Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Assessment Tool: Solicitation of Comment-60-Day Notice Under Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 57949-57955 [2014-22956]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 187 / Friday, September 26, 2014 / Notices are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES (1) Type of Information Collection: Revision of a Currently Approved Collection. (2) Title of the Form/Collection: Verification Information System, Document Verification Request, and Document Verification Request Supplement. (3) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the DHS sponsoring the collection: Verification Information System, G–845, and G–845 Supplement; USCIS. (4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract: Primary: Federal Government or State, Local Government. The information collections allow for agencies to verify the immigration status of certain persons applying for benefits under certain entitlement programs. (5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond: The estimated total number of respondents for the Verification Information System is 12,711,033 and the estimated hour burden per response is 0.83 hours (5 minutes); G–845 Document Verification Request 260,406 at 0.83 hours (5 minutes); and G–845 Document Verification Request Supplement 5,141 at 0.83 hours (5 minutes). (6) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated with the collection: The total estimated annual hour burden associated with this collection is 1,275,420 hours. (7) An estimate of the total public burden (in cost) associated with the collection: The estimated total annual cost burden associated with this collection of information is $0.00. If you need a copy of the information collection instrument with instructions, or additional information, please visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal site at: http://www.regulations.gov. We may also be contacted at: USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy, Regulatory Coordination Division, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20529–2140, telephone number 202–272–8377. 19:14 Sep 25, 2014 Jkt 232001 [FR Doc. 2014–22967 Filed 9–25–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–97–P Overview of This Information Collection VerDate Sep<11>2014 Dated: September 23, 2014. Samantha Deshommes, Acting Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Customs and Border Protection Approval of Intertek USA, Inc., as a Commercial Gauger U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security. ACTION: Notice of accreditation and approval of Intertek USA, Inc., as a commercial gauger. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given, pursuant to CBP regulations, that Intertek USA, Inc., has been approved to gauge petroleum and petroleum products for customs purposes for the next three years as of May 28, 2014. DATES: Effective Dates: The accreditation and approval of Intertek USA, Inc., as commercial gauger became effective on May 28, 2014. The next triennial inspection date will be scheduled for May 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Approved Gauger and Accredited Laboratories Manager, Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite 1500N, Washington, DC 20229, tel. 202– 344–1060. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice is hereby given pursuant to 19 CFR 151.13, that Intertek USA, Inc., 3741 Red Bluff Road, Suite 105, Pasadena, TX 77503, has been approved to gauge petroleum and petroleum products for customs purposes, in accordance with the provisions of 19 CFR 151.13. Intertek USA, Inc., is approved for the following gauging procedures for petroleum and certain petroleum products set forth by the American Petroleum Institute (API): 57949 from the entity that it is accredited or approved by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to conduct the specific gauger service requested. Alternatively, inquiries regarding the specific gauger service this entity is accredited or approved to perform may be directed to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection by calling (202) 344– 1060. The inquiry may also be sent to cbp.labhq@dhs.gov. Please reference the Web site listed below for a complete listing of CBP approved gaugers and accredited laboratories. http:// www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/ documents/gaulist_3.pdf. Dated: September 16, 2014. Ira S. Reese, Executive Director, Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate. [FR Doc. 2014–22946 Filed 9–25–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–14–P SUMMARY: API Chapters 3 ............... 7 ............... 8 ............... 12 ............. 17 ............. Title Tank gauging. Temperature Determination. Sampling. Calculations. Maritime Measurements. Anyone wishing to employ this entity to conduct gauger services should request and receive written assurances PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR–5173–N–02] Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Assessment Tool: Solicitation of Comment—60-Day Notice Under Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 Office of General Call, HUD. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: On July19, 2013, HUD published a proposed rule that would provide HUD program participants with a revised process to plan for fair housing outcomes that will assist them in meeting the statutory obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. In the proposed rule, HUD advised that it would issue an ‘‘Assessment Tool’’ for use by each program participant to evaluate fair housing choice in its jurisdiction, to identify barriers to fair housing choice at the local and regional levels, and to set and prioritize fair housing goals to overcome such barriers and advance fair housing choice. This Notice solicits public comment for a period of 60 days on the proposed version of Assessment Tool that is designed for use by entitlement jurisdictions other than States and joint submissions by entitlement jurisdictions and public housing agencies (PHAs). While the Assessment Tool that is the subject of this notice is designed for joint submissions by entitlement jurisdictions and PHAs, it presents the basic structure of the Assessment Tool to be used by all program participants, and is illustrative of the questions that will be asked of all program participants. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\26SEN1.SGM 26SEN1 57950 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 187 / Friday, September 26, 2014 / Notices In seeking comment for a period of 60 days, this notice commences the process for compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). The PRA requires two public comment periods— a public comment period of 60 days and a second comment period of 30 days. After consideration of the public comments submitted in response to this notice, HUD will solicit a second round of public comments for a period of 30 days. DATES: Comment Due Date: November 25, 2014. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this notice to the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street, SW., Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410–0500. Communications must refer to the above docket number and title. There are two methods for submitting public comments. All submissions must refer to the above docket number and title. 1. Submission of Comments by Mail. Comments may be submitted by mail to the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street, SW., Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410–0500. 2. Electronic Submission of Comments. Interested persons may submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. HUD strongly encourages commenters to submit comments electronically. Electronic submission of comments allows the commenter maximum time to prepare and submit a comment, ensures timely receipt by HUD, and enables HUD to make them immediately available to the public. Comments submitted electronically through the www.regulations.gov Web site can be viewed by other commenters and interested members of the public. Commenters should follow the instructions provided on that site to submit comments electronically. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Note: To receive consideration as public comments, comments must be submitted through one of the two methods specified above. Again, all submissions must refer to the docket number and title of the rule. No Facsimile Comments. Facsimile (FAX) comments are not acceptable. Public Inspection of Public Comments. All properly submitted comments and communications submitted to HUD will be available for public inspection and copying between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at the above address. Due to security measures at the HUD Headquarters building, an advance VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:14 Sep 25, 2014 Jkt 232001 appointment to review the public comments must be scheduled by calling the Regulations Division at 202–708– 3055 (this is not a toll-free number). Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals with speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. Copies of all comments submitted are available for inspection and downloading at www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Camille E. Acevedo, Associate General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street, SW., Room 10282, Washington, DC 20410–0500; telephone number 202–708–1793 (this is not a tollfree number). Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and persons with speech impairments may access this number through TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background On July 19, 2013, at 78 FR 43710, HUD published, for public comment, a proposed rule entitled ‘‘Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.’’ The proposed rule provided a new approach that will enable program participants to more fully incorporate fair housing considerations into their existing planning processes and assist them in their efforts to comply with their duty to affirmatively further fair housing as required by the Fair Housing Act, which is Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act, and other authorities. The Fair Housing Act not only prohibits discrimination but, in conjunction with other statutes, directs HUD’s program participants to take proactive steps to overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination. The new approach proposed by HUD would replace the current analysis of impediments (AI) process. As provided in the proposed rule, the new approach is designed to assist program participants in analyzing their fair housing environment, identifying fair housing issues and the related determinants, setting and prioritizing fair housing goals, and, ultimately, taking meaningful actions to affirmatively further fair housing. The new approach builds upon and refines the fair housing elements of the existing planning processes that program participants currently undertake. To assist program participants in improving planning for fair housing PO 00000 Frm 00082 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 outcomes, HUD advised in the proposed rule that it would issue an ‘‘Assessment Tool’’ for use in completing the assessment of fair housing (AFH) that program participants would undertake in accordance with the proposed rule. To further ease the burden on program participants in carrying out their duties under the proposed rule, HUD stated in the proposed rule that it would provide States, local governments, insular areas, and public housing agencies (PHAs), as well as the communities they serve, with local and regional data on patterns of integration and segregation; racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty (R/ECAPs); access to education, employment, low-poverty neighborhoods, transportation, and environmental health, among other critical community assets; disproportionate housing needs; and data on individuals with disabilities and families with children. Using these data, together with other available local data and local knowledge, program participants will evaluate their present environment to assess fair housing issues, identify significant determinants that influence or contribute to those issues, and set forth fair housing priorities and goals to address fair housing issues and determinants. HUD submitted that the benefit of this approach is that these priorities and goals would better inform program