Equity and access to opportunity are critical underpinnings of the Sustainable Communities Initiative Regional Planning Grant program. Grantees created a space for inclusive conversation on regional issues, with a particular emphasis on engaging those who have traditionally been marginalized from the community planning process. This has provided new insight into the disparate burdens and benefits experienced by different groups across a region.
The Fair Housing and Equity Assessment (FHEA), is a comprehensive tool for addressing such disparities. All SCI Regional Planning program participants were required to complete a FHEA as part of their deliverables, and many found the process to be one of the most valuable aspects of their grant process. The FHEA is similar to the Analysis of Impediments (AI) that certain recipients of HUD funds are required to complete as part of their statutory obligation to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH) as set forth in Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Many SCI grantees chose to take the extra step required to expand the scope of their FHEA and turn it into a Regional AI, thereby fulfilling their AFFH obligation and satisfying the requirements of not only the SCI grant, but their other HUD grant programs as well.