In a controversial move, HUD issued a notice effectively suspending new fair housing planning rules until 2020.
The requirement that communities "affirmatively further" fair housing dates to the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968. To ensure that communities and regions were meeting this fair housing obligation, the Obama administration issued the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule (AFFH) and related planning requirements.
While all local governments must still comply with the legal obligation of affirmatively furthering fair housing, the notice extends the deadline for submission of an Assessment of Fair Housing to all local government consolidated plan program participants to October 31, 2020.
In the meantime, communities are still required to provide AFFH Consolidated plan certification in accordance with regulations that existed prior to the publication of the AFFH final rule on August 17, 2015.
The change is effective immediately, though HUD is seeking public comment on the extension until March 6, 2018.
HUD claims the delay is necessary to provide communities with additional technical assistance and resources to comply, but civil rights and other advocates fear the delay will result in a permanent repeal of the mandates of affirmatively furthering fair housing.
"HUD's analysis identified several reasons that merit a delay of AFH submission deadlines, including program participants' need for additional technical assistance," the notice stated. "HUD determined that many program participants struggled to meet the regulatory requirements of the AFFH rule, such as developing goals that could be reasonably expected to result in meaningful actions to overcome the effects of contributing factors and related fair housing issues."
APA's policies reflect a strong commitment to advancing fair housing, more equitable communities, and expanded access to opportunity for all. APA was also supportive of the new AFFH rule, as well as broader efforts to ensure that the nation lives up to the promise and requires of the landmark Fair Housing Act. APA is disappointed that the Trump administration has delayed this work and plans to submit comments on the action.
APA shares the concern that some communities have been given an unfunded mandate that require significant time and resources in order to comply with the regulation, but the ultimate goal of AFH and the mission of fair housing should be a top priority of the department and its grant recipients when making policy decisions.
Fixing HUD's ability to provide adequate support for effective implementation should not delay an improved planning process for fair housing.
Top image: Graphic courtesy the Pew Charitable Trusts.
About the Authors
Tess Hembree is policy manager at Advocacy Associates. Jason Jordan is APA's director of policy.