participants’ strategies and actions by enabling program participants to improve the integration of the fair housing planning with current planning exercises. At the time of publication of the proposed rule, HUD had not completed work on the Assessment Tool and therefore it was not published with the proposed rule. Many commenters advised that they welcome HUD’s proposal to make such a tool available but needed to see the tool and have the opportunity for comment. This notice provides HUD program participants and other interested members of the public with the opportunity to comment on the draft Assessment Tool. Additionally, at the time of publication of the proposed rule, HUD posted a draft ‘‘Data Documentation’’ paper online at www.huduser.org/portal/affht_pt.html, and requested public comments on the categories, sources and format of data that will be provided by HUD. Many public comments were received on the Data Documentation paper, and several of the suggestions raised by commenters are reflected in the proposed Assessment Tool. As noted in the Summary of this document, the Assessment Tool that HUD is submitting for public comment E:\FR\FM\26SEN1.SGM 26SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 187 / Friday, September 26, 2014 / Notices is primarily designed for use by entitlement jurisdictions other than States and for entitlement jurisdictions and public housing agencies that are submitting a joint AFH. This Assessment Tool is not the tool that will be used by regionally collaborating entitlement jurisdictions or PHAs that will not be making a joint submission nor will it be used by States and Insular Areas. However, this Assessment Tool that HUD is submitting for public comment through this notice, although primarily tailored for entitlement jurisdictions and joint submissions by entitlement jurisdictions and PHAs, serves as HUD’s design for the Assessment Tool to be used by all program participants. HUD expects the topics and analysis included in this Assessment Tool to be very similar to the content in Assessment Tools designed for use by other entities. Further, while HUD is releasing the template in paper form for purposes of public comment, ultimately program participants will complete the assessment via a web-based system that will guide participants’ through the data and required analysis. Instructions will accompany each version of the Assessment Tool. Additionally, guidance on specific AFFH issues will be issued. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES II. The Assessment Tool A. Sources of Data and Information To Complete the Assessment of Fair Housing HUD-Provided Data: As discussed in the proposed rule, one of HUD’s major considerations in formulating the new AFFH planning process was to provide for meaningful fair housing planning while reducing the burden on program participants by providing the Assessment Tool and certain nationally uniform data to program participants that would be needed to complete an AFH. While HUD will provide nationally uniform data, there are other important data sources that may be available and relevant locally, including data that are unavailable from a nationally uniform source. HUD will continue to explore the types of data that may be available to assist program participants in performing an AFH and the feasibility of providing additional data in the future. Local Data and Local Knowledge: In addition to the national uniform data provided by HUD, program participants will be required to use available local data and local knowledge to inform their assessments. While the AFH process will not require program participants to create or compile new VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:14 Sep 25, 2014 Jkt 232001 data, program participants must consider existing local data and local knowledge that is relevant in order to answer questions in the Assessment Tool. Available local data and local knowledge include data and information gained through the community participation, consultation, and coordination processes set out in the proposed rule at § 5.158. Available local data are existing data pertaining to a respective jurisdiction or region that are relevant to the AFH, that are either known or become known to the program participant or that can be found through a reasonable amount of searching, and that are readily available at little or no cost. Local knowledge, on the other hand, is information relating to a respective jurisdiction or region that is relevant to the AFH and is known or becomes known to the program participant. A complete AFH includes an assessment of available local data and local knowledge that are relevant to fair housing issues and determinants to ensure that the AFFH priorities and goals identified in the AFH are consistent with evidence available to the program participant Simply stated, a program participant is expected to respond to inquiries in the analysis section of the Assessment Tool using HUD-provided data, and available local data, and local knowledge that are relevant. To the extent that HUD does not provide data for a program participant to respond to a question or questions in the Assessment Tool, and local data and local knowledge that would be responsive to a question or questions in the Assessment Tool are not readily available, the lack of data or knowledge may be noted as an acceptable and complete response to that particular question. However, if HUD finds that an AFH analysis is materially inconsistent with data readily available and relevant to one or more questions in the Assessment Tool, or if priorities or goals are found to be materially inconsistent with available local data or local knowledge, HUD may find the AFH to be substantially incomplete and therefore unacceptable. Specific solicitation of public comment: HUD specifically seeks public comment on whether the above description of available local data and local knowledge helps program participants understand how these terms are being used in the Assessment Tool and the extent of their obligations to obtain and use data and other information. HUD also seeks comment on whether HUD has described clearly the circumstances under which a program participant may need to PO 00000 Frm 00083 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 57951 respond to a question in which the response would be that there are no relevant data or local knowledge that allows the program participant to address the question asked. B. Structure of the Assessment Tool HUD designed the Assessment Tool with three key objectives in mind. First, the Assessment Tool must ask questions that would be sufficient to enable program participants to perform a meaningful assessment of key fair housing issues and determinants and set meaningful fair housing goals and priorities. Second, the Assessment Tool must clearly convey the analysis of fair housing issues and determinants that program participants must undertake in order for an AFH to be considered acceptable to HUD. Third, the Assessment Tool must be designed so program participants would be able to use it to prepare an acceptable AFH without unnecessary burden. HUD welcomes comments on the extent to which the Assessment Tool meets each of these objectives. Section I of the Assessment Tool (Cover Sheet and Certification) addresses basic information applicable to the program participant or program participants (where there are joint submissions), such as the name of the entity making the submission, the type of submission (e.g., whether it is a submission by a single program participant or is a regional submission), the time period covered by the assessment, and the certification that the information provided in the Assessment Tool fulfills the requirements of HUD’s affirmatively furthering fair housing regulations. Section II. This section is an Executive Summary to provide the program participant the opportunity to present a general overview of the AFH’s findings and recommended actions. Section III of the Assessment Tool (Community Participation Process) addresses the community participation process and directs the program participant to describe outreach activities to encourage community participation in the development and review of the AFH, to describe how successful its outreach efforts were in obtaining community participation related to the AFH, and to summarize all comments obtained in the community participation process, including a summary of any comments or views not accepted and the reasons why. The Department is highlighting this as an area for public comment. Citizen participation is a vehicle for obtaining important local information, including available local data and local E:\FR\FM\26SEN1.SGM 26SEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 57952 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 187 / Friday, September 26, 2014 / Notices knowledge, from members of the public, non-profit and other private organizations, and other government agencies. HUD is requesting comment on the best way to clarify how program participants should include relevant information gathered in the public participation process, including in the analysis section of the AFH, in the summary of comments received and considered, or in appropriate appendices or attachments in the case of lengthier comments and proposed additions to the AFH. Specific solicitation of public comment: The community participation process is an important vehicle for soliciting input and acquiring additional information and knowledge that can be used to improve a local AFH. Program participants are responsible for obtaining, evaluating, and deciding how best to consider and respond to public comments, including by incorporating relevant and reliable information obtained through public participation into the analysis section of the AFH or through inclusion of comments in the section of the AFH reserved for describing such input, including discussion of public comments that are rejected. Does the proposed Assessment Tool make these options clear? If not, how can the Assessment Tool be improved or clarified? Section IV of the Assessment (Analysis) presents the core analysis to be undertaken by the program participant (or participants in the case of regional collaboration). This section of the Assessment Tool is structured to help program participants identify the fair housing issues in their jurisdiction and region. The Assessment Tool requires a geographic assessment broader than the jurisdictional level because fair housing issues are often not constrained by political-geographic boundaries. HUD will provide data on the Core Based Statistical Area for the regional assessment. An effective assessment of certain key fair housing issues—segregation, racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, disproportionate housing needs, and disparities in access to housing or community assets—and their determinants constitute a key part of developing an appropriate affirmatively furthering fair housing strategy. (See § 5.154(a) at 78 FR 43730.) The Assessment Tool guides program participants step-by-step through an assessment of key fair housing issues and determinants. The proposed Assessment Tool includes the following required elements: Demographic Summary: This section asks the program participant to review VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:14 Sep 25, 2014 Jkt 232001 HUD-provided data, consider available local data and local knowledge, and discern demographic patterns and trends. This data and the accompanying questions provide context for the rest of the assessment and provide a starting point for analyzing the following sections on—segregation/integration, racial and ethnic concentrated areas of poverty (R/ECAPs), disproportionate housing needs, disparities in access to community assets and exposure to adverse community factors, and disability and access issues. Based on this data, program participants should be able to identify important trends such as an increase in families with children, or a change in racial/ethnic population that may impact the identification of fair housing issues and determinants throughout the assessment. Discerning these patterns and trends is the first level of analysis, which must be followed by an assessment of policies, procedures, and practices that may act as determinants that influence or contribute to the identified patterns and trends. Segregation/Integration and R/ECAPs: This section asks program participants to identify areas within their jurisdiction and region that