HUD Releases AFFH Assessment Tool
Last summer HUD released a final rule implementing the Fair Housing Act of 1968’s obligation for jurisdictions receiving federal funds for housing and urban development to “affirmatively further fair housing” (AFFH). The rule set in motion a data-driven effort to bolster commitments to fair housing that would require jurisdictions to take actions to undo historic patterns of segregation and other types of discrimination.
Since 1998, housing authorities have had to certify that they would affirmatively further fair housing, but they have been required only to complete an analysis of impediments to fair housing choice, take appropriate actions to overcome the effects of impediments, and keep records of those actions. There had been no guidance on what constitutes an impediment to fair housing choice or an appropriate action to overcome it.
Under the new system, the analysis of impediments is replaced by the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH). The rule provides a standardized framework for program participants to use to identify and examine “fair housing issues” and the underlying “contributing factors” that cause the fair housing issues. HUD will provide each program participant with data covering the local jurisdiction and the surrounding region, and program participants must consider these data when assessing fair housing. HUD will receive, review, and decide whether the AFH can be accepted. Public participation is required in the development of the AFH, and the AFH must be submitted every five years.
HUD has now released the AFFH Assessment Tool that local governments and their partners will use to conduct and submit their own Assessments of Fair Housing if they receive funds through any of the following programs: Community Development Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Emergency Solution Grants, and Housing for Persons with AIDS formula funding.
This final rule notice also highlighted changes HUD made to the Assessment Tool based on comments submitted in response to HUD’s July 16, 2015, notice, which solicited comments on the Assessment Tool for a period of 30 days. HUD will issue separate Assessment Tools for use by states and insular areas and PHAs that will also be used for: (1) joint and regional collaborations where the state or insular area is designated as the lead entity; and (2) joint collaborations with only PHA partners.
The first assessments using the new tool will be due after Oct. 4, 2016, and can be found at https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/affh/.