Funded on December 1, 2020

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), enhancing federal efforts to hold local governments accountable in reducing segregation. The Trump administration rescinded this rule in early 2018, but eight states continue to implement AFFH programs. With recent legislation incorporating AFFH in its Housing Element Law, California now has perhaps the most expansive approach to AFFH in the country. All local governments in the state must update the Housing Element of their general plan over the next two years (2020-2022), a process through which they must plan to accommodate housing growth over an eight-year period and demonstrate to the state they have zoned an adequate number of sites for low-income housing.  

This project will evaluate various data sources to answer the following: 

  1. Compared to the previous planning period, ending 2021-2022, are cities implementing zoning practices for low-income housing in a way that would affirmatively further fair housing? 

  1. Do procedural constraints to multifamily and low-income housing production vary across neighborhoods within the same city? Has the AFFH rule pushed local governments to acknowledge and reform these practices? 

  1. Has AFFH changed cities’ public outreach and engagement practices?  

  1. What processes, decisions, or characteristics distinguish cities that are making progress on the siting of low-income housing? 

The California housing element process presents a unique opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention at the state level before potential future re-adoption or revision by HUD and could inform critical housing policy across the country.