AFFH assessment tool and guidebook: On New Year’s Eve, HUD released the final “Assessment of Fair Housing” (AFH) form to be used by jurisdictions going through the AFFH process over the next few years, along with a 131 page Guidebook that fills in some of the interstices of the 2015 final AFFH rule, and a to accompany the AFH. While the final assessment form does not include all of the elements we had urged HUD to include, it is nonetheless a strong planning document, and now that it is finally public, the new AFFH planning process can begin.
AFFH and FHFA: The Federal Housing Finance Agency has released a proposed rule governing the statutory obligation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to address under-served markets — including manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural areas. The proposed rule also includes a potentially important incentive, within these three priority areas, to promote housing development and preservation in low poverty, higher opportunity geographies. We plan to support the proposed rule, but will also point out that incentives to promote residential integration need to be particularly strong to overcome the segregation incentives already embedded in public and private law.
AFFH and school integration: It is always great to hear the federal government state the obvious, especially in a document with real world consequences! Here is an excerpt from the new HUD AFFH assessment form:
“The geographic relationship of proficient schools to housing, and the policies that govern attendance, are important components of fair housing choice. The quality of schools is often a major factor in deciding where to live and school quality is also a key component of economic mobility. Relevant factors to consider include whether proficient schools are clustered in a portion of the jurisdiction or region, the range of housing opportunities close to proficient schools, and whether the jurisdiction has policies that enable students to attend a school of choice regardless of place of residence. Policies to consider include,but are not limited to: inter-district transfer programs, limits on how many students from other areas a particular school will accept, and enrollment lotteries that do not provide access for the majority of children.”
There are also interesting cross-cutting discussions in the AFH and Guidebook on the relationship between fair housing and transportation, environmental health, and employment access. The new rule presents real opportunities for cross-sector collaboration, both in the community engagement process and among state and local government agencies. But how this all plays out will be largely determined by activism and organizing at the local level.