HCD Releases Updated Guidance to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing and Launches New Fair Housing Data Viewer
Ongoing technical assistance available to all public agencies. This National Fair Housing Month, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is pleased to release updated Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Guidance Memo along with a new interactive AFFH Data Viewer.
HCD’s mission is to promote safe, affordable homes and vibrant, inclusive, sustainable communities for all Californians. When housing choice and access are limited because of someone’s race, sexual orientation, or disability status, there are far-reaching impacts on access to job opportunity, access to quality education, and on one’s mental and physical health.
The release of this guidance and data tool come just as fair housing is regaining momentum at the federal level, signaled by the Biden Administration’s recent announcement indicating plans to reinstate two previous federal AFFH provisions — one that prevented the housing industry from enacting discriminatory policies that have disparate impact on minority groups and another that created a rule requiring communities to take action against discrimination and segregation in housing in order to receive federal funds.
What is AFFH?
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing seeks to combat housing discrimination, eliminate racial bias, undo historic patterns of segregation, and lift barriers that restrict access in order to foster inclusive communities and achieve racial equity, fair housing choice, and opportunity for all Californians.
With the passage of Assembly Bill 686 (2018), all of California’s public agencies have an obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. AB 686 requires state and local public agencies to take deliberate action to explicitly address, combat, and relieve disparities resulting from past and current patterns of segregation and to promote more inclusive communities.
Why it Matters
The disproportionate economic and housing impacts of COVID-19 on low-income families and people of color have reaffirmed how vital it is for public entities and local planning to maintain a focus on achieving racial equity and opportunity for all Californians. We knew even before the pandemic that people of color were more likely to experience housing insecurity. For example, the U.S. Census shows about 6.5 percent of Californians are Black, but they account for nearly 40 percent of our state’s homeless population.
HCD’s work in the last year has focused on building our capacity to make sure that the execution of our mission is informed by and accountable to the struggle to achieve racial equity and fair housing choice in California. But we know we can only begin to see change when all levels of government work together to meet the obligations we have to all Californians.
Data, Planning, and Action
New guidance memo and data viewer
AFFH is part of new requirements for any housing elements due to HCD beginning January 2021. These requirements include an assessment of fair housing practices, an analysis of the relationship between available sites and areas of high or low resources, and concrete actions in the form of programs to affirmatively further fair housing.
Given HCD’s role in reviewing housing elements, we are providing more comprehensive, ongoing support with an AFFH Guidance Memo and AFFH Data Viewer, which includes a mapping tool and resources to help local jurisdictions implement the new requirements. HCD will continue to add to this guidance and tools in collaboration with local partners, advocates, and researchers.
We know our struggle for racial equity is centuries in the making. AFFH is just one step. We hope you continue to work alongside us to meet a challenging but not insurmountable goal.
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