HUD proposes new revisions to AFFH rules

fair housing affh

On January 19, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a press release stating its intent to once again amend the rules surrounding HUD’s affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) regulations. While HUD had moved in June 2021 to reinstate requirements that had been imposed by the Obama Administration in 2015 and that were eliminated by the Trump Administration in 2020, the new rules are said to build on the 2015 rules.

For a discussion of the history of the Fair Housing Act, please see our earlier article.

Part of the plan

In announcing its earlier return to the 2015 process, HUD stated that, “HUD intends to undertake a separate rulemaking to build upon and further improve the 2015 AFFH rule by instituting a new fair housing planning process and framework that increases efficiency and improves outcomes for communities across the country.” The newly proposed rule seems to be the fulfillment of that pledge.

The new rules will apply to a wide range of housing providers including those utilizing the Community Development Block Grant program, the Emergency Solutions Grants program the HOME Investment Partnerships program, the Housing Trust Fund and to public housing agencies using section 8 or section 9 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. They will take effect 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register, pending public comment.

Advancing the equity agenda

Under the 2015 rules, providers were required to conduct a standardized Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH). Under the new rules, the AFH is being replaced with an Equity Plan. HUD states that the Equity Plan will require a “more streamlined analysis” of how the housing plan meets fair housing goals than did the AFH. However, developing the Equity Plan will require more community input than did developing the AFH.

Equity Plans will have to address how the proposed housing developments would affect issues such as demographics, segregation and integration, racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, access to community assets, access to affordable housing opportunities, access to homeownership and economic opportunity, and policies and practices impacting fair housing.

Equity Plans would have to be submitted every 5 years and housing providers would have to submit an annual progress assessment covering each of the goals in their plans. The public would be invited to comment on Equity Plans and to provide recommendations for improvement. The new rules would also provide HUD with “remedies at its disposal besides an immediate cut-off of funding” in the event the housing providers are assessed as not meeting their fair housing goals.

The HUD press release announcing the new rules is available here. It provides links to more detailed information on their proposal.