and federal grantees further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act. HUD’s AFFH rule provides an effective planning approach to aid program participants in taking meaningful actions to overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination.