Jurisdictions & Government

Homeownership in Assessments of Fair Housing

June 1, 2022

Across the United States, Black and Latinx families are far less likely to own their residences than white families—and the gap has increased over the past few decades. The 1968 Fair Housing Act requires the federal government to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH), with the goal of ending discrimination and achieving equitable access to housing—including homeownership. With little accountability and few tools to further fair housing, however, the racial homeownership gap has remained largely unchanged. In 2015, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) introduced a promising rule that requires jurisdictions receiving federal housing funds to develop Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs) to document existing inequities in housing (e.g., racial segregation, disparities in access to opportunity for members of populations that have historically faced discrimination), outline goals to reduce them, develop strategies to address them, and ensure links between those goals and strategies with local consolidated plans and housing plans. HUD’s guidance for AFH development was open ended: jurisdictions were not mandated to set any specific goals, and there was no requirement that access to homeownership be prioritized.

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