May 13, 2016
Affirmatively Furthering Neighborhood Choice
Jim Kelly has posted Affirmatively Furthering Neighborhood Choice: Vacant Property Strategies and Fair Housing to SSRN (forthcoming in the University of Memphis Law Review). He writes,
With the Supreme Court’s Inclusive Cmtys. Project decision in June 2015 and the Obama Administration’s adoption, the following month, of the Final Rule for Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, local government accountability for ending segregation and resolving the spatial mismatch between affordable housing and economic opportunity has been placed on a more solid footing. Instead of being responsible only for overt, conscious attempts to harm protected groups, jurisdictions that receive money from HUD will need to take a hard look at their policies that perpetuate the barriers to housing opportunity for economically marginalized protected groups. The duty to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, although somewhat aspirational in its formulation, requires HUD grant recipients to engage with fair housing issues in a way that the threat of litigation, even disparate impact litigation, never has.
For cities struggling with soft residential real estate markets, HUD’s concerns about land use barriers to affordable housing may seem tone deaf. Advocates challenging exclusionary policies have often focused on cities with high housing costs. Even a city with large vacant problems, such as Baltimore, was sued primarily because of its location with a strong regional housing market. But, concerns about social equity in revitalizing communities make the Final Rule’s universal approach to AFFH very relevant to cities confronting housing abandonment in its older, disinvested neighborhoods. This Articles has shown that attention to the Final Rule’s new Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) reporting system is warranted both as a protective measure and as an opportunity to advance core goals of creating and sustaining an attractive and inclusive network of residential urban communities. (30-31)
For those of us who have trouble parsing the contemporary state of fair housing law in general and the AFFH rule in particular, the article provides a nice overview. And it offers insight into how fair housing law can help increase “the supply of decent, affordable housing options to members of protected groups . . .” (2) Not a bad twofer for one article.| Permalink