Understanding AFFH: What It Is and How Does It Work?

Updated: Jan 18

Update: On Tuesday, January 14th, 2020, HUD published in the federal register a proposal to roll-back the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. The rule they are proposing to repeal was designed to give tools and guidance to cities, counties, states, and Public Housing Authorities to fulfill their legal mandate under the Fair Housing Act to actively work to dismantle the racist systems that have led to segregation and a host of poor economic, health, and education outcomes for People of Color and other protected classes.

This disastrous proposal from Ben Carson’s HUD would set us back decades in our fight for fair and affordable housing. Read below for how the AFFH is supposed to function and why it's so critical that it be protected.

FAQ: What does AFFH stand for?

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) – A Critical Tool Against Housing Discrimination and Segregation


Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson & the Trump Administration are attacking AFFH, the rule that helps local cities and regions make informed plans to undo racist housing, land and community policies and build inclusive communities with opportunity for all.


Historic, discriminatory land use and housing-related policies, inequitable community development practices, racial bias in mortgage lending and rental housing, and a multitude of other racially biased policies and practices have fostered pervasive negative impacts on a significant portion of America’s population.


These policies and practices, once legal, denied access to homeownership, housing, good jobs, quality education and other key quality of life amenities.


Discriminatory policies and practices resulted in neglected neighborhoods of concentrated poverty with poor housing stock, toxic environmental conditions, underfunded schools, poorly maintained parks, dilapidated infrastructure, and other problems.


Today, over 14 million people – including over 4 million children – live in communities of concentrated poverty. In the U.S. there are over 4000 neighborhoods of concentrated poverty.


Fair housing is a platform for providing access to opportunity.


Under the Obama Administration, HUD finalized the AFFH rulemaking cities’ and regions’ responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act more real.


The AFFH Rule is necessary to ensure ALL people throughout this country have access to housing, free from illegal discrimination, and that residents of all neighborhoods are connected to the kinds of opportunities they need to flourish.


The AFFH Rule provides a structured process to change the trajectory of growing poverty and inequality.


AFFH helps HUD grantees weave together housing, health, transportation, education, environmental and economic development approaches that support the transformation of areas of concentrated poverty into thriving communities.


AFFH fosters the design of approaches that promote access to housing that is affordable in communities with high performing schools, clean air, and reliable transportation choices and access to workforce opportunities and good jobs.

FAQ: In ten words, why is AFFH important?

How AFFH Works


AFFH requires that local communities receiving HUD dollars make a concrete, data and community member driven plan to foster thriving communities for everyone. AFFH:

  • Equips local communities for decision making by providing local officials with data and mapping and other analytical tools. This data equips HUD grantees to better analyze patterns, trends, and conditions. Grantees are encouraged to gather additional local data and knowledge to ensure that the full local context and conditions inform the analysis.

  • Fosters rich community participation, ensuring that the experiences and perspectives of community members inform the assessment process.

  • Promotes a more effective relationship between federal investments and housing choice and access to opportunity needs, by incorporating the strategies developed during the AFH process into the Consolidated or Public Housing Authority Plans.

  • Supports and facilitates locally designed solutions - Local governments develop solutions to fair housing choice and barriers to opportunity through an integrated planning approach.

  • Promotes Jobs and Workforce Development –The AFFH rule helps jurisdictions plan housing that is affordable and located near transit that connects to job centers in opportunity-rich communities.

  • Shaped through Extensive Piloting – The AFFH rule was piloted by 74 HUD grantees through the Fair Housing and Equity Assessment (FHEA). To test the effectiveness, the FHEA modeled many components of the AFFH including: guidance, data, mapping, stakeholder collaboration and consultation, and robust community participation.

FAQ: Why is AFFH urgent now?

Recent Actions of HUD attacking AFFH


  • January 2018 – HUD Suspends AFFH Rule

  • May 2018 – HUD withdraws the AFFH Assessment Tool

  • August 2018 – HUD files Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – Affirmatively Further Fair Housing: Streamlining and Enhancements.  A review of the Notice clearly reveals that HUD intends to make substantial and harmful changes to the AFFH Rule.

  • January 2020 --- HUD releases their proposed rule to the public. Its impact would be disastrous and gut fair housing and much more.

Infographic showing the rates of concentrated poverty in the USA.

This story was originally published on September 27, 2018.

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