Today, HUD published a 30-day notice for public comment on the proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Assessment Tool for States and Insular Areas (or “State and Insular Area Tool”). This proposed tool will be the vehicle by which States and Insular Areas receiving Community Planning and Development (CPD) formula funding from HUD will prepare and submit their Assessments of Fair Housing, as required by the AFFH final rule. The proposed tool would also be used for AFHs conducted through joint or regional collaborations (with local governments and/or public housing authorities [PHAs]) where the State is the lead entity.
HUD’s revised State and Insular Area Tool contains numerous updates compared to the previous version, including a streamlined analysis (called “insert”) that may be used by small program participants that are seeking to collaborate with a State to submit an AFH.
Small program participants are either:
- Qualified PHAs (QPHAs – PHAs with 550 or less total public housing and Section 8 units); or
- local governments that received a CDBG grant of $500,000 or less in the most recent fiscal year prior to the due date for the joint or regional AFH; or
- HOME consortium whose members collectively received less than $500,000 in CDBG funds or received no CDBG funding in the most recent fiscal year prior to the due date for the joint or regional AFH.
Beyond the insert, the revised tool contain changes that are largely clarifying – making questions in the tool more applicable to States. Among HUD’s specific requests for comments (which begin on Page 105 of the notice), the Department is seeking feedback on the following issues that are relevant to QPHAs and small local governments:
- Will the Small Program Participant insert facilitate collaboration among States and smaller local governments, and will the insert allow a small program participant to conduct a robust fair housing analysis and set meaningful fair housing goals?
- How can the QPHA insert be improved so that the QPHA may conduct a robust fair housing analysis and set meaningful fair housing goals when collaborating with a State?
- How can HUD better clarify the responsibilities for QPHAs that choose to participate in collaborations with States?
- Are there ways that HUD can improve the clarity of the questions and instructions for States and QPHAs when collaborating on an AFH?
- How can the QPHA insert, which covers the QPHA’s service area, be improved to facilitate a meaningful fair housing analysis for QPHAs, including those that are in rural areas?
- What additional guidance can HUD provide to QPHAs to better assist them in establishing meaningful fair housing goals?
The revised State and Insular Area Tool is available for review on the HUD Exchange website. Comments on the revised State and Insular Area Tool are due by October 28, 2016.
HUD has also announced that the public comment process for this tool will be extended to include two distinct stages with separate public notices. The first is the notice described in this blog post, and the second forthcoming notice will focus on the AFFH Data and Mapping Tool (AFFH-T) for States and Insular Areas.
Note: The State and Insular Area Tool is one of four separate AFH assessment tools that HUD has committed to issuing for program participants. The four tools are currently in various stages of development. Learn more by visiting the NAHRO AFFH resource page (members only)