have high levels of segregation, including but not limited to, racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, consider which groups sharing characteristics protected by the Fair Housing Act are most affected by segregation, and consider any common characteristics of those areas. Additionally, program participants are asked to consider the unique issues faced by immigrant populations, by analyzing the needs of persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) and national origin groups. Program participants are also asked to analyze trends in integration/ segregation over time and any policies or other factors, such as private investments, market forces or community attitudes (e.g. NIMBYism) that may be driving these trends. Program participants are then asked to assess and rank possible determinants of segregation. Key to the identification of determinants is the program participant’s assessment of its policies, procedures and practices. The determinants identified by the program participant as significant will serve as a basis for goal and priority setting. Specific solicitation of comment: In this section and throughout the proposed Assessment Tool, program participants are asked to identify and rank determinants that influence or contribute to fair housing issues. The Assessment Tool is designed to elicit a PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 meaningful assessment of a program participant’s fair housing environment that would inform fair housing goal setting and prioritization. HUD sought to be clear and transparent in what it believes is needed for meaningful fair housing analysis and planning. One means of HUD achieving this goal is to ask questions specifically related to fair housing issues. Another is providing a list of determinants related to specific fair housing issues that the program participant will assess as potential influences or contributing factors to fair housing issues. Does the Assessment Tool ask the right questions and provide the right list of determinants to provoke a meaningful assessment? Beyond listing determinants in the Assessment Tool, HUD anticipates issuing guidance that may aid program participants in identifying determinants. Is this a reasonable approach? Next, this section asks program participants to examine issues related to the location and demographic makeup of residents of publicly supported housing, as well as mobility patterns in the jurisdiction and region. Using HUDprovided data, available local data, and local knowledge, program participants will answer a series of questions designed to help them assess whether there are fair housing considerations with project locations or occupancy overall as well as at specific projects that may appear to be ‘‘outliers’’ (for instance, buildings occupied primarily by one racial/ethnic group as compared to the public housing agency’s overall assisted population). HUD has determined that project level analysis is legally necessary because statistics with portfolio-wide averages or analysis at the census tract level may not reveal instances of localized segregation patterns. Due to current limitations on nationally uniform data, a list of LIHTC projects is not available at this time; however, program participants will be asked to conduct the same analysis for LIHTC projects as for other publicly supported housing projects based on available local data and local knowledge. From a fair housing perspective, the assessment of the impact of project siting and project occupancy of publicly supported housing is critical to an assessment of segregation, racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, and their determinants. HUD believes that it is a critical part of an AFH submitted by a PHA and an assessment submitted jointly by an entitlement jurisdiction and PHA serving that jurisdiction. However, in some instances, entitlement jurisdictions and PHAs may submit separate AFHs and E:\FR\FM\26SEN1.SGM 26SEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 187 / Friday, September 26, 2014 / Notices their submission of AFHs may be during different timeframes. In such circumstances, HUD seeks to ensure that program participants give due consideration to the siting and occupancy of different types of publicly supported housing when assessing segregation and racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty but does not wish to unnecessarily burden program participants. The proposed Assessment Tool reflects a compromise that balances the need for project level analysis of publicly supported housing with the need to avoid unnecessary burdens on program participants. Data provided by HUD for use in this analysis is in tabular form. Specific solicitation of comment: HUD is specifically requesting comment on the following aspects of the subsection on Publicly Supported Housing. Which types of program participants should be required to include project level data in tabular format for the various categories of publicly supported housing? Should these tables be formatted differently than in the proposed Assessment Tool (for example, would they be better included in appendices than in the body of the Analysis section)? What are the most effective ways of providing for assessment of project level data in an Assessment Tool used by States (for example, in connection with a State housing finance agency’s administration of LIHTCs)? Next, program participants are asked to select and rank possible determinants of both segregation and R/ECAPs for publicly supported housing location and occupancy and for assisted households’ mobility. Program participants are asked to identify what factors might be determinants of or contributing to segregation in publicly supported housing locations and occupancy patterns, and to assess the level of significance and influence of these factors in order to help set goals and inform their policy choices. Key to the identification of determinants is an assessment of the program participant’s policies, procedures, and practices. Addressing segregation and R/ECAPs requires a balanced approach that not only increases housing opportunities in integrated areas but also promotes integration by broadening housing opportunities in segregated areas and encouraging resident mobility. Disproportionate Housing Needs: In this subsection, program participants would be required to assess disproportionate housing needs on the basis of characteristics protected by the Fair Housing Act (i.e., race, color, VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:14 Sep 25, 2014 Jkt 232001 national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability). Program participants are then asked to assess and rank possible determinants of disproportionate housing needs. As noted earlier, key to the identification of determinants is an assessment of the program participant’s policies, procedures, and practices. The determinants identified by the program participant as significant will serve as a basis for goal and priority setting. Disparities in Access to Community Assets and Exposure to Adverse Community Factors: This section asks program participants to analyze how residential location and the location of community assets and the presence of adverse community factors contribute to fair housing issues on the basis of race/ ethnicity, national origin, and familial status. The fair housing concerns covered in the section include access to public transportation, quality schools and jobs, and exposure to poverty, environmental health hazards and deteriorated or abandoned properties. The objective of the section is to assist program participants in identifying patterns and outliers in access to community assets and exposure to adverse community factors. Program participants must also assess whether policies, procedures, and practices are determinants that influence or contribute to these disparities. An assessment of asset-rich areas compared to those areas that lack access to key community assets is critical to informing a program participant’s policy decisions. Addressing disparity in access and exposure to adverse conditions requires a balanced approach that not only provides for strategic investment in areas that lack key community assets or are exposed to adverse community factors, but also opens up housing opportunities in asset rich areas and provides for resident mobility. Disability and Access: This section asks questions that enable program participants to assess fair housing issues faced by individuals with disabilities in the jurisdiction and the region. While individuals with disabilities may experience the same fair housing concerns as individuals without disabilities, they also may experience additional disability-related barriers that are distinct from the barriers experienced by individuals without disabilities. For example, some individuals with disabilities may need specific accessibility features or additional services in housing, transportation, education, and other programs in order to have equal opportunity. Similarly, individuals with PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 57953 disabilities have often been isolated from their communities and housed in institutions and other segregated settings instead of being offered a range of housing options, including those in a more integrated setting, and services in the community. For this reason, HUD is proposing that issues unique to persons with disabilities be specifically addressed in this subsection. The objective of this section is to help program participants assess information needed to establish goals for increased accessibility, greater access to housing and key community assets, increased geographic mobility, and greater residential integration of persons with disabilities living in the jurisdiction and region. Program participants are asked to assess and rank possible determinants of disability and access issues. Ultimately, this information will assist the program participant in establishing fair housing goals and priorities that they will use to inform and plan their fair housing strategies relating to fair housing issues faced by persons with disabilities. Specific solicitation of comment: HUD specifically seeks comment on whether the Assessment Tool, by addressing Disability and Access Issues separately, has inadvertently failed to consider any key fair housing issues that relate to individuals with disabilities. Fair Housing Compliance and Infrastructure: This section asks program participants to describe compliance with fair housing and civil rights laws by listing and summarizing the existence and status of any unresolved administrative or judicial proceedings related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, or civil rights generally, including an alleged failure to affirmatively further fair housing. This section also asks program participants to identify fair housing or civil rights agencies and organizations in the jurisdiction and describe their capacity to assist in fair housing analysis and investigation. In addition, this section provides the opportunity for program participants to discuss the affirmative steps they have taken to provide resources to such agencies and organizations. Finally, program participants will identify and rank determinants relating to fair housing compliance and infrastructure by selecting specific potential issues from a menu of potential factors. The determinants identified by the program participant as significant will serve as a basis for goal and priority setting. Key to the identification of determinants is an assessment of the program participant’s policies, procedures, and practices. E:\FR\FM\26SEN1.SGM 26SEN1 57954 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 187 / Friday, September 26, 2014 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Specific solicitation of comment: The Assessment Tool has been designed to address many, but not all, of the most common fair housing issues. In some instances, a program participant may have fair housing issues that the Assessment Tool does not address. In other instances, a program participant may have no relevant local data or local knowledge related to a particular inquiry. Therefore, HUD asks whether the Assessment Tool is sufficiently clear that a program participant may address additional fair housing issues that are relevant or may reply that a particular fair housing inquiry cannot be answered due to lack of HUD-provided data, available local data, and local knowledge responsive to the inquiry. What