HUD Proposes Fair Housing Rule Changes

HUD recently published an 84-page proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule regarding how state and municipal governments address affordable housing opportunities. The rule pertains to the 1968 Fair Housing Act’s requirement that HUD grantees “affirmatively further fair housing.” The proposed rule, once finalized, would replace the AFFH rule published in 2015 under the Obama administration.

In January 2018, under the Trump administration, HUD halted the requirement for local governments to file affordable housing plans, and four months later, HUD suspended the requirement for a computer assessment tool to be used in preparing those plans.

In August 2018, a U.S. District Court dismissed a lawsuit by advocacy groups related to the suspension of the computer tool, which enabled HUD to publish a notice inviting the public’s comment on amendments to the AFFH regulations. At the time, HUD stressed that it sought to “offer more helpful guidance to states and local communities to effectively promote fair housing choice through the use of their federal funds,” adding that its goals were minimizing the “regulatory burden” on AFFH participants. HUD fielded more than 700 public comments to its notice.

The recently published proposed rule shifts focus from data-based planning efforts to further fair housing to actions a jurisdiction could take to increase “fair housing choice,” which HUD defines as allowing “individuals and families to have the opportunity and options to live where they choose, within their means, without unlawful discrimination related to race, color, religion, sex, family status, national origin, or disability.” Under the proposed rule, each jurisdiction that submits a Consolidated Plan (Con Plan) would submit with it a certification that it will affirmatively further fair housing and commit to addressing at least three obstacles to fair housing choice or fair housing goals over the next five years.

HUD’s proposed rule can be found by clicking here.