Each HOME PJ must adopt affirmative marketing procedures and requirements for any housing with five or more HOME-assisted units. Affirmative marketing differs from general marketing activities because it specifically targets potential tenants and homebuyers who are least likely to apply for the housing, in order to make them aware of available affordable housing opportunities.
Note: The affirmative marketing procedures do not apply to families with Section 8 tenant-based rental housing assistance or families with tenant-based rental assistance provided with HOME funds.
What must a PJ do in order to meet its affirmative marketing responsibility?
PJs have an obligation to develop and adopt affirmative marketing procedures, and to specify the affirmative marketing procedures that they will require project owners to undertake. In addition, PJs must periodically evaluate the impact of their affirmative marketing procedures to ensure that they are meeting the goals of affirmative marketing. A PJ's affirmative marketing procedures must include the following:
- Methods to inform the public, potential tenants, and owners about fair housing laws and the PJ's own affirmative marketing policy.
- Descriptions of what a project owner must do to market housing assisted with HOME funds (e.g. use the equal opportunity logotype or slogan).
- Statement of procedures for how project owners will inform persons who are not likely to apply without special outreach efforts about the housing.
- Description of the records that document actions taken to affirmatively market HOME-assisted units and will be maintained by both the PJ and the project owner.
- Description of how the PJ will assess the effectiveness of these actions.
- A description of corrective action(s) to be taken when requirements are not met.
What are examples of affirmative marketing procedures that a PJ might adopt?
Typically, a PJ's own affirmative marketing process will be undertaken to communicate to the general public that the PJ's housing programs are administered in a nondiscriminatory manner. Examples of a PJ's affirmative marketing efforts include the following:
- Communicating the equal housing opportunity message, or the equal housing opportunity logotype or slogan, in outreach to the general community. This can be inserted into all written outreach tools, such as press releases, newsletters, brochures, advertisements, direct mail solicitations, requests for proposals, and related advertising.
- Identifying, for each funded development, populations that are least likely to apply without special outreach, and tailoring affirmative marketing requirements to project owners accordingly.
- Utilizing HUD Form 935.2, Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan. While not required, this form is a useful tool for organizing and documenting the affirmative marketing plan for owners.
What are examples of affirmative marketing procedures that a PJ may require a project owner to undertake?
PJs might impose any number of specific affirmative marketing requirements on a project owner. Examples of these requirements include the following:
- Specifying that all marketing of HOME-assisted housing be jurisdiction-wide and that all advertising be placed in sources of wide circulation.
- Specifying the media sources an owner must use in order to advertise to a particular audience [such as a newspaper that serves protected class(es)].
- Requiring that all advertisements, brochures, and other written materials be published in multiple languages, in order to reach non-English-speaking audiences.
- Providing and requiring the use of specific mailing lists of organizations whose membership or clientele consists primarily of protected class members.
In summary, PJs are obligated to adopt affirmative marketing procedures, and to impose affirmative marketing activities on project owners of HOME-funded rental and homeownership projects of five or more HOME-assisted units. These special outreach efforts should be targeted to those who are least likely to apply for HOME funds, to ensure that all persons-regardless of their race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex, disability or familial status-are aware of the affordable housing opportunities generated by HOME Program activities.