Do the requirements of the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) change if I am conducting a joint or regional AFH?

Date Published: September 2016

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Joint or regional AFHs must include the elements required under 24 C.F.R. § 5.154(d). When collaborating to submit an AFH, program participants may divide work as they choose, but all program participants in a regional AFH are all accountable for the analysis and any joint goals and priorities, and each collaborating program participant must sign the AFH submitted to HUD (24 C.F.R. § 5.156(a)(3)).

Importantly, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Final Rule states that participation in a joint or regional AFH “does not relieve each collaborating program participant from its obligation to analyze and address local and regional fair housing issues and contributing factors that affect housing choice, and to set priorities and goals for its geographic area to overcome the effects of contributing factors and related fair housing issues” (24 C.F.R. § 5.156(e)). Please note that this provision of the rule speaks to both analyses and goals. Practically, this means that while collaborating program participants will submit one AFH, the AFH will include analysis of the individual collaborating jurisdictions and/or Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) as well as an analysis of the regions for each collaborating program participant as a whole. Additionally, depending on the fair housing issues and contributing factors identified through the analysis, the AFH may include individual goals as well as joint, collaborative goals.

Additionally, participants in a regional AFH “must have a plan for community participation that complies with the requirements of §§ 5.150 through 5.180” (24 C.F.R. § 5.156(d)). The AFFH Final Rule adds that the community participation process “must include residents, and other interested members of the public, in the jurisdictions of each collaborating program participant, and not just those of the lead entity” (24 C.F.R. § 5.156(d)). Please note that in addition to the community participation requirements outlined at 24 CFR Part 5, the rule incorporates AFH community participation into existing program regulations at parts 91 and 903, i.e., conforming amendments to parts 91 and 903.

HOME consortium members are expected to submit “a single AFH that covers the jurisdictions that make up the consortium” and that the consortium is considered to be a “single program participant for the purposes of completing an AFH” (AFFH Rule Guidebook, page 20). Thus, any regional collaboration that includes a HOME consortium as one of its participants must cover all individual members of that HOME consortium, with the consortium acting as a single unit of local government in the context of the broader regional collaboration with additional program participants (e.g., local governments, PHAs).

Finally, please take note of the process requirements for entering into a joint or regional partnership outlined at 24 C.F.R. § 5.156. Program participants that intend to prepare either a joint or regional AFH shall promptly notify HUD of such intention and provide HUD with a copy of their written agreement. The AFFH Rule Guidebook, on page 216, in the Appendices, includes a sample written agreement that can be modified by program participants engaging in a joint or regional collaboration. Program participants must expressly designate one participant as the lead entity to oversee the submission of the joint or regional AFH on behalf of all collaborating program participants. A lead entity is responsible for overseeing the submission of a regional AFH and obtaining the express consent of all other regionally collaborating program participants who join in the regional AFH.

For more information concerning collaborations in the AFH process, please refer to Sections 3.2 and 3.3 of HUD’s AFFH Rule Guidebook. See also the Fair Housing Planning Process Under the AFFH Rule Fact Sheet for more information about collaborating on AFH submissions.

Tags: AFFH Assessment of Fair Housing - General

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