Last week HUD announced that it will delay implementation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule until October 2020 at the earliest. The notice in the Federal Register does not revise the rule or change the Assessment of Fair Housing requirement. The AFFH rule was issued in 2015 to provide clarity and guidance around a mandate in the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which requires local governments to work to desegregate their communities. Since the final rule was published, 49 cities and counties have submitted proposals to HUD, although HUD rejected 35 percent of these initial proposals, which the agency claims is evidence that localities need more technical assistance to comply with the rule.
Proponents of the AFFH rule argue that delaying implementation could cripple the federal government’s first major commitment in decades to address racial inequality in housing. Enterprise’s Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer Laurel Blatchford notes that Enterprise, along with many in the housing and community development field, is profoundly troubled by this notice. “The Assessment of Fair Housing is an important tool for addressing entrenched segregation and economic inequality. Many communities across the country have already used this process to begin creating greater opportunity and more equitable neighborhoods, and its suspension will put that progress in serious jeopardy.”