Last month, HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced the Department was terminating the Obama Administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation, issued in 2015. The decision to terminate was based on the perception that the regulation proved to be “complicated, costly, and ineffective.”
“After reviewing thousands of comments on the proposed changes to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation, we found it to be unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with, too often resulting in funds being steered away from communities that need them most,” – HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
In place of the terminated 2015 AFFH regulation, Carson said,
“Instead, the Trump Administration has established programs like Opportunity Zones that are driving billions of dollars of capital into underserved communities where affordable housing exists, but opportunity does not. Programs like this shift the burden away from communities so they are not forced to comply with complicated regulations that require hundreds of pages of reporting and instead allow communities to focus more of their time working with Opportunity Zone partners to revitalize their communities so upward mobility, improved housing, and homeownership is within reach for more people. Washington has no business dictating what is best to meet your local community’s unique needs.”
In other words, Carson is saying that the 2015 AFFH regulation was too time-consuming and tedious for underserved communities. Furthermore, those communities need to have more time to focus on working with businesses that are coming to those communities.
Essentially what has Happened
The 2015 AFFH regulation drew out very specific guidelines and procedures to affirmatively further fair housing. And the current administration, with its new Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice regulation, defines fair housing more broadly. It defines “affirmatively furthering fair housing” to mean any action rationally related to promoting housing that is affordable, safe, decent, free of unlawful discrimination, and accessible under civil rights laws.
So now, a grantee’s AFFH certification will be “deemed sufficient if it proposes to take any action above what is required by statute related to promoting any of the attributes of fair housing.” In other words, sufficient AFFH certifications will be given to those who plan on taking any action, beyond what is lawful, to promote affordable, safe, decent housing to all (free of discrimination and accessible under civil rights laws).
HUD remains able to terminate funding. If HUD discovers, after investigation, that a jurisdiction has not adhered to “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing,” funding can be withheld/terminated.
Above it All
With all of this being said, above it all, it is important to remember the significance of fair housing and why we need it. Affordable, safe, decent housing that is free of discrimination is a right for all people. The importance of eliminating housing discrimination is vital to upholding the freedoms we as citizens can partake in.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”– Martin Luther King Jr.
For questions about Fair Housing check out our Fair Housing resources and FAQ’s page.
If you feel that you have experienced housing discrimination, you may file a complaint of discrimination.
Contact HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777. And visit How to File a Complaint on HUD’s website.
Materials and assistance are available for persons with limited English proficiency. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may contact the Department using the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.