The Build Healthy Places Network, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, hosted a live discussion, on February 19, 2020, regarding the proposed changes to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. These changes ultimately weaken the oversight and accountability for agencies receiving federal housing dollars allowing them to implement policies or programs without consideration for the impact on groups that have been historically discriminated against in the past.
Learn about the connection between residential segregation and health, the proposed AFFH change and what it could mean for health equity, how cities are currently using the rule, and what we can do as a community in response to the proposed change.
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) adopted the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which sets out a framework for local governments, states, and public housing agencies to act to overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination. On January 14, 2020, HUD formally published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would redefine the AFFH rule, eliminating its focus on addressing residential segregation.
The proposed AFFH rule change removes protections for racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and others to access housing without facing discrimination. The new rule would no longer require that local governments or housing authorities address, or even consider, legacies of unequal housing opportunities. This weakening of oversight and accountability for agencies receiving federal housing dollars means that agencies are allowed to implement policies or programs, without consideration for the impact on groups that have been discriminated against in the past.
The Network’s Executive Director, Dr. Douglas Jutte, moderated a rich discussion with three experts:
- Dr. David R. Williams: Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Professor of African and African American Studies and Sociology at Harvard University
- Megan Haberle: Deputy Director, Poverty & Race Research Action Council
- Cashauna Hill: Executive Director, Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center
Closing Remarks from Giridhar Mallya, Senior Policy Officer, Robert Wood Johnson
Watch the webinar
Check out these resources to learn more about the organization’s profiled in this event:
- The recording is available here
- Proposed Rule Change Text and Option to Submit Comments (due by March 16): https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=HUD-2020-0011-0001
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation AFFH Fact Sheet and Summary (both include language you can use for developing your comments): https://rwjf.ws/2HyiO5F
- Speaker Biographies: https://bit.ly/3bP6ZWD
Build Healthy Places Network Publications:
- AFFH rule change’s impact on social determinants of health: https://www.buildhealthyplaces.org/whats-new/changes-to-affh-will-undermine-social-determinants-of-health/
- Opportunity Zones:
- Medium article: https://medium.com/bhpn-crosswalk/opportunity-zones-an-imperfect-policy-with-potential-7738966e6658
- Resource on Opportunity Zones: https://www.buildhealthyplaces.org/resources/opportunity-zones-resource-hub/
- Climate Displacement article: https://medium.com/bhpn-crosswalk/three-approaches-to-preventing-climate-displacement-4cb68d3a680e
Resources mentioned by Dr. David Williams:
- Raj Chetty’s Opportunity Atlas: https://www.opportunityatlas.org/
- Book: The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
- The Highest Stage of White Supremacy by John Cell: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/highest-stage-of-white-supremacy/7C4D8113773DDF26CEB69B72D34FBCF1
- Are Ghettos Good or Bad? by Economist David Cutler: link to full pdf
- Virginia Commonwealth University’s Life Expectancy Maps: https://societyhealth.vcu.edu/work/the-projects/mapping-life-expectancy.html
- Child Opportunity Index: http://www.diversitydatakids.org/child-opportunity-index
- Community Benefit Resource: https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hpb20160225.954803/abs/