The State of California’s 2020 Impediments to Fair Housing Choice report identified limited community awareness of fair housing protections and enforcement resources as an impediment. Cities and counties are now required to engage and document community involvement and participation efforts when updating their housing elements. Outreach efforts should be designed help identify problems and obtain local data and knowledge to assess fair housing matters in a jurisdiction’s housing element.
Outreach Capacity: HCD guidelines outline the following important components of meaningful outreach/engagement:
- Work with community-based organizations, fair housing organizations, and other community stakeholders to develop effective outreach and engagement plans
- Incorporate a variety of engagement techniques (e.g., meetings, surveys, stakeholder interviews)
- Provide accessible materials that avoid overly technical language
- Translate materials and make translation services available at meetings
- Market community meetings and provide for meetings at various times
- Make forums accessible (e.g., webcast, effective communication, reasonable accommodation procedures)
- Offer mini-grants to community-based organizations
Enforcement Capacity: HCD guidelines identify the following factors contribute to fair housing enforcement capacity:
- Lack of local private fair housing enforcement
- Lack of local public fair housing enforcement
- Lack of resources for fair housing agencies and organizations
- Lack of State or local fair housing laws to support strong enforcement
- Unresolved violations of fair housing or civil rights law (including challenges to protect the constitutional and statutory rights of unhoused people)
The fair housing enforcement and outreach capacity analysis should include the following:
- Patterns and trends (both local and regional)
- Local data and knowledge
- Other relevant factors
- Conclusion and summary of issues
Relevance to Housing in the San Joaquin Valley
New requirements for AFFH in housing elements are applicable to all jurisdictions. This is especially relevant given that several fair housing indicators appear to be present throughout the Valley based upon a review of HCD’s AFFH Data Viewer. Limited local funding, resources, and staff with knowledge and/or capacity to address enforcement and outreach capacity make fully addressing AFFH to the satisfaction of HCD staff is challenging. Valley communities will be required to assess, analyze, and then prioritize actions relating to enforcement and ongoing outreach.
Of responding jurisdictions, 53.13 percent found fair housing enforcement and outreach capacity to be moderately to extremely important while 31.26 percent found it to be not or slightly important. The survey also found that only 16 percent of jurisdictions are unlikely to need technical assistance to address AFFH matters, while 42 percent are likely or very likely to need some assistance. This relatively high percentage of assistance need likely results from new requirements to incorporate AFFH into housing elements.
Abundant guidance and data available on HCD’s AFFH website may explain why a relatively high percentage (42 percent) of respondents report not needing technical assistance. The AFFH Data Viewer depicts HUD FEHO data from 2013-2021. The data identifies most of the larger San Joaquin Valley cities with a relatively low number (0.26 to 0.5) of inquiries per 1,000 residents and smaller cities with an even lower number (<0.25). Given that affirmatively furthering fair housing is a new topic for the Valley, there are no local examples of this topic in local housing elements.
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