On August 16, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a notice asking for public comments regarding “streamlining and enhanc[ing]” HUD’s “affirmatively furthering fair housing” (AFFH) regulation. Comments to HUD in response to the notice are due by October 15, 2018.
HUD’s AFFH regulation was finalized on July 16, 2015, and was intended to provide guidance to recipients of HUD funding regarding their obligations to affirmatively further fair housing. The AFFH regulation provided state and local governments, as well as Public Housing Authorities, “with a specific planning approach to assist them in meeting their statutory obligation to affirmatively further the purposes and policies of the Fair Housing Act.”
In January 2018, HUD had announced that it was “suspending” the AFFH rule and delaying implimentation of certain parts of it until at least October 2020. As a result, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and several other organizations filed a lawsuit against HUD and HUD Secretary Ben Carson in May 2018, alleging that HUD’s actions violated federal procedures in its attempt to suspend the AFFH rule. That lawsuit remains pending, and in a statement, NFHA stated that its pending lawsuit is not affected by HUD’s notice.
In its August notice, titled “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Streamlining and Enhancements,” HUD stated that while it “is committed to its mission of achieving fair housing opportunity for all” its experience with the rule in the past three years “demonstrates that it is not fulfilling its purpose to be an efficient means for guiding meaningful action by program participants” and that a “new approach towards AFFH is required.”
The notice states that HUD is soliciting comments on changes that will:
(1) Minimize regulatory burden while more effectively aiding program participants to meet their legal obligations;
(2) create a process that is focused primarily on accomplishing positive results, rather than on performing analysis of community characteristics;
(3) provide for greater local control and innovation;
(4) seek to encourage actions that increase housing choice, including through greater housing supply; and
(5) more efficiently utilize HUD resources.
This is the second notice from HUD in two months that it is considering revising a major fair housing regulation. The prior notice, published on June 20, 2018, asked for public comments regarding reconsidering HUD’s “disparate impact” regulation. Comments to HUD in response to the notice are due by August 20, 2018.
Click here to read HUD’s August 16, 2018, notice regarding the AFFH rule.