On June 10, 2021, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released an interim final rule available for public comment entitled “Restoring Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Definitions and Certifications,” which restores the statutory definition and some certifications of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) requirement.
The AFFH mandate was created through the Fair Housing Act and requires that recipients of HUD funds take meaningful actions, in addition to combating discrimination, to overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities. While the mandate has been in place since the 1960s, a full framework for implementation was only introduced in 2015 when the Obama Administration laid out a process which was clearer, more results-oriented, and included greater accountability measures for local jurisdictions. In 2020, however, under the Trump Administration, HUD proposed a number of sweeping changes which weakened the rule. These changes included a deemphasis on standardized data and an emphasis on housing supply and affordability. LAHSA commented in opposition to these changes when they were proposed in February 2020. These changes were eventually approved and went into effect on September 8, 2020.
The Biden Administration is now working to reverse those changes, starting with a number of executive actions including calling for a review of the rule and reinforcing HUD’s responsibility to implement the AFFH mandate. This interim final rule is now the next step in restoring and potentially improving upon the 2015 AFFH rule. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge has also indicated that a new AFFH framework proposal, with additional tools and guidance, is forthcoming and will be open for public comment in the near future.
We encourage advocates and community members to submit public comment on AFFH regulations to help shape federal fair housing policy and create a more equitable and inclusive housing system. Comments on the interim final rule are due by July 12, 2021 at 8:59pm PST and can be submitted to this portal. The effective date of the rule, including any changes incorporated from public comment, will be July 31, 2021. For more information on the AFFH mandate and its history, please visit HUD’s website here.