AFFH is a concept from the 1968 Fair
Housing Act which requires recipients of Federal funding to use their
resources in ways that create equal access to housing opportunities outside of "traditional" (segregated) communities.. That means
investing in housing that improves integration of protected classes
into areas where they are under represented. While originally this
meant helping African Americans to move from less segregated areas,
AFFH also includes other racial/ethnic minorities (eg. Hispanics,
Asians, other...) and persons with disabilities.
The health, education, and employment benefits of deconcentration of low income and minority households are increasingly well documented. RHINO anticipates that AFFH will
be a hot issue for housing advocates, administrators and providers over
the last two years of the Obama administration and into the 2016
election cycle. One has the sense that the Administration wants AFFH to
be an Obama legacy program. Documents, studies and position papers are flowing out of think tanks faster than RHINO can keep up, but we'll try to keep you informed enough to understand and participate in discussions where you live.
Recent policy developments leading towards a new AFFH policy.
Early in the Obama
administration, HUD offered a series of incentives to jurisdictions
(states and local governments) to promote inclusion and mobility.
These programs ncluded programs like Choice Neighborhoods and
Sustainable Communities Planning Grants.HUD also created incentives
to deconcentrate place-based affordable housing. Now, HUD is taking
another step in implementing AFFH by regulation. With the new
guidance on AFFH, jurisdictions will be held to account for their
efforts towards AFFH.
New AFFH regulations will create controversy all around.
Conservatives have long opposed
expansion of affordable housing into previously "closed"
communities. Under the AFFH guidance, mobility is a key tool for
AFFH. Affordable housing advocates who are seeking to preserve
affordable units in low income communities fear that Federal funding
will shift towards vouchers and new developments in "opportunity
Here's the latest
August 18, 2016 Legal Aid of SW Ohio releases new report on affordability and geographic concentration "Virtually all affordable rental housing in Ohio developed through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program for families has been placed in highly-segregated, high poverty areas in Montgomery County and throughout the State of Ohio; maintaining historic patterns of racial and economic segregation." That's the conclusion of a new report on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, which is administered by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. The report was prepared by Abt Associates, a national research firm with expertise in housing. more here
April 3, 2016 Economic segregation is the wave of the present.
A new analysis of census data by Brookings Institution shows poverty becoming more concentrated since the Great Recession which ended in 2010. Ohio's cities rank among the highest in economic isolation. These data should challenge Ohio to start addressing concentrated poverty ASAP, but the reality is that all consideration of deconcentration probably on hold til after November elections.
Ohio Metro's percentage of poor population living in a
neighborhood with greater than 20% poverty rate
Ohio Metro's in top 100 Metro areas (see below)
10/17/15 NYT Ending the Cycle of Racial Isolation. "Racial discrimination in housing remains pervasive and well entrenched, and governments at all levels bear a heavy share of the blame. Despite paying lip service to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which required states and localities that receive federal money to try to overcome historical patterns of racial isolation, elected officials have often reinforced segregation through a range of policies. Among the most pernicious of these is the practice of building subsidized housing mainly in existing ghettos instead of in areas that offer low- and moderate-income families access to safe neighborhoods, good jobs and schools that allow their children to thrive."
7/8/15 HUD issues new AFFH guidance 6/2015 Inclusive Communities get a big win at the Supreme CourtThe news of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision on Obamacare overshadowed another big case: Texas vs. Inclusive Communities. In supporting the lower court decision in favor of Inclusive Communities (a non profit dedicated to deconcentrating affordable housing), SCOTUS upheld the principle of disparate impact in Fair Housing cases. Disparate Impact analysis looks at a policy or program that seems "NEUTRAL" but causes a discriminatory outcome. In the Texas case, the state policy of awarding tax credits had the effect of keeping low income housing out of wealthier white communities, thus perpetuating segregation. In the news coverage disparate impact is described as meaning that a complainant does not need to show that the impact was "intentional". This is misleading. What the court affirmed was that it is not necessary to show that the state of mind of the respondent in order to make a finding of discrimination. Some"knee jerkers" are claiming that "innocent" parties will be snagged by unintended consequences. NOT SO. The burden of proof on the complainant (person bringing the charge) is very high and having a rational non discriminatory purpose could offset a disparate impact claim. In the majority opinion, SCOTUS also cautioned against "race conscious" remedies like quotas (another conservative bug-a-boo). Only a few of the media reports hit the real mark. Disparate Impact has been an element of Fair Housing enforcement for many years. The decision is important because this is the first time it has reached the Supreme court. A local disparate impact case was just settled in Medina Ohio where the Justice Department found that a priority for "residents" atMedina Metrohad the effect of discriminating against African Americans because so few AA's were living in Medina County. Keep in mind that disparate impact analysis is normally used in cases of SYSTEMIC discrimination where "the system" is rigged against certain classes of tenants. These cases are often handled differently than an individual denial of housing. Finally you all know that discrimination is more than race, but includes protections for religion, color, ancestry, female headed households, households with children and households with persons with disability and...in Ohio...military status (active duty and vets). morehereand here
2/2015 Supreme Court hears Texas v. Inclusive Communities.
At Inclusion Partners the last
several weeks there's been news about Affirmatively Furthering Fair
Housing. What's the big deal? Well...if the lameduckers at HUD are
serious, AFFH will be a legacy program. I think they are serious and
that they will challenge every grant recipient to "make it so". Their
solution is "mobility:...on the theory that "zip code is destiny" if
this analysis is correct, a mobility only strategy leaves locality
developers and affordable housing preservationists out in the cold
But never fear, eventually the pendulum will swing back. At the same
time, look for HUD to be promoting programs which enrich
socially/demographically impacted communities That's right: policies to promote mobility and programs to enrich locality development. Got it? Why
is this important to you? As community practitioners and leaders you
are in a position to shape your community's response to the new HUD
directives. more here.
The sociology behind AFFH. In a short article entitled "Why whites
don't understand black segregation" Dan Keating captures the problem
that prompts HUDsters to be so active in promoting Affirmatively
Furthering Fair Housing. "Over the past 20 years, whites and blacks
have experienced opposite trends in segregation. Asians, Hispanics and
blacks are moving into historically white neighborhoods. Vastly fewer
whites live surrounded by just other white people. Whites look around
and see multi-ethnic neighbors. They perceive expanded opportunity and
integration because that is what they see. And they think everyone else
is experiencing the same things."
not convinced that zip code is destiny? Here's an article on a new
study of "Million dollar neighborhoods". Jonathan Rothwell writes: "In a
new analysis published in Economic Geography, Douglas Massey of
Princeton and I find that another element of parental advantage—the
neighborhood in which they raise their children—matters a great deal.
The effect of neighborhood income is 50 to 66 percent of the parental
income effect, so that growing up in a poor neighborhood would wipe out
much of the advantage of growing up in a wealthy household. Lifetime
earnings are $900,000 (or $730,000 in net present value terms) higher
for those raised in top quintile neighborhoods than for individuals from
bottom quintile neighborhoods. That is slightly larger than the
difference between the average college and high school graduate."
Steps for HUD recipients that could affirmatively further fair housing?