Earlier this week, NAHRO responded to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s or the Department’s) request for comments on streamlining the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule by submitting a comment letter. The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials remains committed to following through on the promise of the Fair Housing Act and its duty to affirmatively further fair housing. At the same time, NAHRO believes that to create a workable rule that delivers results while appropriately balancing the goals of the Fair Housing Act with the limited resources found in communities throughout the United States, certain principles should be followed in refining the AFFH rule.
These general principles are as follows:
- Entities should not be forced to complete analyses on non-housing factors;
- Entities should not be forced to complete analyses outside their jurisdiction;
- Additional funding is required to properly conduct fair housing assessments;
- Housing agencies should be able to complete any required assessments without having to hire a consultant;
- The Department should accept and approve assessments for entities that have made a good faith effort to comply with the assessment process;
- The Department should provide clear, regularly updated guidance for completing assessments;
- The assessments should provide a greater emphasis on place-based solutions; and
- The Department should closely follow all requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act and any other process requirements required by law.
The comment letter–after providing background on how HUD substantially deviated from modest recommendations of prior technocratic reports by HUD and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2009 and 2010 respectively–responds to specific inquiries requested by HUD. The comment letter also recommends changes to the definition of “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” and “Qualified PHA.”
The full comment letter can be found here.