Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

The struggle to find and maintain safe, decent, and affordable housing is a reality for families nationwide. Even when such housing is available, these units may not be located in areas with access to schools that serve student needs; good jobs; and easily accessible, reliable public transit options – particularly for persons of color, immigrants, families with children, and persons with disabilities. Such disparities are the result of a long series of laws, policies, and practices that entrenched patterns of segregation and poverty. For example, the segregation of public housing led to segregated concentrations of low-income families that persist to this day.

The passage of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) sought to address the pervasive housing discrimination that existed during the 1960s. However, the FHA also contains a powerful mandate: that it is simply not enough to prohibit housing discrimination, but that the federal government must do more in its programs and activities to achieve the aims of the FHA. This mandate is known as the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH). The AFFH obligation requires federal agencies and federal funding recipients to take proactive steps to address longstanding patterns of segregation, discrimination, and disinvestment. In 2015, HUD finalized its AFFH rule, which creates a new fair housing planning framework that states, local communities, and public housing authorities will use to better understand existing fair housing barriers, and how those barriers can be overcome.

Since HUD issued the proposed AFFH rule in 2013, NHLP has been involved with federal advocacy efforts around the AFFH rule’s development and implementation. These efforts include submitting comments to HUD, as well as providing training and technical assistance on the AFFH rule.

Statutory and Regulatory Authority

  • Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 3601 et seq., as amended (prohibiting housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, and disability)
  • Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 3608(e)(5) (requiring the HUD Secretary to “administer the programs and activities relating to housing and urban development in a manner affirmatively to further” the policies of the FHA)
  • Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 3608(d) (all federal executive agencies and departments to administer their programs and activities related to housing and urban development in manner that affirmatively furthers fair housing)
  • HUD, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, Final Rule (2015)

HUD Guidance and Resources

  • Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule Guidebook (December 2015)
    This Guidebook provides guidance to HUD funding recipients about the AFH process. Note that Section 5 of this guidance is geared toward funding recipients using the Local Government Assessment Tool to complete their AFHs.
    Even though the Guidebook is written for HUD funding recipients, this guidance includes helpful discussions about topics of interest to advocates such as community participation and goal-setting in the context of the AFH process. Advocates may find the Guidebook to be a useful resource to cite to in advocacy efforts such as comment letters.
  • HUD AFFH Data and Mapping Tool
    The HUD AFFH Data and Mapping Tool provides a series of maps and tables that HUD funding recipients will be using to complete their AFHs. Currently, the Data and Mapping Tool only contains maps and tables for local jurisdictions that are required to submit an AFH.
  • HUD, Interim Guidance for Program Participants on Status of Assessment Tools and Submission Options (January 2017)
    This guidance outlines which assessment tools are to be used in which circumstances, and provides a snapshot of the status of AFFH rule implementation by HUD.
  • HUD AFFH FAQs (September 2016)
    HUD has developed a series of FAQs, arranged by topic, on its HUD Exchange website. Note, however, that these FAQs are written for jurisdictions and PHAs that have to conduct an AFH. These FAQs are searchable by keyword.
  • HUD AFFH Field Points of Contact (Per Region) (published in 2016)
  • HUD Community Participation Fact Sheets
    These fact sheets provide quick reference resources outlining community participation requirements for PHAs and jurisdictions, and include relevant citations.

  • HUD Exchange Website
    The AFFH section of the HUD Exchange website serves as HUD’s clearinghouse of HUD-issued resources and announcements related to implementation of the AFFH rule. Anyone interested can also find out information about signing up for HUD’s AFFH e-mail mailing list here.
  • HUD Fair Housing Nuisance Ordinance and Crime-Free Ordinance Guidance (September 2016)
    This guidance was issued by HUD’s Office of General Counsel, and discusses potential fair housing implications that may arise when nuisance and crime-free ordinances are enforced, particularly against groups such as domestic violence survivors and other victims of crime. Notably, this guidance states, on pages 11-12, that one step a local government could make toward meeting its AFFH obligations “is to eliminate disparities by repealing a nuisance or crime-free ordinance that requires or encourages evictions for use of emergency services, including 911 calls, by domestic violence or other crime victims.”

NHLP Resources

Trainings and Webinars

Comments on the AFFH Rule

Included below are a series of NHLP comments regarding the AFFH Rule and its implementation.

Comments on Individual Draft AFHs

Assessment Tool Comments

AFFH Proposed Rule Comments