Collaboration launched to complete a regional Assessment of Fair Housing.
AUSTIN - The City of Austin and nine other municipalities and regional housing authorities in Central Texas have launched a first-ever collaboration to complete a regional Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) to identify opportunities to eliminate housing discrimination, promote economic opportunity, and achieve diverse, inclusive communities.
The U.S. Fair Housing Act was created 50 years ago to prohibit discriminatory housing practices based on an individual’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial/marital status. The City of Austin has expanded that list of protected classes to also include national origin, age, student status, sexual orientation, source of income, or gender identity.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations require entities receiving funding to analyze the fair housing landscape and to set locally-determined priorities and goals. A regional analysis helps program participants identify fair housing issues across jurisdictional boundaries and minimizes duplication of effort. The analysis is set to begin in January 2018 with an evaluation of the fair housing policy landscape and the initiation of a community engagement process.
Specifically, HUD rules direct communities to address patterns of integration and segregation, identify racially/ethnically-concentrated areas of poverty, and ascertain disparities in housing access and needs. This is the first time the City of Austin has collaborated with other entities to complete a regional fair housing analysis. The partners will use the data to develop strategies to address obstacles to fair housing and community development in the region.
The other participants in the collaboration include: Housing Authority of the City of Georgetown, Housing Authority of the City of Austin, the City of Pflugerville, the City of Round Rock, and Housing Authority of the City of Round Rock, Housing Authority of the City of Taylor, the Housing Authority of Travis County, Travis County, and Williamson County.
“This is a unique partnership among cities and counties in Central Texas, because fair housing issues and affordability challenges do not stop at city or county boundaries,” said Rosie Truelove, Interim Director of the City of Austin’s Department of Neighborhood Housing and Community Development. “Conducting this Assessment of Fair Housing on a regional scale means that we will be able to identify barriers to fair housing more holistically across the Austin area and hopefully be able to address related contributing factors.”
“It also comes at an opportune moment, as the region deals with a dynamic housing market and growing affordability challenges,” Truelove said.
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