March 11, 2016
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Earlier today, HUD published the draft Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) Tool for States and Insular Areas and accompanying Federal Register Notice. The tool is intended to guide states through the AFH process required under HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation. AFFH requires all entities that receive HUD funding from HOME, Community Development Block Grants, Emergency Solutions Grants, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS and public housing agencies (PHA) to take part in the AFH process.

The AFH replaces the Analysis of Impediments requirement, which HUD program participants previously undertook to assess impediments to housing choice. HUD already has finalized an assessment tool for local governments and intends to publish a third assessment tool for PHAs.

The state tool requires states to include in their AFH details about their community participation process; an assessment of past fair housing goals, actions, and strategies; a fair housing analysis of the state demographic makeup, extent to which segregation exists, and contributing factors to segregation; disparities in access to opportunity; disproportionate housing needs; and a statement of the state’s future fair housing goals and priorities. HUD estimates that the process, which states will conduct once every five years, will take approximately 1,500 hours of staff time.

To assist states in their analysis, HUD will provide nationally available data and state, local, and regional data relevant to the AFH, including data on demographics; patterns of integration and segregation; racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty; disparities in access to education, employment, low-poverty neighborhoods, transportation, and environmental health; disproportionate housing needs; the location and occupancy patterns of publicly supported housing; and data on individuals with disabilities and families with children. All program participants must use the HUD-provided data and available local data and knowledge. However, HUD is not requiring program participants to create or compile new data if it does not already exist.

HUD intends to provide states with thematic maps at the county or statistically equivalent level with the functionality to allow states to zoom in to the dot-density maps that are currently provided for local governments. HUD will post sample maps and tables here no later than March 18.

The state assessment tool includes a number of questions specific to the Housing Credit, including how the state defines a concerted community revitalization plan and the standards or review process in place to assess such plans; what Qualified Allocation Plan incentives exist for locating projects in particular areas; whether there are requirements or preferences for project applicants to have approval or support from the local jurisdiction in which a proposed project would be located; and details about preferences, points, or threshold criteria for projects serving particular protected class groups.

Comments on the rule are due to HUD by May 10. NCSHA will be submitting comments on behalf of our members, but also encourages HFAs to weigh in individually. If you would like to help inform NCSHA’s comments, please send your ideas to Jennifer Schwartz no later than April 26.