You are here

D-FW Continues Regional Assessment of Fair Housing Despite HUD Delaying AFFH Rule

Fair Housing Plan HUD Delaying Rule

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Jan. 5 that it is delaying the deadline for local governments to submit fair housing evaluations.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Jan. 5 that it is delaying the deadline for local governments to submit fair housing evaluations required by the Obama administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule until 2020.

As background, under the regime of AFFH, local governments are required to submit an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) plan as a condition of receiving federal funding for block grants and housing aid. The AFFH rule’s broad mission to desegregate communities by combating exclusionary zoning and other practices deemed discriminatory could indirectly impact the apartment housing industry. Specifically, agreements reached under AFFH could contribute to delays in construction and permitting decisions. These types of disruptions in development of new rental housing may aggravate the challenge of lagging local supply of apartments, which in turn undermines affordability at a variety of income levels. 

Plans developed under the AFFH rule which emphasize more testing for housing discrimination—and translate into more money from HUD to do that testing— could result in increased discrimination complaints and monetary settlements paid by apartment owners and operators. Also, some local governments in the past have been pressured into considering and/or adopting source-of-income protection legislation as part of these agreements.

According to the notice, while this affects localities whose plans were pending or in process, local government program participants that have already submitted an AFH that has been accepted by HUD must continue to execute the goals of that AFH. Also, all program participants are advised they must continue to affirmatively further fair housing as required by the Fair Housing Act.

Despite HUD’s announcement, the City of Dallas is continuing its plan to assess fair housing in the North Texas region, reports Alex Macon at D Magazine. The City is leading the charge, in a collaborative effort that includes 22 cities and housing authorities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to submit a Regional AFH (being called the North Texas Regional Housing Assessment). According to a press release, the groups contributed $734,430 and engaged researchers at the University of Texas-Arlington to collect fair housing data, solicit input from local communities and develop goal and priorities as part of their plan.

Myriam Igoufe, project manager of the UT-Arlington assessment, tells D Magazine, “The fact that the submission is no longer required does not invalidate or nullify (everything) we have gathered.” Public meetings will continue in January and February, Macon writes, and plans hope to be submitted by June. 

Regardless of whether HUD continues the AFH plan requirements, Dallas will continue its pursuit of a comprehensive housing policy for the city utilizing the data obtained above. The Apartment Association of Greater Dallas (AAGD) is working on this initiative with relevant stakeholders through a task force called Opportunity Dallas.

AAGD has voiced concerns about the group’s proposal to enact source of income legislation as part of its plan. 

Similar to Dallas, other cities in the Lone Star State planned to submit a Regional Assessment of Fair Housing. In December, the Austin City Council approved $250,000 to fund a study of Central Texas; 11 partners in total, including Austin, were behind this effort. Even with the news from HUD, the Austin Apartment Association anticipates that the City will move forward with its plan and continues to monitor the situation.

While NAA tracks activity on this issue at the state and local level, the association is continuing to work with HUD and stakeholders in the federal city on the implementation of the AFFH. NAA will keep affiliates and members abreast of new developments.

For more information, contact Nicole Upano, Senior Manager, Government Affairs, NAA.