This Toolkit does not reflect any decisions made in connection with HUD's February 9, 2023 notice of proposed rulemaking and only relates to voluntary fair housing planning conducted pursuant to HUD's June 10, 2021 Interim Final Rule and may be used to support a program participant's certification that they will affirmatively further fair housing.
Module 1 Objectives:
- Learn WHAT are Fair Housing and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)
- Learn WHY conduct Fair Housing Planning
- Learn WHO needs to be involved in Fair Housing Planning
- Learn WHEN to conduct Fair Housing Planning
Module 1 Content:
Program Participants should determine what players are needed at the table and how to collaborate, including identifying who is the lead of the Fair Housing Planning and how this position will be resourced. Consider who is conducting the analysis, who is coordinating regional partners, who is coordinating goal setting, and who needs to provide approval. This includes (but is not limited to):
- Fair Housing Plan Coordinator
- Relevant departments, such as:
- Planning commissions
- Economic development agencies
- Offices that implement HUD programs such as the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), Housing Trust Fund (HTF), HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), Emergency Solutions Grant Program (ESG), etc.
- Agencies involved in providing access to opportunity and community assets, such as education, transportation, healthcare, and environmental agencies
- Metropolitan Planning Commissions
- Elected Officials who might need to approve Fair Housing Planning documents
- Local or Regional Public Housing Agencies (PHAs), including those entities that administer housing choice vouchers and their resident advisory boards
- Regional Partners, including other jurisdictions (municipalities, counties, states) or PHAs
- Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) agencies and Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) agencies
- General community members
AFFH means “taking meaningful actions, in addition to combating discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics. Specifically, affirmatively furthering fair housing means taking meaningful actions that, taken together, address significant disparities in housing needs and in access to opportunity, replacing segregated living patterns with truly integrated and balanced living patterns, transforming racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty into areas of opportunity, and fostering and maintaining compliance with civil rights and fair housing laws. The duty to affirmatively further fair housing extends to all a Program Participant's activities and programs relating to housing and urban development.” See also 24 CFR § 5.151
Protected characteristics are race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), familial status, national origin, having a disability, and having a type of disability. See also 24 CFR § 5.152
A fair housing goal is a goal identified through the analysis in the Fair Housing Plan, to overcome fair housing issues. Program Participants are responsible for taking meaningful actions to achieve each fair housing goal identified in their Fair Housing Plan. Meaningful actions are significant actions that are designed and can be reasonably expected to achieve a material positive change that affirmatively furthers fair housing by, for example, increasing fair housing choice or decreasing disparities in access to opportunity.
Fair Housing Planning is community planning consistent with the duty to affirmatively further fair housing, in which Program Participants analyze historic and current barriers to equal opportunity (the fair housing landscape) in their jurisdiction or service area and set goals to overcome those barriers and ensure fair housing choice for individuals with protected characteristics, including race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), familial status, and disability, within a community. See also 24 CFR § 5.152
The Fair Housing Plan Coordinator is the primary point of contact for Fair Housing Planning, including data analysis, Community Participation, the actual Fair Housing Planning document, and fair housing goal setting, etc.
Jurisdictions and insular areas that are required to submit consolidated plans for the following programs: The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program; The Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program; The HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program; The Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Program; The Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program; and PHAs receiving assistance under sections 8 or 9 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 that are required to submit PHA Plans. See also 24 CFR§ 5.152
HUD requires Program Participants to certify that they will affirmatively further fair housing as a condition of receiving federal funds. Program Participants can support their AFFH certifications by engaging in Fair Housing Planning to analyze their fair housing landscape and set goals to ensure meaningful actions that increase fair housing choice and access to opportunity for individuals with protected characteristics.
We estimate that this Fair Housing Planning task should take approximately 10 business days.
Fair Housing Planning should be used to inform other community planning undertaken by Program Participants, such as the development of Consolidated Plans and PHA Plans. The length of time for Fair Housing Planning may vary based on the size of the Program Participant, the amount of resources available, and the number of barriers to fair housing choice that must be analyzed. The timeline provides information on how long an estimated planning task might take. The work that goes into Fair Housing Planning is scalable across Program Participants of various sizes, so while it can seem like a complex task, creating a Fair Housing Plan is a manageable task for Program Participants of all sizes and capacities.
