Elimination of Federal Housing Rule will remove requirement of local governments to provide data
on their efforts to advance Fair and Affordable Housing
Affirming his commitment to fair and affordable housing opportunities across Westchester County, County Executive George Latimer is denouncing U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s move to terminate the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation. In a Press Release, Carson described the AFFH regulation as “unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with,” proposing a new rule called “Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice,” which significantly reduces what a municipality is required to do to advance fair housing in exchange for federal funds.
Latimer said: “This weakened rule undermines a 52-year old law, which eliminated barriers to developing affordable housing opportunities. Affordable housing has long been one of the top priorities of my administration, and it is irresponsible to get rid of any tool that contributes to those opportunities, and ultimately better-rounded, more vibrant communities.”
Under the new rule, the grantee’s certification that it will affirmatively further fair housing simply means that the County will take “any action that is rationally related to promoting one or more attributes of fair housing.” The law would also eliminate the County’s requirement to complete an Assessment of Fair Housing. Ultimately, this combination fails to ensure compliance with the law and does little to advance fair housing.
Latimer continued: “We do not want to live in a segregated Westchester County. There is absolutely no evidence that supports that fair housing negatively affects property values, or the home rule. Without strong laws like AFFH in place, Westchester County will fail to be the diverse, multifaceted County we all want to call home.”