HOMEfires - Vol. 7 No. 1, January, 2006
Q: What are Participating Jurisdictions' (PJs) responsibilities for developing, disseminating, and implementing affirmative marketing procedures?
A. The HOME final rule (24 CFR 92.351 a) requires PJs and state recipients to develop and adopt affirmative marketing procedures and requirements for rental and homebuyers projects containing five or more HOME-assisted units, regardless of the specific activity the HOME funds will finance (e.g., acquisition, rehabilitation, and/or new construction). These procedures must be in writing. The objective is to ensure that PJs and project owners design and employ a marketing plan that promotes fair housing by ensuring outreach to all potentially eligible households, especially those least likely to apply for assistance. Therefore, this affirmative marketing must consist of actions that provide information and otherwise attract eligible persons to available housing without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, familial status (persons with children under 18 years of age, including pregnant women), or disability. The affirmative marketing requirements also apply to projects targeted to persons with special needs. Affirmative marketing procedures do not apply to programs that provide tenant-based rental assistance, owner-occupied rehab, or downpayment assistance only (i.e., downpayment assistance not tied to a specific HOME project). However, HUD strongly encourages PJs to market these programs in a manner consistent with the affirmative marketing principles. Affirmative marketing procedures do no apply to households that receive Housing Choice Vouchers and are seeking admission to a HOME-assisted project.
The affirmative marketing procedures must describe specific steps that must be taken to ensure tenants who are unlikely to apply for housing without special outreach have equal access to housing opportunities generated by the use of HOME Program funds. There are five elements that each PJ or state recipient's marketing procedures must include:
- A description of how the PJ plans to inform the public, owners, and potential tenants about Federal fair housing laws and the PJ's affirmative marketing policy;
- The requirements and practices that each owner of HOME-funded housing must adhere to in order to carry out the PJ's affirmative marketing procedures and requirements;
- A statement of procedures to be used by owners to inform and solicit applications from persons in the housing market area who are least likely to apply for the housing without special outreach;
- A list of what records the PJ will keep, and what records the PJ will require owners to keep, regarding efforts made to affirmatively market HOME-assisted units, and to assess the results of these actions; and
- A description of how the PJ will annually assess the success of affirmative marketing action(s) and what corrective actions will be taken where affirmative marketing requirements are not met.
PJs must provide their affirmative marketing procedures to each owner developer of HOME projects with five or more HOME-assisted units. The requirement to affirmatively market must be included in the written agreement between the PJ and the owner. The PJ should ensure the owners have an understanding of the fair housing practices for advertising and soliciting applications (targeted populations should include those least likely to apply), know what records they must keep to document compliance, and how the PJ will assess the owner's marketing procedures and their success.
The HUD field office may request that a PJ provide the marketing procedures during monitoring and may evaluate whether the PJ is ensuring that owners comply with its procedures. Consequently, PJs must evaluate project owners' records during on-site monitoring to ensure that compliance is taking place and being adequately documented.
There is no submission requirement for affirmative marketing procedures in the HOME regulations. However, HUD is required to review these procedures whenever changes are made. PJs should periodically review their affirmative marketing procedures to determine if they are still appropriate to the market, since demographic and market conditions in jurisdictions are not static. If the demographics of the market have changed significantly, the PJ must update its affirmative marketing procedures and submit them to HUD for review, if requested. HUD recommends that this submission be part of the Consolidated Plan process so that the procedures are subject to public review and comment.
With changing demographics in the United States, there are challenges when marketing to an eligible population that is limited English proficient (LEP). If there is an LEP population, HUD encourages the PJ to:
- Translate its marketing material to serve this population,
- Work with the language minority-owned print media, radio and television stations,
- Place marketing material at movie theaters that provide for free public service announcements,
- Partner with faith-based and community organizations that serve newly arrived immigrants, and
- Conduct marketing activities at adult-education training centers or during "English as a Second Language" classes.
Additional information on Limited English Proficiency is located on the HUD website.
For more information on affirmative marketing procedures, please refer to "Understanding the Basics" volume of Fair Housing for HOME Participants (HUD-2005-10-CPD). The guide is available from the Community Connections Clearinghouse (http://www.comcon.org) or by calling 1-800-998-9999.