Regional Housing Legal Services (RHLS) and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project (PULP) condemns the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s decision to abolish the Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. In practice, the AFFH rule is a tool that helps communities make plans and policies that address systemic racism in affordable housing and community development. The AFFH rule provides a structured process to address communities of concentrated poverty, which may have poor housing conditions, underfunded schools, infrastructure issues, and environmental hazards—all conditions that negatively affect the health of those who live in the community, often people of color.
Further, RHLS is concerned with the removal of data related to the AFFH rule that allows communities to assess equity and progress toward equity.
In June, RHLS and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project (PULP) issued a statement that affirms our commitments to racial justice as inseparable from our “common mission of economic justice.” RHLS holds that dismantling AFFH will only exacerbate issues of systemic racism and will ultimately harm Pennsylvania communities.
As promised in our joint statement, RHLS will deliberately listen and learn from the experiences of Black and brown communities; demand transparency in the distribution of public resources; and continue assessment of our internal programs, policies, and practices with the goal of dismantling the forces that perpetuate racism. RHLS commits to engaging in systems change that restores the good work accomplished by the AFFH rule and supports policies that create stable, affordable, and healthy housing for communities of color.