HUD Proposes New Fair Housing Rule
HUD recently announced a proposed rule aimed at improving fair housing practices. According to the notice, HUD is proposing the rule because it says current fair housing practices haven’t been as effective as envisioned. If implemented, the rule will refine and clarify existing requirements to help HUD program participants comply with fair housing guidelines more effectively.
Local governments and states that receive Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA), as well as public housing agencies (PHAs) are required to affirmatively further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act.
To help with this obligation, HUD recently proposed an improved structure and process whereby HUD would provide these program participants with guidance, data, and an assessment template from which they would complete an assessment of fair housing (the AFH). This assessment would then link to Consolidated Plans, PHA Plans, and Capital Fund Plans, meaningfully informing resulting investments and related policies to affirmatively further fair housing.
Proposed Rule Has Five Key Strategies
1. Implement the standardized AFH, through which program participants can discern fair housing challenges and goals using regional and national benchmarks;
2. Provide data that program participants must consider in their Assessment of Fair Housing, such as patterns of integration, segregation, and discrimination; racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty; access to education, employment, transportation, and environmental health; disproportionate housing needs; and individuals with disabilities and families with children;
3. Clarify the AFH standards and provide guidance on how they will be evaluated;
4. Explicitly incorporate fair housing planning into the consolidated plan and the Public Housing Agencies Annual Plan; and
5. Establish a new HUD review procedure with technical guidance and clearer explanations of standards. Using these guidelines and data, program participants, HUD believes, can identify the primary causes of problems and create fair housing priorities and goals.
The proposed rule encourages local governments, states, and PHAs to work together on the AFH, and facilitates regional AFHs that cover regions that need not be contiguous and may even cross state boundaries. The AFH would also reflect substantial public input through community participation and stakeholder consultation.
Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to HUD by mail or electronically at www.regulations.gov until Sept. 17. If you wish to submit comments to HUD on the proposed rule, there are two methods for submitting public comments. All submissions must refer to the docket number and title (Docket No. FR–5173–P–01 — Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing).
Submission of comments by mail. Comments may be submitted by mail to: Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW, Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410–0001.
Electronic submission of comments. Interested persons may submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments submitted electronically through the www.regulations.gov Web site can be viewed by other commenters and interested members of the public. Commenters should follow the instructions provided on that site to submit comments electronically.