1B. New Frontiers in Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
Since 1968, the Fair Housing Act has imposed an obligation on recipients of federal funds to “affirmatively further fair housing” or “AFFH.” With the exception of some private litigation (often involving HUD as a defendant), the AFFH obligation remained dormant for more than 40 years. Following the Westchester litigation and settlement, the Obama Administration began to hold the “feet” of entitlement jurisdictions to the AFFH “fire.” In 2015, HUD promulgated regulations requiring such jurisdictions to engage in a robust Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH), to identify areas affected by segregation, poverty and lack of access to opportunity. The City of New Orleans completed its AFH in 2017, using a model community engagement strategy. In early 2018, the Trump Administration suspended that obligation for jurisdictions whose AFH due dates had not then occurred, and instructed them to revert to an ineffective, former process for analyzing fair housing impediments. Civil rights groups challenged the suspension, but their motion for a preliminary injunction was denied. In the meantime, California has enacted AFFH at the state level, and advocates there are beginning to enforce obligations on jurisdictions that receive state funds. This workshop will explore how to combine elements of this advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to secure the promise of AFFH.