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

Updated: Oct 18

June 2021 Update: In June, 2021, the Biden Administration and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Fudge published a final rule reinstating the duty to affirmatively further fair housing for all jurisdictions receiving HUD funds. The reinstatement was necessary to correct the reckless and devastating move by the Trump Administration to abandon the law during their tenure in office.

Now, HUD is preparing to public a proposed rule for how cities, counties, states and public housing authorities should comply with the law to truly remove barriers and further fair housing in every community in the country. Stay tuned for more information on how you can make your voice heard to ensure these rules are effective.


Overview of housed with text: FAQ, What does AFFH stand for? AFFH stands for affirmatively furthering fair housing. Learn more at AllianceforHousingJustice.org
FAQ: What does AFFH stand for?

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

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.

Image of brick buildings. Text: In ten words, why is AFFH important? It is a critical tool against housing discrimination and segregation. Learn more at AllianceForHousingJustice.org
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.

Recent Actions by HUD under Presidents Trump & Biden on AFFH
  • January 2018: HUD Suspends the 2015 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.

  • July 2020: With a rash of racist tweets, Trump and HUD repeal all rulemaking effectively ending AFFH implementation and enforcement.

  • June 2021: The Biden Administration's HUD, led by Secretary Marcia Fudge reinstate AFFH for all jurisdictions and preview an upcoming rule-making to clarify the process by which jurisdictions should collect date, plan and implement AFFH and how they will be held accountable.


This story was originally published on September 27, 2018.

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