HUD proposes streamlined AFFH rule
Recently, HUD announced plans to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH). The new rule will update a 2015 final rule that was intended to implement the Fair Housing Act’s statutory mandate that HUD ensure that recipients of its funding work to further fair housing, which was repealed by the Trump administration. In 2021, the Biden administration published an interim final rule to restore certain definitions and certifications to its regulations implementing the Fair Housing Act’s requirement to affirmatively further fair housing (covered by InfoBytes here). “This proposed rule is a major step towards fulfilling the law’s full promise and advancing our legal, ethical, and moral charge to provide equitable access to opportunity for all,” HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said in an announcement.
The NPRM incorporates much of the 2015 AFFH rule and will streamline the required fair housing analysis for states, local communities, and public housing agencies. Program participants would be required to ensure protected classes have equitable access to affordable housing opportunities, by, for example, submitting an equity plan to HUD every five years. HUD-accepted equity plan analysis, goals, and strategies would then be incorporated into program participants’ subsequent planning documents. Program participants would also be required to conduct and submit annual progress evaluations. Both the equity plans and annual progress evaluations would be made available online.
HUD further explained that the NPRM is intended to simplify required fair housing analysis, increase transparency for public review and comment, improve compliance oversight, provide a process for regular progress evaluations, and enhance accountability, among other things. Comments on the NPRM are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. HUD’s quick reference guide provides additional information.