Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Tool for States and Insular Areas – Notice March 11, 2016
On March 11, 2016, HUD published a Notice in the Federal Register providing information on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Assessment Tool for States and Insular Areas. On July 16, 2015, HUD published the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) final rule that provides HUD program participants with a new process for planning for fair housing outcomes that will assist them in meeting their statutory obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. This process involves an assessment tool that must be used by program participants to evaluate fair housing choice and access to opportunity in their jurisdictions, to identify barriers to fair housing choice and opportunities at the local and regional levels, and to set fair housing goals to overcome such barriers and advance fair housing choice.
Three assessment tools will be provided by HUD. One is for use by local governments that receive assistance under certain grant programs administered by HUD’s Office of Community Planning & Development (CPD), as well as by joint and regional collaborations between various agencies. The second tool (the subject of this Notice) is to be used by States and Insular areas, and is known as the “State and Insular Area Assessment Tool.” The third assessment tool will be for PHAs. On December 31, 2015, HUD issued the Local Government Assessment Tool.
This Notice solicits public comment for a period of 60 days on the proposed State and Insular Area Assessment Tool. Comments are due no later that May 10, 2016.
The Proposed State and Insular Area Assessment Tool
In developing the new AFFH process, HUD will provide certain nationally uniform data to program participants. All program participants must use the HUD provided data when completing the Affirmative Fair Housing plan.
In creating the proposed State and Insular Area Assessment Tool, HUD recognizes that there are other important data sources that may be available and have local relevance, including data that may be unavailable from the Assessment Tool. Consequently, although HUD will provide nationally available data that are expected to be of use to program participants, the AFFH rule recognizes the value of local data and knowledge.
Program participants will be required to use local data and local knowledge to assist in completion of the assessments. The AFH process does not require program participants to create or compile new data. Only currently existing data should be relied on.
A program participant must complete its AFH using the assessment tool designated for its use and HUD-provided data, as well as any local data and local knowledge that are relevant. To the extent that HUD does not provide data for a program participant to respond to a question in the assessment tool, and there is no local data and no local knowledge that would assist with the question, the participant may state that data and knowledge are unavailable.
Structure of the Proposed State and Insular Area Assessment Tool
The following presents the structure for the proposed State and Insular Area Assessment Tool:
- Section 1: contains the Cover Sheet and Certification and addresses basic information applicable to the program participant;
- Section II: this is the Executive Summary;
- Section III: addresses the community participation process and directs the State or Insular Area to describe certain outreach activities to encourage community participation in the development and review of the AFH;
- Section IV: this is the “Assessment of Past Goals and Actions,” and asks States and Insular Areas to explain the fair housing goals they selected in their recent fair housing plans, and the progress that was made in achieving those goals;
- Section V: this is the “Fair Housing Analysis, “ and presents the core analysis that will be undertaken by States, Insular Areas, and program participants that may be participating with the State or Insular Area in a collaborative AFH.
- This section will also include an assessment of certain key fair housing issues, including segregation and integration, racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, disparities in access to opportunity, disproportionate housing needs, publicly supported housing, and disability and access.
- One area of analysis that is included in the State and Insular Area Assessment Tool pertains to low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs). The LIHTC questions presented in the proposed tool include questions pertaining to a State’s Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP).
- Section VI: Fair Housing Goals & Priorities.
Upcoming PHA Assessment Tool
HUD will soon issue the 60-day public comment notice for the proposed PHA Assessment Tool. This tool will differ from the questions addressed to “Qualified PHAs” that collaborate with States using the proposed State and Insular Areas Assessment Tool.
The State and Insular Area Assessment Tool is primarily designed for use by State and Insular Area program participants. These include the 50 States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and four Insular Areas (American Samoa, the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands). States and these Insular areas should review the HUD Notice in detail, and provide comments by the due date noted above.