Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
What’s the purpose of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)?
AFFH 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. Government policies, exclusionary tactics, and discriminatory treatment have long been key components of the housing system which encouraged unequal housing opportunities based on race.
To address these circumstances, Congress established the Fair Housing Act in 1968 to prohibit discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, and national origin. Over time the law expanded its protections to include discrimination based on sex, disability, and familial status. The law also introduced the need to go beyond just prohibiting discrimination to instead creating real housing choice by affirmatively furthering fair housing.
Which legislation established Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing requirements?
In 2018, the California State Legislature passed AB 686 to expand upon the fair housing requirements and protections outlined in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The law requires all state and local public agencies to facilitate deliberate action to explicitly address, combat, and relieve disparities resulting from past patterns of segregation to foster more inclusive communities. The law also creates new requirements that apply to all housing elements due for revision on or after January 1, 2021.
The passage of AB 686 protects the requirement to affirmatively further fair housing within California state law, regardless of future federal actions. It also preserves the strong policy in the U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HUD) Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule as published in the Federal Register in 2015.
As of January 1, 2019, AB 686 proactively applies the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing to all public agencies in California. Public agencies must now examine existing and future policies, plans, programs, rules, practices, and related activities and make proactive changes to promote more inclusive communities.
Where can I learn more about Hayward’s fair housing conditions?
California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) created an interactive statewide AFFH Data Viewer to assist in the assessment of fair housing. HCD solicited feedback from advocates, councils of government, partner public agencies, and academic research groups to ensure the first iteration of the tool consolidates relevant data and provides options for addressing each component within the Assessment of Fair Housing (within the Housing Element). It consists of mapped data layers in six categories:
- Fair Housing Enforcement and Outreach Capacity
- Segregation and Integration
- Disparities in Access to Opportunity
- Disproportionate Housing Needs/Displacement Risk
- Racially Concentrated Areas of Poverty and Affluence
- Supplemental Data
The interactive maps can be explored in any internet browser and exported as a PDF, jpeg, and other image files. In addition, the underlying data layers can be downloaded for offline data analysis. HCD plans to continuously update these map layers and add additional data, as well as incorporate user feedback. Comments can be submitted to AFFHGuidance@hcd.ca.gov.
What strategies are recommended to promote fair housing?
Mobility Strategies consist of removing barriers to housing in areas of opportunity and strategically enhancing access. New Housing Choices in Areas of Opportunity means promoting housing supply, choices and affordability in areas of high opportunity and outside of areas of concentrated poverty. Examples include:
- Voucher mobility;
- Housing mobility counseling;
- City-wide affordable rental registries;
- Landlord outreach to expand the location of participating voucher properties;
- Assistance with security deposits and moving expenses;
- Extend search times for particular groups such as larger families with children or persons with disabilities;
- Regional cooperation and administration of vouchers (such as through portability and shared waiting lists);
- Affirmative marketing can be targeted at promoting equal access to government-assisted housing or to promote housing outside the immediate neighborhood to increase awareness and the diversity of individuals in the neighborhood;
- Collaborate with high performing school districts to promote a diversity of students and staff to serve lower income students;
- Developing multifamily housing opportunities;
- Encouraging the development of four or more units in a building; and
- Accessibility programs focus on improving access to housing, public buildings and facilities, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and businesses
- Zoning, permit streamlining, fees, incentives and other approaches to increase housing choices and affordability (e.g., duplex, triplex, multifamily, accessory dwelling units, transitional and supportive housing) in high opportunity areas;
- Target housing creation or mixed income strategies (e.g., funding, incentives, policies and programs, density bonuses, land banks, housing trust funds);
- Inclusionary requirements;
- Scattered site affordable development;
- Targeted investment and programs, including sweat equity, down payment assistance, new rental construction;
- Accessibility modification programs;
- Leveraging in-home or community based supportive services; and
- Develop a campaign to combat local opposition