Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is not a new rule. Rather, it has been the law of the land since the Fair Housing Act was enacted in 1968. It is, importantly, a long-overdue and much-needed attempt to ensure that all people have equal opportunity to live free from discrimination in decent, accessible housing. The Fair Housing Act requires HUD to administer its programs in a manner "affirmatively to further" the purposes of the Fair Housing Act. It took until 2015 for HUD to promulgate regulations implementing the law. In the interim, however, significant case law developed providing a framework and guide for local communities to unravel segregation, foster inclusion and, as then-Secretary Castro said, “provide all Americans with access to safe, affordable housing in communities that are rich in opportunity.” Under the 2015 regulation, communities were provided with data, tools and technical assistance to carry out fair housing planning. Jurisdictions were required to receive input from the public about local patterns of segregation and integration and disparities in access to resources like education, hospitals and amenities such as pools. The regulation addresses the systemic discrimination existing in housing and provided a science-based method for overcoming segregation and using community input to design neighborhoods where all people would have fair and equal access to housing.
It called for “targeted investments in revitalizing areas, as well as increased housing choice in areas of opportunity….”
The requirement for jurisdictions to certify compliance with the AFFH continued. January, 2020, HUD proposed a new regulation for public comments. That proposal received some 19,000 comments, many concerned that it significantly watered down the intent of the original regulation, and stripped the public of the opportunity to participate in planning their own communities. The comments to this regulation were apparently ignored.