- Before Fair Housing Planning commences, familiarize yourself with the Fair Housing Act, AFFH, other applicable civil rights laws, and the basics of Fair Housing Planning.
- Before Fair Housing Planning commences, identify key players who should be at the table for Fair Housing Planning.
Module 1.1: The Fair Housing Act
The mission of HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) is to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities by leading the nation in the enforcement, administration, development, and public understanding of federal fair housing policies and laws. The Fair Housing Act is an important law that protects people from discrimination when renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities.
The Fair Housing Act goes beyond simply prohibiting discrimination and requires recipients of federal funds to be proactive in overcoming the effects of discrimination and disparities in access to opportunity. Thus, it is vital that not only community leaders and decision-makers understand fair housing and civil rights and how to affirmatively further fair housing, but also practitioners who are working to develop Fair Housing Plans. Upholding fair housing and civil rights is imperative to promoting more inclusive and diverse communities. This module can help you:
- Become better informed about fair housing and civil rights obligations and related policy decisions that incorporate fair housing best practices into daily work and decision-making.
- Prepare for Fair Housing Planning, including thinking about fair housing issues in your community or service area.
- Prepare for public meetings with topics related to Fair Housing Planning or other fair housing issues, such as residential patterns of segregation or resistance to proposed housing density increases.
The Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities. Additional protections apply to federally-assisted housing.
Who is Protected?
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of:
- National Origin
- Sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity)
- Familial status (including families with children under the age of 18, pregnant persons, and persons in the process of seeking legal custody of a child)
What Types of Housing Are Covered?
The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In very limited circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent, and housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
What Is Prohibited?
In the Sale and Rental of Housing:
In housing transactions, it is illegal discrimination to take any of the following actions because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, familial status:
- Refuse to rent or sell housing
- Refuse to negotiate for housing
- Otherwise make housing unavailable
- Set different terms, conditions or privileges for sale or rental of a dwelling
- Provide a person different housing services or facilities
- Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale or rental
- Make, print or publish any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination
- Impose different sales prices or rental charges for the sale or rental of a dwelling
- Use different qualification criteria or applications, or sale or rental standards or procedures, such as income standards, application requirements, application fees, credit analyses, sale or rental approval procedures or other requirements
- Evict a tenant or a tenant’s guest
- Harass a person
- Fail or delay performance of maintenance or repairs
- Limit privileges, services or facilities of a dwelling
- Discourage the purchase or rental of a dwelling
- Assign a person to a particular building or neighborhood or section of a building or neighborhood
- For profit, persuade, or try to persuade, homeowners to sell their homes by suggesting that people of a particular protected characteristic are about to move into the neighborhood (blockbusting)
- Refuse to provide or discriminate in the terms or conditions of homeowners insurance because of the race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), familial status, or disability of the owner and/or occupants of a dwelling
- Deny access to or membership in any multiple listing service or real estate brokers’ organization
In Mortgage Lending:
It is illegal discrimination to take any of the following actions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), familial status, or disability:
- Refuse to make a mortgage loan or provide other financial assistance for a dwelling
- Refuse to provide information regarding loans
- Impose different terms or conditions on a loan, such as different interest rates, points, or fees
- Discriminate in appraising a dwelling
- Condition the availability of a loan on a person’s response to harassment
- Refuse to purchase a loan
For more information about discrimination in mortgage lending, visit Fair Lending.
The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to harass persons because of race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), disability, familial status, or national origin. Among other things, this forbids sexual harassment. Learn more about sexual harassment here.
In addition, it is illegal discrimination to:
- Threaten, coerce, intimidate or interfere with anyone exercising a fair housing right or assisting others who exercise the right
- Retaliate against a person who has filed a fair housing complaint or assisted in a fair housing investigation
For more information about advertising and the Fair Housing Act, visit Advertising and Marketing.
Additional Protections For Persons With Disabilities:
Housing providers must make reasonable accommodations and allow reasonable modifications that may be necessary to allow persons with disabilities to enjoy their housing. Also, certain multifamily housing must be accessible to persons with disabilities. Get more information here.
Module 1.2: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
The Fair Housing Act's requirements go beyond prohibiting discrimination against protected classes and requires HUD and recipients of federal funds to affirmatively further fair housing. HUD Program Participants must ensure compliance with Fair Housing and applicable civil rights laws, including the duty to affirmatively further fair housing.