kinds of instructions would be helpful to address both of these concerns? Section V (Fair Housing Goals and Priorities) contains a summary table of the fair housing determinants the program participant has identified as significant and the corresponding level of significance or influence for each. The table will be pre-populated based on responses to the inquiries in Section III regarding determinants. It is from this table that program participants will formulate goals to address significant fair housing determinants and issues. Each goal must identify one or more of the particular determinants it is designed to address, describe how the goal relates to overcoming the identified determinant(s) and related fair housing issue(s), and identify the metrics and milestones for evaluating the fair housing results to be achieved. The goals and priorities section within the assessment enables the program participant to begin to think about the fair housing actions that they will incorporate into subsequent HUD required planning processes. While actions and funding decisions are not a requirement of this section, the objective of the section is to concretely think through how significant fair housing determinants and fair housing issues would be addressed. Program participants are also asked to explain their reasoning if any significant determinants are not addressed by any of the goals. C. Completing the Assessment Tool Program participants have asked HUD to enable them to conduct assessments of fair housing in a way that limits their need to rely on costly outside consultants. The Assessment Tool, together with the HUD-provided data, available local data, and local knowledge, is intended and designed to elicit a meaningful AFH in a program VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:14 Sep 25, 2014 Jkt 232001 participant’s area. Where there is no available local data or local knowledge responsive to a given question for which HUD-data is not provided, a program participant may respond that it has no available local data or local knowledge responsive to the question. While not every question will automatically trigger or require a long narrative response, HUD is seeking an analysis that is both qualitative and quantitative; that is, HUD is seeking a comprehensive AFH that reflects the program participant’s review and consideration of fair housing issued and determinants in their particular jurisdiction and region. D. Instructions To Accompany the Assessment Tool The instructions to accompany the Assessment Tool, which are under development within HUD, will guide program participants in their completion of the Assessment Tool. The instructions will elaborate on how to use the data, provide definitions where definitions may be needed, especially for terms that may have more than one meaning, and provide illustrative examples. The instructions to accompany the Assessment Tool will be made available not later than at the 30day notice required under the Paperwork Reduction Act. HUD remains committed to providing guidance and technical assistance to program participants as the AFH process is implemented, during both the initial roll-out and at the time when program participants are preparing their Assessments of Fair Housing. E. Program-Participant-Specific Assessment Tools As noted earlier, the Assessment Tool provided for public comment under this notice reflects the overall framework that HUD will use for an Assessment Tool to be used by all program participants. The Assessment Tool provides the core areas and key questions to be covered. However, similar to this Assessment Tool that is largely tailored for entitlement jurisdictions and joint submissions by entitlement jurisdictions and PHAs, HUD is considering developing program-participant-specific Assessment Tools, such as one specifically for States and Insular Areas and one specifically for regionally collaborating PHAs or regionally collaborating entitlement jurisdictions. It is HUD’s intention to have any program-participant-specific Assessment Tools developed by HUD available for public comment at the 30day notice required under the Paperwork Reduction Act. PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 F. Solicitation of Comment on the Assessment Tool Only While the primary purpose of comment under the Paperwork Reduction Act is to determine the burden of any information collection requirement, HUD also solicits comment on the content of the Assessment Tool, the clarity of the questions presented and whether there are areas of information sought that program participants believe are not necessary to a meaningful AFH, or whether there are important areas of information that HUD may have overlooked. HUD also solicits comments for the following questions: (1) Can program participants complete the Assessment Tool independently (i.e., without assistance from consulting firms or outside contractors)? (2) What kinds of additional instructions would be helpful for program participants in completing the Assessment Tool? (3) What costs may be associated with collecting and analyzing the available local data and local knowledge necessary to complete the Assessment Tool? (4) Do program participants expect to use Federal funds to complete the Assessment Tool? (5) What strategies can program participants use to reduce any burden associated with completing the AFH, including low-cost or no-cost strategies for obtaining available local data and local knowledge? (6) How do program participants envision joint participation in completing this template? Important Note: It is important, however, that this solicitation of public comment is solely on the Assessment Tool. This notice is not reopening public comment on HUD’s July 19, 2013, proposed rule, and HUD will not review or consider public comments that address issues other than the Assessment Tool. III. Compliance With the Paperwork Reduction Act Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501–3520) (PRA), an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information, unless the collection displays a valid control number issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Through this notice, HUD commences the process for obtaining the requisite approval by OMB under the PRA process. The public reporting burden for the Assessment Tool is estimated to include the time for reviewing the instructions, searching existing data sources, E:\FR\FM\26SEN1.SGM 26SEN1 57955 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 187 / Friday, September 26, 2014 / Notices gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. As HUD is furnishing a significant amount of data directly to the program participants, the burden in completing the Assessment Tool is reduced. Where HUD is not providing data, as noted earlier in this preamble, program participants are required to consider and in some cases utilize available local data and local knowledge. This refers to data already publicly available and reasonably easy to access. This does not refer to obscure data that may not be known or easily found, that requires an independent data or information collection effort such as a local survey, or that requires extensive analytical expertise or staff effort for instance in manipulating data sets or developing a complex methodology for analyzing complex data that may be available. With the data that HUD provides for use with the Assessment Tool supplemented by available local data and local knowledge, HUD does not anticipate the need for any program participant to turn to outside consultants to collect data and conduct the assessment. In addition, local knowledge may be supplemented with information received through the public participation process. In such cases, program participants retain the discretion to consider data or information collected through this process as well as the manner in which it may be incorporated into the AFH, whether in the Analysis section of the Assessment or in Section III of the AFH with an option to include extensive or lengthy comments in appendices or attachments. In short, the receipt of extensive public comments may require staff effort to review and consider input but would not result in a mandate to incur substantial additional costs and staff hours to do so. To the contrary, the public participation process should be viewed as a tool to acquire additional information to reduce burden. The Assessment Tool is available at http://www.huduser.org/portal/ affht_pt.html. Information on the estimated public reporting burden is provided in the following table: REPORTING AND RECORDKEEPING BURDEN Number of respondents CFR Section reference Number of responses per respondent § 5.154(d) (Assessment of Fair Housing) ............. * 4,388 1 Total Burden .................................................. ........................ Frequency of response ........................ Estimated average time for requirement (in hours) Estimated annual burden (in hours) 200 877,600 ........................ 877,600 With each Con Plan or PHA Plan. ....................................... mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES * The number of respondents is based on the number of entities that will complete the version of the Assessment Tool that is the subject of this notice and is designed for use by entitlement jurisdictions other than States and joint submissions by entitlement jurisdictions and public housing agencies (PHAs) that are submitting a joint AFH. Entitlement jurisdictions that would use this template number 1,181. HUD is estimating that half of the PHAs, which number in total 4053, would opt for a joint submission but this estimate, 2026, may be high. In accordance with 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1), HUD is specifically soliciting comment from members of the public and affected program participants on the Assessment Tool on the following: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) The accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. HUD encourages not only program participants but interested persons to submit comments regarding the information collection requirements in this proposal. Comments must be received by November 25, 2014 to www.regulations.gov as provided under the ADDRESSES section of this notice. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:25 Sep 25, 2014 Jkt 232001 Comments must refer to the proposal by name and docket number (FR–5173–N– 02). Following consideration of public comments submitted in response to this notice, HUD will submit for further public comment, for a period of 30 days, a version of the Assessment Tool that reflects consideration of the public comments received in response to this notice. Dated: September 22, 2014. Camille E. Acevedo, Associate General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations. [FR Doc. 2014–22956 Filed 9–25–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR–5417–N–02] Administrative Guidelines; Subsidy Layering Reviews for Section 8 Project-Based Voucher Housing Assistance Payments Contracts and Mixed-Finance Development Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, HUD. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 ACTION: Notice. This document provides Administrative Guidelines (Guidelines) which qualified Housing Credit Agencies (HCAs) must follow in implementing subsidy layering reviews in accordance with the requirements of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), in those cases where the HCA elects to conduct the review. In certain instances, described in this notice, HUD will follow these Guidelines in implementing subsidy layering reviews to satisfy the requirements of section 102(d) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Reform Act of 1989 (HUD Reform Act). The requirements in this notice do not supersede the subsidy layering requirements of other Federal programs. This notice sets forth the guidelines for conducting subsidy layering reviews for mixed-finance public housing projects and for newly constructed and rehabilitated structures combining other forms of government assistance with project-based voucher assistance under section 8 of the United States Housing Act of 1937 (1937 Act). SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\26SEN1.SGM 26SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 187 (Friday, September 26, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 57949-57955]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-22956]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

