HUD Proposes Significant Changes to the AFFH Rule

HUD has published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking inviting public comment on amendments to its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulations. The 2015 AFFH rule requires local governments that receive HUD funding to examine patterns of segregation and set fair housing priorities and goals by conducting an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH). In January, HUD suspended the AFH process until 2020 and announced that it would use the time to make improvements to the rule. And in May, HUD withdrew the Local Government Assessment Tool – a digital assessment tool that aided local governments in preparing AFHs. HUD’s recent notice seeks public comment on changes to AFFH that it says would: minimize regulatory burden while more effectively aiding program participants to meet their statutory obligations; create a process focused primarily on accomplishing positive results, rather than analysis; provide for greater local control and innovation; seek to encourage actions that increase housing choice, including through greater housing supply; and more efficiently utilize HUD resources. Comments must be submitted by October 15.

Enterprise supported the final AFFH rule in 2015 because it provided a balanced approach to fair housing that acknowledges that communities may employ differing strategies depending on their circumstances. In response to HUD suspending the AFH process earlier this year, Laurel Blatchford, President, Enterprise Community Partners, stated that “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.”Enterprise CEO Terri Ludwig also recently highlighted the importance of confronting racism and hate in creating communities where everyone can thrive, and reaffirmed Enterprise’s dedication to ensuring fair housing outcomes and undoing the harm of decades of discriminatory lending practices.

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