MReport August 2020

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M R EP O RT | 61 O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST GOVERNMENT HUD: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Regulation to be Terminated The Department spotlighted the Opportunity Zones program as shifting "the burden away from communities so they are not forced to comply with complicated regulations." T he Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Secretary Dr. Benjamin Carson announced that the Department will terminate the Obama Administration Affirma- tively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation. This regulation was issued in 2015 and, according to HUD, proved to be "complicated, costly, and ineffective." HUD added that Secretary Carson suspended the regulations 92 question grading tool in January 2018. "After reviewing thousands of comments on the proposed changes to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation, we found it to be un- workable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with, too often resulting in funds being steered away from commu- nities that need them most," said Secretary Carson. "Instead, the Trump Administration has estab- lished programs like Opportunity Zones that are driving billions of dollars of capital into underserved communities where affordable housing exists, but opportunity does not. "Programs like this shift the burden away from communities so they are not forced to comply with complicated regulations that require hundreds of pages of reporting and instead allow com- munities to focus more of their time working with Opportunity Zone partners to revitalize their communities so upward mobility, improved housing, and home- ownership is within reach for more people. Washington has no business dictating what is best to meet your local community's unique needs." HUD's new rule—Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice—defines fair housing to mean housing is affordable, safe, decent, free of unlawful discrimi- nation, and accessible under civil rights laws. The rule defines "affirmatively furthering fair housing" as any ac- tion rationally related to promot- ing any of the above attributes of fair housing. "Now, a grantee's certification that it has affirmatively furthered fair housing would be deemed sufficient if it proposes to take any action above what is required by statute related to promoting any of the attributes of fair hous- ing," HUD states. "HUD remains able to terminate funding if it discovers, after the investigation made pursuant to a complaint or by its own volition, that a jurisdiction has not adhered to its commitment to AFFH."

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