[Docket No. FR-5173-N-02]


Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Assessment Tool: 
Solicitation of Comment--60-Day Notice Under Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995

AGENCY: Office of General Call, HUD.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: On July19, 2013, HUD published a proposed rule that would 
provide HUD program participants with a revised process to plan for 
fair housing outcomes that will assist them in meeting the statutory 
obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. In the proposed rule, 
HUD advised that it would issue an ``Assessment Tool'' for use by each 
program participant to evaluate fair housing choice in its 
jurisdiction, to identify barriers to fair housing choice at the local 
and regional levels, and to set and prioritize fair housing goals to 
overcome such barriers and advance fair housing choice.
    This Notice solicits public comment for a period of 60 days on the 
proposed version of Assessment Tool that is designed for use by 
entitlement jurisdictions other than States and joint submissions by 
entitlement jurisdictions and public housing agencies (PHAs). While the 
Assessment Tool that is the subject of this notice is designed for 
joint submissions by entitlement jurisdictions and PHAs, it presents 
the basic structure of the Assessment Tool to be used by all program 
participants, and is illustrative of the questions that will be asked 
of all program participants.

[[Page 57950]]

    In seeking comment for a period of 60 days, this notice commences 
the process for compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(PRA). The PRA requires two public comment periods--a public comment 
period of 60 days and a second comment period of 30 days. After 
consideration of the public comments submitted in response to this 
notice, HUD will solicit a second round of public comments for a period 
of 30 days.

DATES: Comment Due Date: November 25, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding 
this notice to the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, 
Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street, SW., Room 
10276, Washington, DC 20410-0500. Communications must refer to the 
above docket number and title. There are two methods for submitting 
public comments. All submissions must refer to the above docket number 
and title.
    1. Submission of Comments by Mail. Comments may be submitted by 
mail to the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department 
of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street, SW., Room 10276, 
Washington, DC 20410-0500.
    2. Electronic Submission of Comments. Interested persons may submit 
comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at 
www.regulations.gov. HUD strongly encourages commenters to submit 
comments electronically. Electronic submission of comments allows the 
commenter maximum time to prepare and submit a comment, ensures timely 
receipt by HUD, and enables HUD to make them immediately available to 
the public. Comments submitted electronically through the 
www.regulations.gov Web site can be viewed by other commenters and 
interested members of the public. Commenters should follow the 
instructions provided on that site to submit comments electronically.

    Note: To receive consideration as public comments, comments must 
be submitted through one of the two methods specified above. Again, 
all submissions must refer to the docket number and title of the 
rule.

    No Facsimile Comments. Facsimile (FAX) comments are not acceptable.
    Public Inspection of Public Comments. All properly submitted 
comments and communications submitted to HUD will be available for 
public inspection and copying between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at the 
above address. Due to security measures at the HUD Headquarters 
building, an advance appointment to review the public comments must be 
scheduled by calling the Regulations Division at 202-708-3055 (this is 
not a toll-free number). Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing 
and individuals with speech impairments may access this number via TTY 
by calling the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Copies of all 
comments submitted are available for inspection and downloading at 
www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Camille E. Acevedo, Associate General 
Counsel for Legislation and Regulations, Office of General Counsel, 
Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street, SW., Room 
10282, Washington, DC 20410-0500; telephone number 202-708-1793 (this 
is not a toll-free number). Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and 
persons with speech impairments may access this number through TTY by 
calling the toll-free Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    On July 19, 2013, at 78 FR 43710, HUD published, for public 
comment, a proposed rule entitled ``Affirmatively Furthering Fair 
Housing.'' The proposed rule provided a new approach that will enable 
program participants to more fully incorporate fair housing 
considerations into their existing planning processes and assist them 
in their efforts to comply with their duty to affirmatively further 
fair housing as required by the Fair Housing Act, which is Title VIII 
of the Civil Rights Act, and other authorities. The Fair Housing Act 
not only prohibits discrimination but, in conjunction with other 
statutes, directs HUD's program participants to take proactive steps to 
overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, 
and foster inclusive communities that are free from discrimination.
    The new approach proposed by HUD would replace the current analysis 
of impediments (AI) process. As provided in the proposed rule, the new 
approach is designed to assist program participants in analyzing their 
fair housing environment, identifying fair housing issues and the 
related determinants, setting and prioritizing fair housing goals, and, 
ultimately, taking meaningful actions to affirmatively further fair 
housing. The new approach builds upon and refines the fair housing 
elements of the existing planning processes that program participants 
currently undertake.
    To assist program participants in improving planning for fair 
housing outcomes, HUD advised in the proposed rule that it would issue 
an ``Assessment Tool'' for use in completing the assessment of fair 
housing (AFH) that program participants would undertake in accordance 
with the proposed rule. To further ease the burden on program 
participants in carrying out their duties under the proposed rule, HUD 
stated in the proposed rule that it would provide States, local 
governments, insular areas, and public housing agencies (PHAs), as well 
as the communities they serve, with local and regional data on patterns 
of integration and segregation; racially and ethnically concentrated 
areas of poverty (R/ECAPs); access to education, employment, low-
poverty neighborhoods, transportation, and environmental health, among 
other critical community assets; disproportionate housing needs; and 
data on individuals with disabilities and families with children. Using 
these data, together with other available local data and local 
knowledge, program participants will evaluate their present environment 
to assess fair housing issues, identify significant determinants that 
influence or contribute to those issues, and set forth fair housing 
priorities and goals to address fair housing issues and determinants.
    HUD submitted that the benefit of this approach is that these 
priorities and goals would better inform program participants' 
strategies and actions by enabling program participants to improve the 
integration of the fair housing planning with current planning 
exercises.
    At the time of publication of the proposed rule, HUD had not 
completed work on the Assessment Tool and therefore it was not 
published with the proposed rule. Many commenters advised that they 
welcome HUD's proposal to make such a tool available but needed to see 
the tool and have the opportunity for comment. This notice provides HUD 
program participants and other interested members of the public with 
the opportunity to comment on the draft Assessment Tool. Additionally, 
at the time of publication of the proposed rule, HUD posted a draft 
``Data Documentation'' paper online at www.huduser.org/portal/
affhtpt.html, and requested public comments on the categories, 
sources and format of data that will be provided by HUD. Many public 
comments were received on the Data Documentation paper, and several of 
the suggestions raised by commenters are reflected in the proposed 
Assessment Tool.
    As noted in the Summary of this document, the Assessment Tool that 
HUD is submitting for public comment

[[Page 57951]]

is primarily designed for use by entitlement jurisdictions other than 
States and for entitlement jurisdictions and public housing agencies 
that are submitting a joint AFH. This Assessment Tool is not the tool 
that will be used by regionally collaborating entitlement jurisdictions 
or PHAs that will not be making a joint submission nor will it be used 
by States and Insular Areas. However, this Assessment Tool that HUD is 
submitting for public comment through this notice, although primarily 
tailored for entitlement jurisdictions and joint submissions by 
entitlement jurisdictions and PHAs, serves as HUD's design for the 
Assessment Tool to be used by all program participants. HUD expects the 
topics and analysis included in this Assessment Tool to be very similar 
to the content in Assessment Tools designed for use by other entities. 
Further, while HUD is releasing the template in paper form for purposes 
of public comment, ultimately program participants will complete the 
assessment via a web-based system that will guide participants' through 
the data and required analysis. Instructions will accompany each 
version of the Assessment Tool. Additionally, guidance on specific AFFH 
issues will be issued.

