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HUD invites public comment on fair housing regulations impacting counties

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HUD releases notice inviting comments from local governments on fair housing programs and practices; deadline for submissions is October 15, 2018

On August 16, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) inviting public comments on the department’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule as HUD officials seek to update the approach the agency takes toward implementing AFFH programs. The department will give the public 60 days from the publication date of the notice to provide comments on the current AFFH rule, which requires local governments receiving HUD-administered grants to implement housing plans that improve fair housing outcomes for residents. The deadline to submit comments is October 15, 2018.

As HUD considers changes to fair housing programs, the department seeks input that will help it revise the AFFH rule to advance the following goals:

  • Reduce regulatory burdens while fulfilling AFFH requirements;
  • Focus on “positive results” rather than “analysis of community characteristics”;
  • Allow greater local control and innovation;
  • Increase housing supply; and
  • More efficiently use HUD resources

HUD’s bid for public comments follows the 2015 implementation of a rule that established fair housing reporting requirements as part of the AFFH rule. These reporting requirements, known as the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH), apply to recipients of HUD’s grant programs including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnership (HOME) programs. Both CDBG and HOME support counties’ efforts to provide critical infrastructure for communities.

Ahead of the 2015 implementation of the AFH rule, NACo submitted comments expressing concerns with the financial and administrative burden the new AFH reporting requirement would impose on counties. The department in January 2018 delayed the AFH submission deadline until 2020 to allow grant recipients – including local governments – additional time to comply with the rule change. However, in May 2018, HUD withdrew its deadline extension and eliminated the AFH requirement for local governments receiving HUD grant funds. HUD’s elimination of the assessment tool was based on the department’s findings that few submissions met the new required standards, as well as the department’s limited capacity to provide technical assistance on all submissions.

The public comment period will remain open through October 15, 2018. NACo plans to submit comments and welcomes feedback from counties on the proposed changes to AFFH. To submit comments, please contact Daria Daniel, NACo Associate Legislative Director for Community, Economic & Workforce Development, at ddaniel@naco.org.

Click here to view the full advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

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