On August 23, HUD will publish a 30-day notice in the Federal Register seeking public feedback on the Local Government Assessment Tool, the instrument with which communities receiving HUD Community Planning and Development (CPD) formula grant dollars must use to conduct and submit their Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) analysis, as required by the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Final Rule.
Due to limited staff and resources, NAHRO has long-requested for HUD to streamline the AFFH assessment tools for small program participants. The 30-day Notice announces two substantial changes that would, ideally, help simplify the AFH process for Qualified Public Housing Authorities (QPHAs), defined as PHAs not designed as “troubled” with a combined unit total of 550 or less, and for local governments receiving small CPD formula grants:
- HUD seeks to revise the existing Local Government Assessment Tool to include two new streamlined assessments for small program participants, called “inserts.” The first insert would be for use by QPHAs and the second insert would be for use by local governments that received a CBDG grant of $500,000 or less in the most recent fiscal year prior to the AFH due date. QPHAs and local governments seeking to fulfill their AFFH requirements through these streamlined inserts must be involved in a joint or regional collaboration with a local government as the lead entity.
- HUD seeks to issue a fourth assessment tool for Qualified PHAs. Prior to this notice, HUD had committed to issuing only three AFFH assessment tools (Local Government, State and Insular Areas, and PHA-only). The new QPHA Assessment Tool would be for use by a QPHA or by multiple QPHAs jointly collaborating to submit an AFH. HUD assumes that many QPHAs will want to take advantage of this option, particularly those unable to enter into a joint or regional collaboration with another partner. HUD intends to issue a separate public notice and comment process for this new tool.
The 30-day notice also addresses the public comments received in response to the 60-day information collection notice that was published on March 23, 2016 (see NAHRO’s comments here). NAHRO’s next issue of The Monitor (members only) will have additional details about the contents of the 30-day notice.