White House Reinstates Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule

The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule is back, but with one critical change that seems to respond to complaints used by Trump administration officials to rescind the rule in 2020.

June 14, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Rep. Marcia Fudge

Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge | Tim Evanson fr / Rep. Marcia Fudge

Tracy Jan reports:

Nearly a year after the Trump administration replaced an Obama-era fair housing rule that critics decried as “burdensome” and that President Donald Trump alleged would “abolish” suburbs, President Biden’s housing department is restoring the requirement that communities take steps to reduce racial segregation or risk losing federal funds.

The Biden administration proposed the rule change back in April.

The reinstated Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule will have significant differences from the original version crafted by the Obama administration. A mandate that "communities undergo an extensive analysis of local barriers to integration and submit plans to dismantle them to the Department of Housing and Urban Development" has been nixed, explains Tran. The Biden administration justified the change by describing the assessment requirement as "unnecessarily burdensome," echoing former HUD Secretary Ben Carson's criticism of the AFFH.

Jonathan Zasloff—who has criticized the AFFH as implemented by the Obama administration as ineffective in an article for Planetizen in August 2020—is quoted in the article criticizing the Biden administration's changes to the AFFH rule.

“This doesn’t reverse the damage of the Trump administration,” said Jonathan Zasloff, a professor who teaches housing discrimination at UCLA School of Law. “The entire point of the 2015 rule was to have a standard data set. What gets measured gets dealt with.”

According to the article, local jurisdictions "must still maintain records of the actions they are taking to promote fair housing, even if they are not required to submit them." 

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