Housing Tool Details, Background & Training

Summary of fair housing and equity assessment for the sustainable communities grant.

Housing AnalysisHUD requires all recipients of Sustainable Communities grants to complete a Fair Housing and Equity Assessment (FHEA). The Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Utah is preparing the FHEAs for the entitlement counties and cities in the study region (Salt Lake, Utah, Davis and Weber Counties). HUD grantees are pioneers in the development of FHEAs. Henceforth all entitlement cities and counties will be required by HUD to include an FHEA in their five-year consolidated plans.

An FHEA is comprised of three key elements: (1) data, (2) deliberation and (3) decisions.

Data - the data element is the most time intensive. HUD divides this element or task into five key areas of inquiry for each entitlement jurisdiction: (1) Segregation - trends in the spatial concentration of minority populations across cities and census tracts within the region, (2) Racially and Ethnically Concentrated Areas of Poverty (RCAP and ECAP) – identification of locations of minority households living in poverty, (3) Disparities in Opportunity – analysis of data on education, access to the transportation system, proximity to employment centers, housing affordability, shortages of healthcare, food deserts, etc. (4) Fair Housing Infrastructure – discussion of the procedure and process cities have in place for adjudicating housing discrimination complaints and (5) Physical Infrastructure Investments – an analysis of current and future impacts on access to opportunity of investment in freeway/highways, light rail/street car lines, fixed bus routes, recreation trails, large commercial development, hospitals, etc.

Deliberation – Key groups engage with the findings of the FHEA. Key groups are: entitlement jurisdictions, MPOs, COGs, school districts, public health departments, transit agencies, housing authorities, fair housing organizations, economic development agencies and housing finance agencies. In addition the findings should be shared and discussed with communities of color, immigrant communities and other underrepresented communities to include their views on barriers to their opportunities and aspirations.

Decisions – HUD refers to this element of the FHEA as the Bridge. A city or county uses the findings of FHEA and the results of deliberation to set priorities and develop a measurable action plan to enhance equity and access to opportunity and mitigate impediments to fair housing choice.

Cities and counties should not view the FHEA as a discrete task but rather a process to develop and participate in a regional vision that integrates housing, economic development and capital investment decisions. The FHEA should inform a city's scenario planning and introduce issues of equity into the discussion of new investments, planning and policy. Findings of the FHEA should also be incorporated regionally through Regional Transportation Plans and the planned statewide Quality Growth Strategy of Envision Utah.