Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing
As a recipient of CDBG and HOME Funds, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Spokane County is required to develop a Plan and implement programs that “affirmatively further fair housing.” This requirement is codified in 24 CFR Parts 5, 91, 92, 570, 574, 576, and 903.
HUD, based on entitlement formulas, allocates CDBG, HOME and other federal funds, such as COVID relief, and HOME American Rescue Plan (ARP) to participating jurisdictions. As a condition of HUD funding Spokane County is required to Plan to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing and make sure all subrecipients understand this condition of funding.
Continuing education has been determined to be the most effective way to keep fair housing in the forefront of the community’s awareness. As newly elected officials take office it is important to educate them on Spokane County’s responsibility to further fair housing. Similarly, as changes occur in the jurisdictions within the county, new people need to be brought up to speed about fair housing laws and their responsibility to further fair housing along with Spokane County, HUD and our many partners.
Fair Housing Trainings are available at no cost on Northwest Fair Housing Alliance (NWFHA) Website, click this link for access.
The NWFHA website also has case studies and helpful information in multiple languages. NWFHA provides mitigation for landlords and tenants to avoid litigation while achieving compliance.
The Analysis of Impediments (AI) and Fair Housing Plan for Spokane County were updated in September 2018, with Resolution # 18-0680. Analysis (PDF) The AI addresses impediments discovered between 2003 and 2008. Spokane Housing Authority, the City of Spokane, and Spokane County began discussions on a regional AFFH based on the new fair housing rule in 2019. HUD rescinded the AFFH rule and extended the deadline for AFFH submission. As a result, the current AI was reviewed and renewed. No new impediments were identified in the update. The Spokane County Plan to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing is currently slated for completion by the required five- year update for 2023.
Fair Housing Complaints
An individual who believes they have been discriminated against may file a complaint with HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (OFHEO) link here, Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC) link here or Northwest Fair Housing Alliance (NWFHA) link here. NWFHA and WSHRC have offices in the City of Spokane. These agencies work together to track the status of complaints thereby eliminating duplication in reporting. Identifiers in the complaint data within this report have been removed after comparison of the lists provided by HUD and WSHRC.
Spokane County Fair Housing Activities
Spokane County and the Community Services, Housing, and Community Development Department endeavors to affirmatively further fair housing with the following policies:
o Annually the Spokane County Board of Commissioners certifies that Spokane County will affirmatively further fair housing.
o Annually, subrecipients of CDBG and HOME funds are required to certify that they will affirmatively further fair housing in their contracts with Spokane County.
o CDBG and HOME subrecipients are provided fair housing posters and are required to have them posted on site.
o The fair housing logo is required on documents, such as advertisements or newsletters, used by CDBG and HOME subrecipients as well as CSHCD.
o Fair housing complaints are referred to Northwest Fair Housing Alliance, HUD’s OFHEO, and the WSHRC who coordinate complaints, investigations, and tests to assist people who have been discriminated against, through mediation or the court system if just cause is found.
o Spokane County reviews all marketing plans, advertisements, tenant selection policies, rental applications for consistency with fair housing laws that are funded by HOME dollars.