II. The Assessment Tool

A. Sources of Data and Information To Complete the Assessment of Fair 
Housing

    HUD-Provided Data: As discussed in the proposed rule, one of HUD's 
major considerations in formulating the new AFFH planning process was 
to provide for meaningful fair housing planning while reducing the 
burden on program participants by providing the Assessment Tool and 
certain nationally uniform data to program participants that would be 
needed to complete an AFH. While HUD will provide nationally uniform 
data, there are other important data sources that may be available and 
relevant locally, including data that are unavailable from a nationally 
uniform source. HUD will continue to explore the types of data that may 
be available to assist program participants in performing an AFH and 
the feasibility of providing additional data in the future.
    Local Data and Local Knowledge: In addition to the national uniform 
data provided by HUD, program participants will be required to use 
available local data and local knowledge to inform their assessments. 
While the AFH process will not require program participants to create 
or compile new data, program participants must consider existing local 
data and local knowledge that is relevant in order to answer questions 
in the Assessment Tool. Available local data and local knowledge 
include data and information gained through the community 
participation, consultation, and coordination processes set out in the 
proposed rule at Sec.  5.158.
    Available local data are existing data pertaining to a respective 
jurisdiction or region that are relevant to the AFH, that are either 
known or become known to the program participant or that can be found 
through a reasonable amount of searching, and that are readily 
available at little or no cost.
    Local knowledge, on the other hand, is information relating to a 
respective jurisdiction or region that is relevant to the AFH and is 
known or becomes known to the program participant.
    A complete AFH includes an assessment of available local data and 
local knowledge that are relevant to fair housing issues and 
determinants to ensure that the AFFH priorities and goals identified in 
the AFH are consistent with evidence available to the program 
participant Simply stated, a program participant is expected to respond 
to inquiries in the analysis section of the Assessment Tool using HUD-
provided data, and available local data, and local knowledge that are 
relevant. To the extent that HUD does not provide data for a program 
participant to respond to a question or questions in the Assessment 
Tool, and local data and local knowledge that would be responsive to a 
question or questions in the Assessment Tool are not readily available, 
the lack of data or knowledge may be noted as an acceptable and 
complete response to that particular question. However, if HUD finds 
that an AFH analysis is materially inconsistent with data readily 
available and relevant to one or more questions in the Assessment Tool, 
or if priorities or goals are found to be materially inconsistent with 
available local data or local knowledge, HUD may find the AFH to be 
substantially incomplete and therefore unacceptable.
    Specific solicitation of public comment: HUD specifically seeks 
public comment on whether the above description of available local data 
and local knowledge helps program participants understand how these 
terms are being used in the Assessment Tool and the extent of their 
obligations to obtain and use data and other information. HUD also 
seeks comment on whether HUD has described clearly the circumstances 
under which a program participant may need to respond to a question in 
which the response would be that there are no relevant data or local 
knowledge that allows the program participant to address the question 
asked.

B. Structure of the Assessment Tool

    HUD designed the Assessment Tool with three key objectives in mind. 
First, the Assessment Tool must ask questions that would be sufficient 
to enable program participants to perform a meaningful assessment of 
key fair housing issues and determinants and set meaningful fair 
housing goals and priorities. Second, the Assessment Tool must clearly 
convey the analysis of fair housing issues and determinants that 
program participants must undertake in order for an AFH to be 
considered acceptable to HUD. Third, the Assessment Tool must be 
designed so program participants would be able to use it to prepare an 
acceptable AFH without unnecessary burden. HUD welcomes comments on the 
extent to which the Assessment Tool meets each of these objectives.
    Section I of the Assessment Tool (Cover Sheet and Certification) 
addresses basic information applicable to the program participant or 
program participants (where there are joint submissions), such as the 
name of the entity making the submission, the type of submission (e.g., 
whether it is a submission by a single program participant or is a 
regional submission), the time period covered by the assessment, and 
the certification that the information provided in the Assessment Tool 
fulfills the requirements of HUD's affirmatively furthering fair 
housing regulations.
    Section II. This section is an Executive Summary to provide the 
program participant the opportunity to present a general overview of 
the AFH's findings and recommended actions.
    Section III of the Assessment Tool (Community Participation 
Process) addresses the community participation process and directs the 
program participant to describe outreach activities to encourage 
community participation in the development and review of the AFH, to 
describe how successful its outreach efforts were in obtaining 
community participation related to the AFH, and to summarize all 
comments obtained in the community participation process, including a 
summary of any comments or views not accepted and the reasons why. The 
Department is highlighting this as an area for public comment. Citizen 
participation is a vehicle for obtaining important local information, 
including available local data and local

[[Page 57952]]

knowledge, from members of the public, non-profit and other private 
organizations, and other government agencies. HUD is requesting comment 
on the best way to clarify how program participants should include 
relevant information gathered in the public participation process, 
including in the analysis section of the AFH, in the summary of 
comments received and considered, or in appropriate appendices or 
attachments in the case of lengthier comments and proposed additions to 
the AFH.
    Specific solicitation of public comment: The community 
participation process is an important vehicle for soliciting input and 
acquiring additional information and knowledge that can be used to 
improve a local AFH. Program participants are responsible for 
obtaining, evaluating, and deciding how best to consider and respond to 
public comments, including by incorporating relevant and reliable 
information obtained through public participation into the analysis 
section of the AFH or through inclusion of comments in the section of 
the AFH reserved for describing such input, including discussion of 
public comments that are rejected. Does the proposed Assessment Tool 
make these options clear? If not, how can the Assessment Tool be 
improved or clarified?
    Section IV of the Assessment (Analysis) presents the core analysis 
to be undertaken by the program participant (or participants in the 
case of regional collaboration). This section of the Assessment Tool is 
structured to help program participants identify the fair housing 
issues in their jurisdiction and region. The Assessment Tool requires a 
geographic assessment broader than the jurisdictional level because 
fair housing issues are often not constrained by political-geographic 
boundaries. HUD will provide data on the Core Based Statistical Area 
for the regional assessment.
    An effective assessment of certain key fair housing issues--
segregation, racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, 
disproportionate housing needs, and disparities in access to housing or 
community assets--and their determinants constitute a key part of 
developing an appropriate affirmatively furthering fair housing 
strategy. (See Sec.  5.154(a) at 78 FR 43730.) The Assessment Tool 
guides program participants step-by-step through an assessment of key 
fair housing issues and determinants. The proposed Assessment Tool 
includes the following required elements:
    Demographic Summary: This section asks the program participant to 
review HUD-provided data, consider available local data and local 
knowledge, and discern demographic patterns and trends. This data and 
the accompanying questions provide context for the rest of the 
assessment and provide a starting point for analyzing the following 
sections on--segregation/integration, racial and ethnic concentrated 
areas of poverty (R/ECAPs), disproportionate housing needs, disparities 
in access to community assets and exposure to adverse community 
factors, and disability and access issues. Based on this data, program 
participants should be able to identify important trends such as an 
increase in families with children, or a change in racial/ethnic 
population that may impact the identification of fair housing issues 
and determinants throughout the assessment. Discerning these patterns 
and trends is the first level of analysis, which must be followed by an 
assessment of policies, procedures, and practices that may act as 
determinants that influence or contribute to the identified patterns 
and trends.
    Segregation/Integration and R/ECAPs: This section asks program 
participants to identify areas within their jurisdiction and region 
that have high levels of segregation, including but not limited to, 
racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, consider which 
groups sharing characteristics protected by the Fair Housing Act are 
most affected by segregation, and consider any common characteristics 
of those areas. Additionally, program participants are asked to 
consider the unique issues faced by immigrant populations, by analyzing 
the needs of persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) and 
national origin groups.
    Program participants are also asked to analyze trends in 
integration/segregation over time and any policies or other factors, 
such as private investments, market forces or community attitudes (e.g. 
NIMBYism) that may be driving these trends. Program participants are 
then asked to assess and rank possible determinants of segregation. Key 
to the identification of determinants is the program participant's 
assessment of its policies, procedures and practices. The determinants 
identified by the program participant as significant will serve as a 
basis for goal and priority setting.
    Specific solicitation of comment: In this section and throughout 
the proposed Assessment Tool, program participants are asked to 
identify and rank determinants that influence or contribute to fair 
housing issues. The Assessment Tool is designed to elicit a meaningful 
assessment of a program participant's fair housing environment that 
would inform fair housing goal setting and prioritization. HUD sought 
to be clear and transparent in what it believes is needed for 
meaningful fair housing analysis and planning. One means of HUD 
achieving this goal is to ask questions specifically related to fair 
housing issues. Another is providing a list of determinants related to 
specific fair housing issues that the program participant will assess 
as potential influences or contributing factors to fair housing issues. 
Does the Assessment Tool ask the right questions and provide the right 
list of determinants to provoke a meaningful assessment? Beyond listing 
determinants in the Assessment Tool, HUD anticipates issuing guidance 
that may aid program participants in identifying determinants. Is this 
a reasonable approach?
    Next, this section asks program participants to examine issues 
related to the location and demographic makeup of residents of publicly 
supported housing, as well as mobility patterns in the jurisdiction and 
region. Using HUD-provided data, available local data, and local 
knowledge, program participants will answer a series of questions 
designed to help them assess whether there are fair housing 
considerations with project locations or occupancy overall as well as 
at specific projects that may appear to be ``outliers'' (for instance, 
buildings occupied primarily by one racial/ethnic group as compared to 
the public housing agency's overall assisted population). HUD has 
determined that project level analysis is legally necessary because 
statistics with portfolio-wide averages or analysis at the census tract 
level may not reveal instances of localized segregation patterns. Due 
to current limitations on nationally uniform data, a list of LIHTC 
projects is not available at this time; however, program participants 
will be asked to conduct the same analysis for LIHTC projects as for 
other publicly supported housing projects based on available local data 
and local knowledge.
    From a fair housing perspective, the assessment of the impact of 
project siting and project occupancy of publicly supported housing is 
critical to an assessment of segregation, racially and ethnically 
concentrated areas of poverty, and their determinants. HUD believes 
that it is a critical part of an AFH submitted by a PHA and an 
assessment submitted jointly by an entitlement jurisdiction and PHA 
serving that jurisdiction. However, in some instances, entitlement 
jurisdictions and PHAs may submit separate AFHs and

