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HUD Secretary Testifies on Equitable Housing

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing entitled, “Building Back a Better, More Equitable Housing Infrastructure for America: Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development [1].”

Called to testify on the state of the Department was HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge [2] speaking on behalf of the Biden-Harris administration.

“I know President Biden is committed—in his head and in his heart—to help more people find a stable, affordable, and dignified place to call home. He has made that commitment clear,” said Secretary Fudge. “The President’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022 requests $68.7 billion for HUD. This represents an increase of $9 billion—or 15%—from our enacted funding from the previous fiscal year.”

In April, President Biden requested his fiscal year 2022 discretionary funding budget [3], which set aside $68 billion-plus for HUD [4] and programs dedicated to the nation’s equitable housing designed to reduce the racial wealth gap.

“Today, it is harder to find an affordable home in America than at any point since the 2008 financial crisis. The high cost of housing keeps millions of families up at night,” said Secretary Fudge. “They wonder if they can afford to keep a roof over their head—and still manage to keep their lights on … to pay for their prescriptions … to put food on their tables. The President’s Budget takes bold action to address our affordable housing crisis—and to dramatically strengthen our social safety net for the most vulnerable among us.”

Among Biden’s goals to boost housing equality:

“Key to building back better, and more equitably, is understanding that housing is infrastructure,” said Rep. Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services. “For the first time in a generation, we have a real opportunity to fix structural problems in our housing system and reverse decades of disinvestment in low-income communities and communities of color.”

Despite mortgage rates at all-time lows below the 3% mark [5], affordability remains an issue for many looking to achieve the American Dream of homeownership. According to a new report from Redfin [6], asking prices of newly listed homes were up 12% from the same time a year ago to a median of $361,700, up 0.5% from the four-week period ending July 4, but down 0.6% from the all-time high two weeks ago.

Rep. Waters said, "We must make housing a top priority. These generational investments will increase homeownership, provide a permanent housing safety net, and end homelessness in this country once and for all."

“America cannot return to the status quo of yesterday—prior to the pandemic. We must not return to an America beset by crumbling homes and buildings; to an America grappling with a crisis in affordable housing,” said Secretary Fudge. “We must build back better, together. I look forward to partnering with this Committee [House Financial Services Committee] to help make housing-for-all a reality in our nation—and to ensure that HUD acts as a responsible steward for the funding entrusted to us.”

Click here [7] to view a webcast of the House Financial Services Committee Hearing “Building Back A Better, More Equitable Housing Infrastructure for America: Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”