HUD Seeks Comment on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Regulation

HUD recently issued a press release stating its intention to reopen for public comment its 2015 final rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) and made available a pre-publication of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which HUD will soon officially publish in the Federal Register. 

On July 16, 2015, HUD published its AFFH final rule. The stated purpose of that regulation was to provide HUD program participants with a revised planning approach to assist them in meeting their legal obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. Since then, HUD found that in contrast to its stated goals, the AFFH rule proved ineffective, highly prescriptive, and effectively discouraged the production of affordable housing.

Last January, HUD suspended the obligation of local governments to file plans under the regulation and, in May, withdrew a computer assessment tool required to be used by local governments in preparing those plans. HUD found that rather than assisting local governments in formulating acceptable fair housing assessments, the “Local Government Assessment Tool' was confusing, difficult to use, contained errors, and frequently produced unacceptable assessments, and otherwise required an unsustainable level of technical assistance. HUD continues to review comments submitted in response to the withdrawal of the Local Government Assessment Tool. The Department will consider those comments during its consideration of potential changes to the AFFH regulations.

HUD is specifically soliciting comments on changes that will:

  • Minimize regulatory burden while more effectively aiding program participants to plan for fulfilling their obligations to affirmatively further the purposes and policies of the Fair Housing Act;
  • Create a process focused primarily on achieving positive results, rather than on analysis of community characteristics;
  • Provide for greater local control and innovation;
  • Seek to encourage actions that increase housing choice, including through greater housing supply; and
  • More efficiently utilize HUD resources.

Comments will be due to HUD 60 days from formal publication of the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register.