[[Page 57953]]

their submission of AFHs may be during different timeframes. In such 
circumstances, HUD seeks to ensure that program participants give due 
consideration to the siting and occupancy of different types of 
publicly supported housing when assessing segregation and racially or 
ethnically concentrated areas of poverty but does not wish to 
unnecessarily burden program participants. The proposed Assessment Tool 
reflects a compromise that balances the need for project level analysis 
of publicly supported housing with the need to avoid unnecessary 
burdens on program participants. Data provided by HUD for use in this 
analysis is in tabular form.
    Specific solicitation of comment: HUD is specifically requesting 
comment on the following aspects of the subsection on Publicly 
Supported Housing.
    Which types of program participants should be required to include 
project level data in tabular format for the various categories of 
publicly supported housing? Should these tables be formatted 
differently than in the proposed Assessment Tool (for example, would 
they be better included in appendices than in the body of the Analysis 
section)? What are the most effective ways of providing for assessment 
of project level data in an Assessment Tool used by States (for 
example, in connection with a State housing finance agency's 
administration of LIHTCs)?
    Next, program participants are asked to select and rank possible 
determinants of both segregation and R/ECAPs for publicly supported 
housing location and occupancy and for assisted households' mobility.
    Program participants are asked to identify what factors might be 
determinants of or contributing to segregation in publicly supported 
housing locations and occupancy patterns, and to assess the level of 
significance and influence of these factors in order to help set goals 
and inform their policy choices. Key to the identification of 
determinants is an assessment of the program participant's policies, 
procedures, and practices. Addressing segregation and R/ECAPs requires 
a balanced approach that not only increases housing opportunities in 
integrated areas but also promotes integration by broadening housing 
opportunities in segregated areas and encouraging resident mobility.
    Disproportionate Housing Needs: In this subsection, program 
participants would be required to assess disproportionate housing needs 
on the basis of characteristics protected by the Fair Housing Act 
(i.e., race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or 
disability). Program participants are then asked to assess and rank 
possible determinants of disproportionate housing needs. As noted 
earlier, key to the identification of determinants is an assessment of 
the program participant's policies, procedures, and practices. The 
determinants identified by the program participant as significant will 
serve as a basis for goal and priority setting.
    Disparities in Access to Community Assets and Exposure to Adverse 
Community Factors: This section asks program participants to analyze 
how residential location and the location of community assets and the 
presence of adverse community factors contribute to fair housing issues 
on the basis of race/ethnicity, national origin, and familial status. 
The fair housing concerns covered in the section include access to 
public transportation, quality schools and jobs, and exposure to 
poverty, environmental health hazards and deteriorated or abandoned 
properties. The objective of the section is to assist program 
participants in identifying patterns and outliers in access to 
community assets and exposure to adverse community factors. Program 
participants must also assess whether policies, procedures, and 
practices are determinants that influence or contribute to these 
disparities.
    An assessment of asset-rich areas compared to those areas that lack 
access to key community assets is critical to informing a program 
participant's policy decisions. Addressing disparity in access and 
exposure to adverse conditions requires a balanced approach that not 
only provides for strategic investment in areas that lack key community 
assets or are exposed to adverse community factors, but also opens up 
housing opportunities in asset rich areas and provides for resident 
mobility.
    Disability and Access: This section asks questions that enable 
program participants to assess fair housing issues faced by individuals 
with disabilities in the jurisdiction and the region. While individuals 
with disabilities may experience the same fair housing concerns as 
individuals without disabilities, they also may experience additional 
disability-related barriers that are distinct from the barriers 
experienced by individuals without disabilities. For example, some 
individuals with disabilities may need specific accessibility features 
or additional services in housing, transportation, education, and other 
programs in order to have equal opportunity. Similarly, individuals 
with disabilities have often been isolated from their communities and 
housed in institutions and other segregated settings instead of being 
offered a range of housing options, including those in a more 
integrated setting, and services in the community. For this reason, HUD 
is proposing that issues unique to persons with disabilities be 
specifically addressed in this subsection.
    The objective of this section is to help program participants 
assess information needed to establish goals for increased 
accessibility, greater access to housing and key community assets, 
increased geographic mobility, and greater residential integration of 
persons with disabilities living in the jurisdiction and region. 
Program participants are asked to assess and rank possible determinants 
of disability and access issues. Ultimately, this information will 
assist the program participant in establishing fair housing goals and 
priorities that they will use to inform and plan their fair housing 
strategies relating to fair housing issues faced by persons with 
disabilities.
    Specific solicitation of comment: HUD specifically seeks comment on 
whether the Assessment Tool, by addressing Disability and Access Issues 
separately, has inadvertently failed to consider any key fair housing 
issues that relate to individuals with disabilities.
    Fair Housing Compliance and Infrastructure: This section asks 
program participants to describe compliance with fair housing and civil 
rights laws by listing and summarizing the existence and status of any 
unresolved administrative or judicial proceedings related to fair 
housing, nondiscrimination, or civil rights generally, including an 
alleged failure to affirmatively further fair housing. This section 
also asks program participants to identify fair housing or civil rights 
agencies and organizations in the jurisdiction and describe their 
capacity to assist in fair housing analysis and investigation. In 
addition, this section provides the opportunity for program 
participants to discuss the affirmative steps they have taken to 
provide resources to such agencies and organizations. Finally, program 
participants will identify and rank determinants relating to fair 
housing compliance and infrastructure by selecting specific potential 
issues from a menu of potential factors. The determinants identified by 
the program participant as significant will serve as a basis for goal 
and priority setting. Key to the identification of determinants is an 
assessment of the program participant's policies, procedures, and 
practices.