The obligation to affirmatively further fair housing requires Program Participants to take meaningful actions, in addition to combating discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics, which are race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), familial status, and disability.
For decades, HUD has required Program Participants, such as states, local governments, insular areas, and PHAs, to engage in Fair Housing Planning. Such planning has previously consisted of the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) and the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) and was done in connection with other types of planning required by program requirements, such as the consolidated plan, annual action plan, and PHA plan.
HUD’s 2021 Interim Final Rule (IFR), “Restoring Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Definitions and Certifications,” requires Program Participants to submit certifications that they will affirmatively further fair housing in connection with their consolidated plans, annual action plans, and PHA plans. In order to support these certifications, the IFR creates a voluntary fair housing planning process for which HUD will provide technical assistance and support. The IFR does not require Program Participants to undertake any specific type of fair housing planning to support their certifications and commits HUD to providing technical assistance to those that wish to undertake AIs, AFHs, or other forms of fair housing planning.
Generally, Fair Housing Planning is planning done by HUD Program Participants, consistent with the duty to affirmatively further fair housing, to analyze the fair housing landscape in their community and to set locally determined fair housing goals to:
- Determine who lacks access to opportunity and address any inequity among protected class groups;
- Promote integration and reduce segregation; and
- Transform racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty into areas of opportunity
Fair Housing Planning involves an analysis of a Program Participant’s programs, policies, practices, and procedures, as well as patterns in the private sector, to assess their impact on fair housing choice. Fair housing choice means that individuals and families have the information, opportunity, and options to live where they choose without unlawful discrimination and other barriers related to race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), familial status, or disability.
The Fair Housing Planning analysis of a Program Participant’s programs, policies, practices, and procedures from a fair housing perspective typically involves:
- A comprehensive review of state, entitlement jurisdiction, or PHA laws, regulations, administrative policies, procedures, and/or practices
- An assessment of how those laws, regulations, and administrative policies, procedures, and/or practices affect patterns of segregation and disparities in access to opportunity. For example, how does zoning and land use or siting decisions affect the location, availability, and accessibility of affordable housing?
- An assessment of conditions, both public and private, affecting fair housing choice for all protected classes
- An analysis of any actions, omissions, or decisions taken because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including sexual orientation and gender identity), familial status, or disability, which restrict housing choices or the availability of housing choices
As a Program Participant, you can strive to fulfill your AFFH obligation by conducting Fair Housing Planning, setting fair housing goals, and taking meaningful actions to affirmatively further fair housing. Depending on local context and fair housing issues, actions to affirmatively further fair housing might include: amending exclusionary zoning ordinances; allowing housing for special populations, such as group homes for persons with disabilities in a variety of zoning districts; creating housing mobility programs such as landlord outreach and incentive programs; leveraging resources to create new affordable housing in high-opportunity areas, and making comprehensive investments that go beyond housing to improve communities that have been historically disinvested.
Who does the AFFH mandate apply to?
In general, the AFFH mandate applies to HUD and its Program Participants, as well as all executive agencies and departments of the federal government. It relates to the administration of any program or activity relating to housing and urban development.
Program Participants means:
- Jurisdictions and Insular Areas, as described in 24 CFR 570.405 and defined in 24 CFR 570.3, that are required to submit consolidated plans for the following programs:
- PHAs receiving assistance under sections 8 or 9 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (42 U.S.C. 1437f or 42 U.S.C.1437g).
- Have you identified a Fair Housing Plan Coordinator and relevant departments in the Program Participant?
- Have you identified regional partners, including other jurisdictions or PHAs?
- Have you reviewed the basics of fair housing, including the duty to affirmatively further fair housing?
You can find more about the history of civil rights and the Fair Housing Act here:
- HUD’s History of Fair Housing
- History – The Fair Housing Act at 50 – The National Fair Housing Alliance (fhact50.org)
- HUD Interactive Timeline (huduser.gov)
- The Fair Housing Act of 1968 | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives
- National Fair Housing Alliance: Seven Days video
- HUD: Fair Housing and Related Laws
- HUD AFFH Webpage
- File a complaint: HUD
- HUD Exchange: Fair Housing Opens the Door
- HUD: Fighting Housing Discrimination - One Family's Story
- HUD Video: Effects of Housing and Neighborhood on Children