On Aug. 13, HUD announced that it is seeking public comment on potential amendments to its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulations. The advance notice of proposed rulemaking, published in the Federal Register, affirms that the regulations aim to help communities fulfill their fair housing obligations, but that the approach outlined in the regulations “proved ineffective, highly prescriptive, and effectively discouraged the production of affordable housing.” HUD also asserted that the AFFH Data and Mapping Tool contained errors and that local governments had difficulty using it, which resulted in the need for “an unsustainable level of technical assistance.”

“It’s ironic that the current AFFH rule, which was designed to expand affordable housing choices, is actually suffocating investment in some of our most distressed neighborhoods that need our investment the most,” said Carson. “We do not have to abandon communities in need. Instead we believe we can craft a new, fairer rule that creates choices for quality housing across all communities.”

HUD seeks to amend the proposed rule to create a process focused on accomplishing positive results and encouraging actions to increase housing choice while providing greater local control, minimizing regulatory burdens on communities, and making more efficient use of HUD resources.

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) stated that the AFFH changes would be “a significant setback for the millions of Americans that depend on our government to protect and enforce their civil rights.” NFHA also argued that the original AFFH rule provided a framework for jurisdictions to use federal funds to invest in affordable housing, transportation infrastructure, and other community amenities in neighborhoods that had previously experienced redlining and other discriminatory practices.[1]

[1] Statement from the National Fair Housing Alliance, et al. Concerning the Recent AFFH Ruling (August 17, 2018).