Understanding what this means for the existing organizations that are funded by HUD and the impact it will have on many communities across the nation
As of July 2015, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a new regulation that will aid in the efforts to ensure that its grant programs increase open housing and eradicate discrimination. This Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Regulation (AFFH) is essentially taking steps to:
- Address significant disparities in access to community assets (schools, jobs, transit, etc.);
- Overcome segregated living patterns;
- Promote integrated communities;
- End racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty and;
- Foster and maintain compliance with civil rights and fair housing laws.
By taking these steps to ensure that not some, but all, communities have access to these opportunities, HUD is helping pave the road for growth and prosperity in the form of equal access to housing for all.
However, to successfully complete these goals, HUD has ruled that neighborhoods and zones that have been neglected must be introduced and expanded with affordable housing. By expanding affordable housing in these areas, residents will now have the choice to decide where they live rather than being assigned a place to live in by a system. This will finally give some families and individuals the opportunity they need to succeed.
Furthermore, the AFFH regulation will apply to all states and countries that receive funding from HUD. To continue receiving these funds however, the grantees will be required to conduct an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) once every five years. The basis for the AFH is to address the issues that are hindering a community and develop a plan with goals to overcome the issues.
The issues that are required to be addressed and resolved in these communities include:
- Segregation and integration;
- The intersection between high levels of segregation and concentrated poverty (areas identified in the regulation and on the HUD maps as “racially concentrated areas of poverty: or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty”;
- Disparities in access to community assets (schools, jobs, transportation, etc.);
- Disproportionate housing needs (people who are paying too much of their income on housing, live in overcrowded conditions, or live in substandard housing units); and
- Fair housing enforcement, outreach capacity and resources.
If all grantees follow the correct procedures and are successful in making their plans and goals become a victorious reality, this will increase equitable access to opportunity and the AFFH will have been one of the best regulations HUD has ever enacted.