[[Page 57954]]

    Specific solicitation of comment: The Assessment Tool has been 
designed to address many, but not all, of the most common fair housing 
issues. In some instances, a program participant may have fair housing 
issues that the Assessment Tool does not address. In other instances, a 
program participant may have no relevant local data or local knowledge 
related to a particular inquiry. Therefore, HUD asks whether the 
Assessment Tool is sufficiently clear that a program participant may 
address additional fair housing issues that are relevant or may reply 
that a particular fair housing inquiry cannot be answered due to lack 
of HUD-provided data, available local data, and local knowledge 
responsive to the inquiry. What kinds of instructions would be helpful 
to address both of these concerns?
    Section V (Fair Housing Goals and Priorities) contains a summary 
table of the fair housing determinants the program participant has 
identified as significant and the corresponding level of significance 
or influence for each. The table will be pre-populated based on 
responses to the inquiries in Section III regarding determinants. It is 
from this table that program participants will formulate goals to 
address significant fair housing determinants and issues. Each goal 
must identify one or more of the particular determinants it is designed 
to address, describe how the goal relates to overcoming the identified 
determinant(s) and related fair housing issue(s), and identify the 
metrics and milestones for evaluating the fair housing results to be 
achieved. The goals and priorities section within the assessment 
enables the program participant to begin to think about the fair 
housing actions that they will incorporate into subsequent HUD required 
planning processes. While actions and funding decisions are not a 
requirement of this section, the objective of the section is to 
concretely think through how significant fair housing determinants and 
fair housing issues would be addressed. Program participants are also 
asked to explain their reasoning if any significant determinants are 
not addressed by any of the goals.

C. Completing the Assessment Tool

    Program participants have asked HUD to enable them to conduct 
assessments of fair housing in a way that limits their need to rely on 
costly outside consultants. The Assessment Tool, together with the HUD-
provided data, available local data, and local knowledge, is intended 
and designed to elicit a meaningful AFH in a program participant's 
area. Where there is no available local data or local knowledge 
responsive to a given question for which HUD-data is not provided, a 
program participant may respond that it has no available local data or 
local knowledge responsive to the question. While not every question 
will automatically trigger or require a long narrative response, HUD is 
seeking an analysis that is both qualitative and quantitative; that is, 
HUD is seeking a comprehensive AFH that reflects the program 
participant's review and consideration of fair housing issued and 
determinants in their particular jurisdiction and region.

D. Instructions To Accompany the Assessment Tool

    The instructions to accompany the Assessment Tool, which are under 
development within HUD, will guide program participants in their 
completion of the Assessment Tool. The instructions will elaborate on 
how to use the data, provide definitions where definitions may be 
needed, especially for terms that may have more than one meaning, and 
provide illustrative examples. The instructions to accompany the 
Assessment Tool will be made available not later than at the 30-day 
notice required under the Paperwork Reduction Act. HUD remains 
committed to providing guidance and technical assistance to program 
participants as the AFH process is implemented, during both the initial 
roll-out and at the time when program participants are preparing their 
Assessments of Fair Housing.

E. Program-Participant-Specific Assessment Tools

    As noted earlier, the Assessment Tool provided for public comment 
under this notice reflects the overall framework that HUD will use for 
an Assessment Tool to be used by all program participants. The 
Assessment Tool provides the core areas and key questions to be 
covered. However, similar to this Assessment Tool that is largely 
tailored for entitlement jurisdictions and joint submissions by 
entitlement jurisdictions and PHAs, HUD is considering developing 
program-participant-specific Assessment Tools, such as one specifically 
for States and Insular Areas and one specifically for regionally 
collaborating PHAs or regionally collaborating entitlement 
jurisdictions. It is HUD's intention to have any program-participant-
specific Assessment Tools developed by HUD available for public comment 
at the 30-day notice required under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

F. Solicitation of Comment on the Assessment Tool Only

    While the primary purpose of comment under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act is to determine the burden of any information collection 
requirement, HUD also solicits comment on the content of the Assessment 
Tool, the clarity of the questions presented and whether there are 
areas of information sought that program participants believe are not 
necessary to a meaningful AFH, or whether there are important areas of 
information that HUD may have overlooked. HUD also solicits comments 
for the following questions:
    (1) Can program participants complete the Assessment Tool 
independently (i.e., without assistance from consulting firms or 
outside contractors)?
    (2) What kinds of additional instructions would be helpful for 
program participants in completing the Assessment Tool?
    (3) What costs may be associated with collecting and analyzing the 
available local data and local knowledge necessary to complete the 
Assessment Tool?
    (4) Do program participants expect to use Federal funds to complete 
the Assessment Tool?
    (5) What strategies can program participants use to reduce any 
burden associated with completing the AFH, including low-cost or no-
cost strategies for obtaining available local data and local knowledge?
    (6) How do program participants envision joint participation in 
completing this template?

    Important Note:  It is important, however, that this 
solicitation of public comment is solely on the Assessment Tool. 
This notice is not reopening public comment on HUD's July 19, 2013, 
proposed rule, and HUD will not review or consider public comments 
that address issues other than the Assessment Tool.

III. Compliance With the Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520) 
(PRA), an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not 
required to respond to, a collection of information, unless the 
collection displays a valid control number issued by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB). Through this notice, HUD commences the 
process for obtaining the requisite approval by OMB under the PRA 
process.
    The public reporting burden for the Assessment Tool is estimated to 
include the time for reviewing the instructions, searching existing 
data sources,

[[Page 57955]]

gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing 
the collection of information.
    As HUD is furnishing a significant amount of data directly to the 
program participants, the burden in completing the Assessment Tool is 
reduced. Where HUD is not providing data, as noted earlier in this 
preamble, program participants are required to consider and in some 
cases utilize available local data and local knowledge. This refers to 
data already publicly available and reasonably easy to access. This 
does not refer to obscure data that may not be known or easily found, 
that requires an independent data or information collection effort such 
as a local survey, or that requires extensive analytical expertise or 
staff effort for instance in manipulating data sets or developing a 
complex methodology for analyzing complex data that may be available. 
With the data that HUD provides for use with the Assessment Tool 
supplemented by available local data and local knowledge, HUD does not 
anticipate the need for any program participant to turn to outside 
consultants to collect data and conduct the assessment.
    In addition, local knowledge may be supplemented with information 
received through the public participation process. In such cases, 
program participants retain the discretion to consider data or 
information collected through this process as well as the manner in 
which it may be incorporated into the AFH, whether in the Analysis 
section of the Assessment or in Section III of the AFH with an option 
to include extensive or lengthy comments in appendices or attachments. 
In short, the receipt of extensive public comments may require staff 
effort to review and consider input but would not result in a mandate 
to incur substantial additional costs and staff hours to do so. To the 
contrary, the public participation process should be viewed as a tool 
to acquire additional information to reduce burden.
    The Assessment Tool is available at http://www.huduser.org/portal/
affhtpt.html.
    Information on the estimated public reporting burden is provided in 
the following table:

                                       Reporting and Recordkeeping Burden
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     Estimated
                                                   Number of                       average time      Estimated
     CFR Section reference         Number of     responses per    Frequency of          for        annual burden
                                  respondents     respondent        response        requirement     (in hours)
                                                                                    (in hours)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   5.154(d) (Assessment of         * 4,388               1  With each Con                200         877,600
 Fair Housing).                                                  Plan or PHA
                                                                 Plan.
                               ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Burden..............  ..............  ..............  ................  ..............         877,600
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* The number of respondents is based on the number of entities that will complete the version of the Assessment
  Tool that is the subject of this notice and is designed for use by entitlement jurisdictions other than States
  and joint submissions by entitlement jurisdictions and public housing agencies (PHAs) that are submitting a
  joint AFH. Entitlement jurisdictions that would use this template number 1,181. HUD is estimating that half of
  the PHAs, which number in total 4053, would opt for a joint submission but this estimate, 2026, may be high.

    In accordance with 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1), HUD is specifically 
soliciting comment from members of the public and affected program 
participants on the Assessment Tool on the following:
    (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for 
the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including 
whether the information will have practical utility;
    (2) The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the 
proposed collection of information;
    (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
    (4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on 
those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate 
automated collection techniques or other forms of information 
technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.
    HUD encourages not only program participants but interested persons 
to submit comments regarding the information collection requirements in 
this proposal. Comments must be received by November 25, 2014 to 
www.regulations.gov as provided under the ADDRESSES section of this 
notice. Comments must refer to the proposal by name and docket number 
(FR-5173-N-02).
    Following consideration of public comments submitted in response to 
this notice, HUD will submit for further public comment, for a period 
of 30 days, a version of the Assessment Tool that reflects 
consideration of the public comments received in response to this 
notice.

    Dated: September 22, 2014.
Camille E. Acevedo,
Associate General Counsel for Legislation and Regulations.
[FR Doc. 2014-22956 Filed 9-25-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4210-67-P