Fair Housing in California - June 2, 2019

Fair Housing in California - June 2, 2019

A discussion panel examining AB 686 and its effects on housing in California.

housing solutions panel

Housing crisis: Solutions on the horizon? 

California’s New Fair Housing Law: What Does it Mean for Marin?

 New  law requires every California city and county to identify and address disparities in housing and access to opportunities. How much will these new laws and rules affect local control? Will it change our local zoning? What happens if the law isn't followed?

On Sunday, June 2, 2:30 PM a panel of distinguished experts will present information on the implementation of this new law and discuss potential implications for every jurisdiction in California and most importantly Marin's towns and cities.

Speaking will be Megan Kirkeby, Assistant Deputy Director for Fair Housing of the State Department of Housing and Community Development, Jessica Trounstine, Associate Professor at the University of California, Merced, and Alicia Klein, Associate Director of Housing Development at Resources for Community Development (RCD). Cesar Lagleva, United Marin Rising, will moderate the discussion and there will be time for interaction with the audience. 

Simultaneous translation into Spanish will be available. 

The event will be at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street from 2:30 to 5:00 pm. There is no charge for admission but registration is requested in order to plan. Light refreshments will be available.

Fair housing requirementshave been enforced under the federal Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968).  In 2015, the federal government issued updated and stronger regulations for jurisdictions accessing certain federal funds, requiringrecipients to affirmatively further fair housing including an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) every five years. Although the Trump administration withdrew the AFH regulations, the California legislature passed AB 686 the 2015 federal AFH regulations into AB 686.

Much of AB 686 became effective on January 1, 2019. The rest will become effective as the next round of Housing Elements are prepared by the cities and counties in California. Never before has each jurisdiction in California, including the Public Housing Authorities, been subject to state requirements for affirmatively furthering fair housing. 

According to the new law,

“Affirmatively furthering fair housing” means taking meaningful actions, in addition to combating discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics. Specifically, affirmatively furthering fair housing means taking meaningful actions that, taken together, address significant disparities in housing needs and in access to opportunity, replacing segregated living patterns with truly integrated and balanced living patterns, transforming racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty into areas of opportunity, and fostering and maintaining compliance with civil rights and fair housing laws. The duty to affirmatively further fair housing extends to all of a public agency’s activities and programs relating to housing and community development."

Supported by the Marin Community Foundation, Community Action Marin, the Marin Chapter of the ACLU of Northern California, and Marin Housing Solutions, admission to this event is free.

Register at Eventbrite under Fair Housing in California AB 686 Impacts of Cities & Counties (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fair-housing-in-california-ab-686-impacts-on-cities-counties-tickets-60673771885)

For further details, please contact Chandra Alexandre, CEO, Community Action Marin - Phone: 415-526-7500


Download PDF flier, click here or on the image

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Download PDF Flier, click here or on the image

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An Assessment of Fair Housing, or AFH, is a new approach to identifying fair housing challenges in a city and region. This document differs from the formerly required Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI) in that embraces a more comprehensive planning process, focusing on economic, as well as housing, barriers. The AFH is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of communities that accept federal housing and community development funding. As a condition of receiving these funds, states, counties and cities must certify that they will “Affirmatively Further Fair Housing” choice—or AFFH. The AFFH requirement originates from the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which requires that HUD administer programs and activities relating to housing and urban development in a manner that affirmatively furthers the policies of the Act.

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.