Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined a coalition of six attorneys general and six cities in filing an amicus brief opposing HUD’s suspension of the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.
Under the Rule, localities receiving certain HUD funding were required to conduct and submit an "Assessment of Fair Housing" using a federally provided tool. The rationale behind the rule was to give communities an effective planning approach to "aid them in making meaningful actions to overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination."
On May 23, HUD indefinitely suspended the rule and withdrew the assessment tool. This latest rule change builds on a January 2018 notice that delayed the submission deadline for an estimated 856 localities, and drew a lawsuit from the National Fair Housing Alliance and the State of New York.
Attorney General Healey posted on Twitter, “When people have access to safe, affordable housing, families are healthier and children do better in school. We joined our colleagues to fight back against an attempt by the Trump Administration to rollback a basic civil right – equal access to housing.”
In the short time the Rule has been in place, many states and cities have benefited from the higher quality data and assessment tools provided by HUD, the focus on community engagement, and the requirement that grantees develop goals to address barriers to fair housing. The brief highlights the City of Boston’s progress under the rule and cites a letter submitted to HUD by the Boston Tenant Coalition. The letter describes their joint efforts with the city, including 14 community meetings and over 2,500 responses to a housing survey.
Under the rule, approximately 35 Massachusetts localities were given submission deadlines. Prior to the January 2018 delay, Boston was granted an extension and Somerville was approved.
The brief was filed by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. Joining Maryland and Massachusetts were the attorneys general of California, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Washington; and the cities of Austin, TX; New Orleans, LA; Oakland, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; and Toledo, OH.