Supporting systemic and institutional transformation in housing policy is part of our mission at the Coalition4Justice. Let’s envision a day when the zip code a child is born into does not determine her or his health, access to quality education and freedom from fear. In this future, state and local governments can develop and enforce fair housing tools and promote community investment so that each resident can reach their full potential.
The road to this dream has been long and winding. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 banned housing discrimination and predatory real estate practices. As we know, passing legislation is a beginning but not an end point in achieving equity. In order to strive to put the law into action, the Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) rule was written into the law. The rule states that any entity that gets our public federal funds for housing (from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD) must show how they’re using that money to proactively end housing discrimination and racial inequities. They also must show all the ways these changes create positive change in people’s lives — from access to good schools, public transportation, jobs, and clean water and air. For decades, the AFFH mandate was in the law, but cities were not held accountable for addressing inequities. Cities receiving funds for housing could submit a report called an Analysis of Impediments on their efforts, but it was not required. And importantly, they did not have to involve the communities most affected by housing injustices in their process.
This changed in 2015 when the Obama administration, under advisement and in partnership with PolicyLink and coalitions of other housing justice advocates, instituted a strong AFFH rule. The 2015 AFFH Rule required key jurisdictions receiving HUD funds to open a public process in their communities to assess how they planned to address housing inequities, and to target federal resources in a way that would increase access to housing choice and opportunity. The rule was repealed in 2016 under the Trump administration. Under the Biden administration, HUD reinstated aspects of the 2015 rule (Restoring the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Definitions and Certifications interim final rule), but the rule does not create an interim accountability structure or require a community planning process – yet.
On January 19, 2023, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new housing provision that could be a critical tool in communities’ work towards new housing futures. The new proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule presents an opening for communities that have faced decades of housing divestment and displacement to design just housing futures across the country.
We can make the proposed AFFH rule a strong tool for housing justice by submitting our comments to the proposal by March 16th. A summary of the Proposal and the questions for discussion may be accessed through this link to the Federal Register: https://www.regulations.gov/document/HUD-2020-0011-0001
This Policy Link post, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing is a Pathway to Inclusive Housing Futures” (https://www.policylink.org/our-work/community/housing/affh) was summarized by:
~Roberta Brooks, M.A.
Program Coordinator, Coalition 4 Justice
For more information on the history AFFH and the current opportunity to voice support for a stronger AFFH rule, see (https://www.policylink.org/our-work/community/housing/affh)
Together we can work to ensure that the proposed AFFH Rule is the tool communities need to build their housing futures!” You can also learn more by registering for the webinars listed:
Wednesday, February 8 11:00 am PT/ 2:00 pm ET
Our Housing Futures: Proposed AFFH Rule 101 We will share the history of the AFFH, provide an overview of the proposed AFFH rule, including suggested areas of focus for commenters, and share experiences using the AFFH rule in local communities. Speakers and guests to be announced. REGISTER
Tuesday, February 28 12:30 pm PT/ 3:30 pm ET
Get support to develop and write your comment in community. Speakers and guests
to be announced. REGISTER
Note: Per the website: The full public comment guide, “Designing Our Just Housing Futures: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH),” will be released on Tuesday, February 7 and provides more background on the AFFH rule, an overview of the federal rulemaking and public comment process, and a step-by-step guide to support community-based organizations, organizers, advocates and leaders in writing and submitting a strong, equity-focused comment.
Note: Please review the post in its entirety. There is great information for ways to become involved in making your voice heard on this important legislation.