On July 19, 2013, HUD published a new proposed rule to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) in the Federal Register and made available background materials and a prototype geospatial tool. AFFH refers to the 1968 Fair Housing Act’s obligation for state and local governments to improve and achieve more meaningful outcomes from fair housing policies, so that every American has the right to fair housing, regardless of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status.
“This proposed rule represents a 21st century approach to fair housing, a step forward to ensuring that every American is able to choose to live in a community they feel proud of—where they have a fair shot at reaching their full potential in life,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a press statement.
“For the first time ever, HUD will provide data for every neighborhood in the country, detailing the access that African-American, Latino, Asian, and other communities have to local assets, including schools, jobs, transportation, and other important neighborhood resources that can play a role in helping people move into the middle class. Long-term solutions will involve various strategies, such as helping people gain access to different neighborhoods and channeling investments into underserved areas.”
The proposed rule was drafted in response to a 2010 GAO report and numerous requests from stakeholders, advocates, and HUD program participants seeking clear guidance and technical assistance. Under the proposed rule, HUD will provide program participants with:
- A more clearly articulated definition of what it means to affirmatively further fair housing;
- An assessment template that replaces the current, loosely defined Analysis of Impediments;
- Nationally uniform data and a geospatial tool; and
- Clear guidance and technical assistance.
As part of the rule-making process, members of the public may review the proposed AFFH rule and submit their comments via Regulations.gov. The public comment period will end on Sept. 17, 2013.
The proposed rule, Affirmatively Affirming Fair Housing, is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/07/19/2013-16751/affirmatively-furthering-fair-housing.