Furthering Fair Housing

The Fair Housing Act has two goals: to end housing discrimination and to promote diverse, inclusive communities. The second goal is referred to as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), and it embodies our strongly-held American values of fair access and equal opportunity.

Diverse, inclusive communities with access to good jobs, schools, health care, transportation, and housing are crucial to our nation’s prosperity in the 21st century. A hard-learned lesson from the recent economic crisis is that when some of our communities are targeted for discriminatory practices, all of our communities are harmed. Our global competitiveness is challenged when all of our communities do not have the opportunity to succeed together.

The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule

On Friday, July 19, 2013, the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), the federal agency charged with writing the rules for the Fair Housing Act, issued a proposed new regulation to implement the affirmatively furthering fair housing requirements of the Fair Housing Act. Through the new rule, HUD proposes to provide its program participants (states, counties, municipalities and public housing agencies) with more effective means to affirmatively further the purposes and policies of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

HUD has received nearly 1,000 comments on the proposed rule, including comments from NFHA and comments from a group of 41 national civil rights, fair housing, women’s, disability, LGBT and consumer organizations and labor unions. HUD will be providing its grantees (and the public) with data, analytical tools and mapping tools (known as the “geospatial tool”) to help them carry out their responsibilities under the new rule. You can try HUD’s prototype of the geospatial tool.

On January 5, 2018, HUD effectively suspended implementation of the agency’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation. Read NFHA’s letter NFHA urging HUD to reverse the action and to resume immediate implementation of the rule.

Resources about Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

AFFH Resources

Government Reports and Publications

HUD Guidance Memos

HUD Report Cards

During the first term of the Obama Administration, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reaffirmed a broad commitment to fair housing. The Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) reviewed these efforts at HUD and has published its findings in a two-part report card, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing at HUD: A First Term Report Card:

AFFH Related Court Cases

The courts also play an important role in enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. Several court cases have been particularly important in affirming that tackling segregation was an integral part of Congress’ intent in enacting the Fair Housing Act and that HUD has both the authority and the responsibility to address this in administering its programs.

Population Trends/Residential Patterns

Information about population trends in the U.S. that is useful for understanding residential segregation and how it affects access to opportunity is available from many sources.

  • The Racial Dot Map, based on 2010 Census data and created by Dustin Cable at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia
  • Eric Fischer’s dot maps of population and race in the U.S., for 2000 and 2010
  • Daniel Denvir’s maps for Salon.com of the 10 most segregated urban areas in the U.S.
  • Project US2010
    Directed by Brown University sociologist John Logan, which provides maps, data and research examining recent changes in American society
  • Kirwan Institute Opportunity Mapping
    The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University pioneered the concept of a tool for identifying, building understanding of, and eliminating racialized structural barriers to opportunity in critical domains including equitable and sustainable communities, criminal justice, education, health and health care in order to build opportunity-rich neighborhoods.
  • The Urban Institute’s MicroTrends Blog, which looks at the changes and challenges facing metropolitan America, including those related to segregation and access to opportunity
  • The Equality of Opportunity Project—whose researchers are economists at Harvard University, UC Berkeley and the U.S. Treasury Department—provides data, research and maps looking at economic mobility in America, over time and across geographic areas.

Reports and Papers

News Articles

  • Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law” (ProPublica)An exploration of the politics and history of the Fair Housing Act and its goal of ending segregation. This article is part of the ProPublica series “Segregation Now: Investigating America’s Racial Divide.”
  • This American Life #512, “House Rules”“Where you live is important. It can dictate the quality of schools and hospitals, as well as things like cancer rates, unemployment, or whether the city repairs roads in your neighborhood. On this show, stories about destiny by address.”
  • Housing First,” a year-long special reporting project by NPR “explor[ing] why it’s so difficult for Americans with special needs to find good housing — and how the lack of housing often stymies their efforts to join, and flourish in, the mainstream of society.”
  • The Atlantic’s CityLab (formerly The Atlantic’s Cities) explores the most innovative ideas and pressing issues facing today’s global cities and neighborhoods.
  • The New York Times’ In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters” reports on a study finding that the odds of rising to another income level are notably low in cities such as Atlanta and Charlotte and much higher in New York and Boston.

Other Resources