On December 31, HUD published the final Assessment Tool that local governments will use to prepare their Assessments of Fair Housing (AFH) under HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. As NCSHA has reported previously, HUD will develop separate assessment tools for states, insular areas, and public housing agencies to account for the distinctions between different types of HUD program participants.

The AFH replaces the Analysis of Impediments requirement, which HUD program participants previously undertook to assess impediments to housing choice. The local government Assessment Tool consists of instructions and a series of questions that will guide local governments through the development of their AFH and help them identify racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, patters of integration and segregation, disparities in access to opportunity, and disproportionate housing needs.

HUD also published an updated AFFH Data and Mapping Tool, which includes both geospatial maps and data in tabular format to help program participants as they develop their AFH, including an interactive Query Tool that will allow users to sort and export data. Local jurisdictions will need to use “local data and local knowledge” to supplement the uniform national data HUD is providing. However, according to the AFFH final rule, HUD will require program participants to supplement HUD data only with additional local data that is readily available at little or no cost, including in terms of staff time.

In addition, HUD released its AFFH Rule Guidebook, which provides additional guidance on the AFFH rule and how to complete an AFH, and a webcast providing an overview of AFFH.

We expect HUD to release the draft state Assessment Tool soon. Though HUD intends to design the state Assessment Tool to consider the unique challenges faced by states, including planning to affirmatively further fair housing across large and diverse areas, NCSHA encourages HFAs to review the local Assessment Tool to get an understanding of the AFH process and become familiar with the functionality of the Data and Mapping Tool.

The AFFH final rule requires states to submit their first AFH 270 days prior to the start of the program year in which their next consolidated plan is due on or after January 1, 2018. For example, if a state’s consolidated plan is due at the start of 2018, its AFH would be due to HUD in April of 2017. However, this schedule may be delayed depending on when HUD completes the final Assessment Tool for states, as the AFFH rule also requires HUD to provide program participants at least 270 days to complete their first AFH after the publication of their Assessment Tool. For example, if HUD publishes the final state Assessment Tool on October 1, 2016, the earliest any state would be required to submit an AFH would be June 27, 2017 (270 days after October 1). HUD’s Adam Norlander, who works on the implementation of the AFFH rule in the Office of Community Planning and Development, told participants at NCSHA’s HFA Institute that given the schedule of state consolidated plan due dates, most states will not conduct an AFH until 2019.

For more information, contact NCSHA’s Jennifer Schwartz.