To AFFH, a state, county or city must research housing barriers and develop a plan for mitigating barriers. This study is called the Assessment of Fair Housing, or AFH. In the case of Marin, the County receives and allocates all HOME and CDBG funds and is responsible for conducting the AFH for all the cities as well as the unincorporated area of Marin.
The overall goal of the AFH approach is to help communities improve economic conditions for all residents, in a way that best fits the community. It is important to note that the AFH is not a tool to change zoning or land use although these changes may help to address impediments to fair housing choice. For more on HUD’s approach to AFFH see https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp16affh-p4
The Assessment of Fair Housing calls out disparate treatment of the people who are members of the protected classes and broadens the meaning of impediments to equal housing opportunity. These topics include those related to equity, including law enforcement, health access, access to healthy food, educational achievement, access to transportation and others. The Analysis of Impediments done in 2011 indicated that many of these impediments could be addressed by nurturing a welcoming atmosphere in Marin to increased diversity. Certainly, the identification of areas where segregation and disparate impact is evident is a key to the Assessment of Fair Housing.
The main task for the County is to complete the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) which it began in 2016. The AFH needs to account for the commitments made in Implementation Plan that was approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2011 which resulted from the findings in the Analysis to Impediments in 2011.
Although, on a national basis, HUD has extended the deadline for submitting most Assessments of Fair Housing (AFH’s) from 2019 to 2020, the relationship between the local U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office and the County of Marin has not changed. Liz Darby recently reassured advocates that the County will be completing the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) according to the original commitment.