Resources and Tools
by Joseph Griffiths, AICP, Local Assistance and Training Manager
As of January 1, 2023, HB 90 (2021) requires all housing elements for municipalities and non-charter counties to “affirmatively further fair housing” (AFFH). This adds to the requirements to plan for affordable housing that HB 1045 (2019) initiated in June 2020.
The Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) recently published an HB 90 webpage to help jurisdictions incorporate the new fair housing requirements into their comprehensive plan housing elements.
The new webpage summarizes the bill, describes the history of AFFH, and organizes available resources and suggestions into five categories: 1) Defining and Explaining AFFH; 2) Fair Housing Data and Mapping Resources; 3) Community Engagement and Jurisdiction Self-Reflection; 4) Analysis of Fair Housing; and 5) Fair Housing Goals, Policies, Actions, and Best Practices.
Planning encourages jurisdictions to review the webpage and the resources it contains, and tailor a fair housing assessment meeting the needs and unique context of their community. Land Use Article §3-114, which HB 90 modified, specifies the flexibility that jurisdictions have in addressing fair housing.
While requiring a housing element to “include an assessment of fair housing to ensure that the local jurisdiction is affirmatively furthering fair housing”, it also states that the law “does not require a local jurisdiction to take, or prohibit a local jurisdiction from taking, a specific action to affirmatively further fair housing”.
The federal government is also closely examining AFFH. On January 19, 2023, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced its new proposed AFFH rule. The press release states that the proposed rule “is designed to simplify the required fair housing analysis, emphasize goal-setting, increase transparency for public review and comment, foster local commitment to addressing fair housing issues, enhance HUD technical assistance to local communities, and provide mechanisms for regular program evaluation and greater accountability, among other changes”. HUD is seeking public review and comment on the new proposed rule, which may be submitted via http://www.regulations.gov/.
Planning, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, continues to collaborate on enhanced resources and guidance to help jurisdictions meet the new requirements of HB 90.
If you have any questions, or would like some assistance with fair housing planning, please contact Joe Griffiths, Local Assistance and Training Manager for the Maryland Department of Planning, at email@example.com.