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Apr 6 -- comment period extended to April 24, 2023. https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-07369

1) Jan 19 -- HUD ANNOUNCES NEW PROPOSED "AFFIRMATIVELY FURTHERING FAIR HOUSING" RULE [press release]

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will imminently publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register to fulfill the promise of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The proposed rule aims to remedy the effects of the long history of discrimination in housing, will help to foster opportunity in communities across the country where every resident can thrive. In addition, this proposed rule meets President Biden's call in his first days in office to fully enforce the Fair Housing Act, outlined in Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation's and the Federal Government's History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies.

This proposed rule implements the Fair Housing Act's affirmatively furthering fair housing mandate, which directs the government to promote fair housing choice, eliminate disparities in housing, and foster inclusive communities. While building avenues for greater accountability, this proposed rule streamlines the required fair housing analysis for local communities, states, and public housing agencies and requires them to set ambitious goals to address fair housing issues facing their communities, among other landmark changes. . . .

This proposed rule, a significant step in addressing the country's history of discriminatory housing policies and practices, responds to both President Biden's directive, the Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation's and the Federal Government's History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies, to HUD and Secretary Fudge's call to weave equity throughout HUD's work. Specifically, it would spur HUD program participants to take action in order to ensure members of protected classes have equitable access to affordable housing opportunities, which can be a crucial lifeline for underserved communities that have long been denied equal access to opportunity. The proposed rule incorporates much of the framework of the 2015 AFFH rule, which was effective for only a short time before the previous Administration dismantled it, and includes several refinements based on feedback HUD received from a variety of stakeholders.

In particular, the proposed rule is designed to simplify the required fair housing analysis, emphasize goal-setting, increase transparency for public review and comment, foster local commitment to addressing fair housing issues, enhance HUD technical assistance to local communities, and provide mechanisms for regular program evaluation and greater accountability, among other changes.

Under the proposed rule, program participants every five years would submit to HUD for review and acceptance an Equity Plan. That plan, which must be developed following robust community engagement, would contain their analysis of fair housing issues confronting their communities, goals, and strategies to remedy those issues in concrete ways, and a description of community engagement. The proposed rule would then require program participants to incorporate goals and strategies from their accepted Equity Plans into subsequent planning documents (e.g., Consolidated Plans, Annual Action Plans, and Public Housing Agency Plans).

In addition, program participants would be required to conduct and submit to HUD annual progress evaluations that describe progress toward and/or any needed modifications of each goal in the Equity Plan. Both the Equity Plans and the annual progress evaluations would be posted online. The proposed rule includes provisions that permit members of the public to file complaints with HUD if program participants are not living up to their AFFH commitments and various other provisions that enable HUD to ensure that program participants are held accountable for complying with this rule.

HUD seeks public comment on this proposed rule and invites all interested parties and members of the public to submit their views, comments, and recommendations for improvement for this proposal. Comments may be submitted electronically through www.regulations.gov, or through the methods described in the proposed rule.
 
NPRM: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/FHEO/documents/AFFH%20Proposed%20Rule.pdf
Fact sheet: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/FHEO/documents/AFFH%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
Reference guide: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/FHEO/documents/AFFH%20Quick%20Reference%20Guide.pdf
Guide to submitting comments: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/FHEO/documents/AFFH%20Commenting%20on%20HUD%20Rules.pdf

HUD: https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/HUD_No_23_013
WH: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/01/19/statement-from-president-joseph-r-biden-on-the-department-of-housing-and-urban-developments-new-proposed-rule-on-affirmatively-furthering-fair-housing/

2) Feb 9 -- Proposed rule: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

Through this rulemaking, HUD proposes to implement the obligation to affirmatively further the purposes and policies of the Fair Housing Act, which is title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, with respect to certain recipients of HUD funds. The Fair Housing Act not only prohibits discrimination, but also directs HUD to ensure that the agency and its program participants will proactively take meaningful actions to overcome patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, eliminate disparities in housing-related opportunities, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination. This proposed rule builds on the steps previously taken in HUD's 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) final rule to implement the AFFH obligation and ensure that Federal funding is used in a systematic way to further the policies and goals of the Fair Housing Act. This rule proposes to retain much of the 2015 AFFH Rule's core planning process, with certain improvements such as a more robust community engagement requirement, a streamlined required analysis, greater transparency, and an increased emphasis on goal setting and measuring progress. It also includes mechanisms to hold program participants accountable for achieving positive fair housing outcomes and complying with their obligation to affirmatively further fair housing, modeled after those processes under other Federal civil rights statutes that apply to recipients of Federal financial assistance.

Comment due date: April 10, 2023.
  
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-00625 [75 pages]

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