Furthering Fair Housing

The Furthering Fair Housing project is gathering and analyzing the Assessments of Fair Housing created by municipalities across the country created in response to the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.

Project website

Furthering Fair Housing: Prospects for Racial Justice in America's Neighborhoods

The 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule was the most significant federal effort to increase equality of access to place-based resources and opportunities, such as high-performing schools or access to jobs, since the 1968 Fair Housing Act. However, in an effort to appeal to suburban voters, the Trump administration repealed the rule in 2020, leaving its future in doubt.

Furthering Fair Housing analyzes multiple dimensions of this rule, identifying failures of past efforts to increase housing choice, exploring how the AFFH Rule was crafted, measuring the initial effects of the rule before its rescission, and examining its interaction with other contemporary housing issues, such as affordability, gentrification, anti-displacement, and zoning policies.

The editors and contributors to this volume—a mix of civil rights advocates, policymakers, and public officials—provide critical perspectives and identify promising new directions for future policies and practices. Placing the history of fair housing in the context of the centuries-long struggle for racial equity, Furthering Fair Housing shows how this policy can be revived and enhanced to advance racial equity in America’s neighborhoods.

Contributors: Vicki Been, Raphael Bostic, Edward G. Goetz, Megan Haberle, Howard Husock, Reed Jordan, Michael C. Lens, Katherine O’Regan, Patrick Pontius, Alexander von Hoffman, and the editors


Survival of the Fairest: Examining HUD Reviews of Assessments of Fair Housing

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule, arguably the most significant federal effort in a generation to address place-based disparities in access to opportunity and to advance fair housing. In 2018, HUD suspended the rule, it said in part because of the resources it was expending to implement it and in part because of the large share of municipal plans that HUD determined had failed to meet the rule’s requirements. In this article, we present the first analysis of the fair housing plans that HUD did not accept, examining how municipalities failed to meet the rule's requirements, what those failures imply about advancing fair housing, and the extent to which HUD’s enforcement strategy was working before the suspension. Our analysis shows that HUD engaged in detailed reviews of municipalities’ Assessments of Fair Housing and provided constructive feedback. The most common issue with which municipalities struggled was setting realistic goals that would actually advance fair housing and creating measurable metrics and milestones to gauge progress. Several municipalities neglected to conduct thorough regional analyses or analyses of all relevant disparities in access to opportunity. Both shortcomings reflect broader challenges municipalities face in advancing fair housing, particularly in identifying strategies that address interconnected causes of disparities in access to opportunity and in building regional support to address those causes.


The Fairest of Them All: Analyzing Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Compliance

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule requires municipalities to formulate new plans to address obstacles to fair housing and disparities in access to opportunity. Although the rule provides a more rigorous structure for plan compliance than previously, as a form of metaregulation, it still gives substantial flexibility to localities. Are municipalities creating more robust fair housing plans under the new rule, and what types of municipalities are creating more rigorous goals? Analyzing the plans filed thus far, we find that municipalities propose significantly more robust goals under the new rule than they did previously. Local capacity is positively correlated with goals containing measurable objectives or new policies. Measures of local motivation are positively associated with goals that enhance household mobility or propose place-based investments.