CLASP Responds to Restoring Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Definitions and Certifications, Docket No. FR- 6249-I-01 or HUD-2021-0031

By Jessi Russell

CLASP commends the Biden Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) decision to withdraw the Trump-era Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice (PCNC) rule and effectively restore all definitions associated with affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) that were codified in the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and subsequent court decisions. If kept, the PCNC rule would have further entrenched inequities in access by making it more difficult for jurisdictions to identify and address harmful patterns of residential segregation, discriminatory housing practices, and community disinvestment.

However, to further strengthen and realize the definition of what it means for a government, public housing authority (PHA), or agency to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH), protected classes who are directly impacted by actions taken to satisfy the AFFH obligation must be involved in the design and implementation of an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH), Analysis of Impediments (AI), or any other voluntary fair housing planning process. The 2015 AFFH rule proved that HUD recognized the value of community participation, local data, and local knowledge in developing an honest assessment of fair housing. CLASP believes changes that emphasize the importance of community participation would also help HUD comply with E.O. 13985 where the Biden Administration committed the Federal Government to pursuing a “comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality”.

We submit this comment in firm support of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Interim Final Rule (IFR): Restoring Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Definitions and Certifications, Docket No. FR- 6249-I-01 or HUD-2021-0031.