Tomorrow, HUD will publish a notice in the Federal Register titled “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Extension of Deadline for Submission of Assessment of Fair Housing for Consolidated Plan Participants.” The notice states that for local government consolidated plan participants, the deadline for submitting their Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) will be extended to the next AFH submission date after October 31, 2020. Although the notice will be effective immediately after publication in the Federal Register, HUD is inviting public comment for 60 days on the extension. [1/5/18 Edit – Comments are due by March 6, 2018.]
The notice extends the deadline for submission of an AFH to all local government consolidated plan program participants to the AFH submission deadline after October 31, 2020. Local governments that qualified for a previous extension under a October 24, 2016 notice are also covered under this extension. All local government program participants must still comply with the statutory obligation of affirmatively furthering fair housing.
Until a consolidated plan program participant is required to submit an AFH, it will continue to provide the AFFH Consolidated plan certification in accordance with requirements that existed prior to August 17, 2015. These requirements obligated a program participant to certify that it would affirmatively further fair housing by conducting an Analysis of Impediments (AI) to fair housing choice within the jurisdiction and take action to overcome the effects of the identified impediments.
For program participants starting a new 3 to 5 year consolidated plan cycle, the AI should continue to be updated until those consolidated plan program participants submit an AFH after October 31, 2020. Program participants that have already submitted an AFH which has been accepted by HUD must continue to execute the goals of that AFH (they are not required to perform an additional AI). Program participants that received a non-accept decision should not submit their revised AFHs. HUD will discontinue the review of AFHs currently under review and will not render an accept, deemed accepted, or non-accept determination.
HUD believes that program participants need additional time and additional technical assistance to “adjust to” the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) process and complete an AFH. HUD found that many program participants are “striving to meet the requirements of the AFFH rule.” (The Department conducted an evaluation in 2017 and found that more than a third of AFHs were initially not accepted.)
According to HUD, a delay is necessary because program participants require additional technical assistance. HUD found that program participants struggled to develop goals that could be reasonably expected to result in meaningful actions to overcome the effects of contributing factors. Additionally, program participants struggled in developing metrics to measure progress. HUD believes that by providing additional technical assistance, program participants’ burdens will be reduced because they will be more likely to submit an initial AFH that can be accepted by HUD. HUD also believes that by providing additional technical assistance, HUD staff resources can be reduced, as program participants will be more likely to submit an initial AFH that can be accepted by HUD and will not have to be reviewed multiple times.
HUD encourages program participants to share resources and collaborate to address fair housing issues. HUD believes that a delay will allow program participants to receive better technical assistance that will better allow them to collaborate.
The pre-publication notice can be found here.
[1/5/18 Edit – The notice has been published in the Federal Register and can be found here.]