We serve as a resource for jurisdictions requiring guidance for the use of CDBG funds, affirmatively furthering housing and other Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs.
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and Assessment of Fair Housing
Recipients of federal money related to housing and community development must “affirmatively further fair housing,” which means that federal money cannot be used to further discriminatory practices. Federal money must be spent on restoring communities affected by housing discrimination and promoting integrated and sustainable communities.
By affirmatively furthering fair housing, government agencies must put in place policies and practices that embrace diversity, enrich our communities, and help our children and adults to succeed. In terms of practical application for entitlement jurisdictions, this means that recipients of federal housing funds are required to include real and effective fair housing strategies in their planning and development process that correspond to the spirit of the Fair Housing Act and attempt to rectify the consequences of a history of inequality. In other words, to receive federal money, jurisdictions are required to create a housing plan that equalizes opportunity in communities.
The Growth Management Act and Local Communities
The Growth Management Act (GMA) is a useful planning tool for officials and planners in Washington State, and the GMA’s goals and principles overlap with fair housing planning in a positive and useful way. The GMA and HUD recognize that local governments should work together and coordinate with the private sector in comprehensive land use and planning. Communities, in the interest of the public, must also share economic development programs with neighborhoods that are experiencing insufficient economic growth. This requirement essentially mandates that communities with high opportunity share resources with communities with low opportunity, which is a significant feature of the requirement to further fair housing.