HUD Proposes New Rule on Furthering Fair Housing

Local governments and states that receive Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA), as well as public housing agencies (PHAs) are required to affirmatively further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act. To help with this obligation, HUD recently proposed an improved structure and process whereby HUD would provide these program participants with guidance, data, and an assessment template from which they would complete an assessment of fair housing (the AFH). This assessment would then link to Consolidated Plans, PHA Plans, and Capital Fund Plans, meaningfully informing resulting investments and related policies to affirmatively further fair housing.

The AFH focuses program participants’ analysis on four primary goals: (1) improving integrated living patterns and overcoming historic patterns of segregation; (2) reducing racial and ethnic concentrations of poverty; (3) reducing disparities by race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, or disability in access to community assets such as education, transit access, and employment, as well as exposure to environmental health hazards and other stressors that harm a person’s quality of life; and (4) responding to disproportionate housing needs by protected class. HUD would provide all program participants with nationally uniform data on these four areas of focus as well as outstanding discrimination findings. Once program participants have analyzed the HUD data, as well as local or regional information they choose to add, they would identify the primary determinants influencing fair housing conditions, prioritize addressing these conditions, and set one or more goals for mitigating or addressing their determinants.

The proposed rule encourages local governments, States, and PHAs to work together on the AFH, and also facilitates regional AFHs that cover regions that need not be contiguous and may even cross state boundaries. The AFH would also reflect substantial public input through community participation and stakeholder consultation.

If you wish to submit comments to HUD on the proposed rule, there are two methods for submitting public comments. All submissions must refer to the docket number and title (Docket No. FR–5173–P–01 - Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing).

Submission of Comments by Mail. Comments may be submitted by mail to: Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW, Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410–0001.

Electronic Submission of Comments. Interested persons may submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments submitted electronically through the Web site can be viewed by other commenters and interested members of the public. Commenters should follow the instructions provided on that site to submit comments electronically.