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HUD Secretary Testifies Before House Committee

The House Financial Services Committee recently held a hearing titled, “Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration” featuring testimony from the Honorable Marcia L. Fudge, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Secretary Fudge was sworn in as the 18th Secretary of HUD on March 10, 2021. In her nearly three years as Secretary, she has testified once before the Committee on Financial Services, back on July 20, 2021.

HUD currently administers approximately 100 active permanent and temporary major mortgage, grant, assistance, and regulatory programs. HUD’s four largest, non-disaster programs as measured by budget authority include: Tenant Based Rental Assistance, Project-based Rental Assistance, the Public Housing Fund, and Homeless Assistance Grants. These four programs consume roughly 75% of HUD’s entire annual budget.

During her testimony, Secretary Fudge highlighted the Department’s work to boost housing supply, expand access to affordable housing, root out discrimination in housing, and promote homeownership opportunities.

“I am pleased that the Biden-Harris Administration has taken an all-of-government approach to leverage critical pandemic relief and appropriations funds secured by Democrats to keep over 12.4 million families housed, increase the supply of affordable homes across the country, and lower housing costs for millions,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee. “In particular, HUD has helped house and provide services to over 2.6 million people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.”

Secretary Fudge stated, “When this Administration began, conditions were bleak. During the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans lost or had little access to quality, safe, and affordable housing. Many more were at severe risk of losing their homes. Thanks to the decisive action, resources, and the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris, and leaders in Congress, we were able stave off the worst impacts of the pandemic. Now, three years later, HUD has made historic strides to provide direct housing assistance, expand opportunities for homeownership and affordable rental housing, root out discrimination in housing, and build strong and resilient communities in urban centers and rural areas, alike.”

Secretary Fudge highlighted a number of the Department’s accomplishments throughout her term, as HUD supported homeownership for 1.5 million first-time homebuyers:

  • The Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) first-time homebuyer rate under the Biden Administration is the highest it has been in over 20 years. Since the start of the Biden Administration, FHA has supported nearly 1.8 million homeowners with purchase mortgages, and 83.6% or 1.5 million of whom are first-time homebuyers.
  • Under the Biden-Harris Administration, FHA continues to provide outsized support to historically underserved borrowers.
  • This past year alone, more than four out of every five borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages are first-time homebuyers, while in the market, fewer than half of mortgages are made to first-time homebuyers.
  • The percentage of FHA’s volume comprised of mortgages made to Black borrowers was triple the rate of the rest of the market, and for Hispanic borrowers it was double.
  • According to calendar year 2022 data, close to half of all rural homebuyers who obtained low down-payment mortgages obtained mortgages insured by FHA.

“President Biden’s vision is to build a better America—to ensure that every person has the opportunity to get ahead,” said Secretary Fudge. “To address longstanding systemic challenges, including racial injustice and rising economic inequality. To tackle the climate crisis, grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out, and expand on the historic progress our country has made over the years.”

HUD has built and repaired more than 500,000 units of affordable housing. Since 2021 HUD has worked across its programs to build and repair more than half a million units of affordable housing.

  • HUD supports and continues to fund more than two million units of public housing and supports additional units of multifamily apartments to preserve affordable options for families.
  • The number of housing units under construction are near record highs. New housing construction peaked at 1.7 million units in 2022 and remained has elevated since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this construction surge, HUD has made administrative changes and worked with localities to ensure a portion of those units are affordable. New and existing programs like low-cost financing through the Federal Financing Bank, the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, and CDBG-PRO Housing grant program are designed to make sure renters have affordable options as units are built.

“Secretary Fudge, you’ve led HUD to make significant strides to expand homeownership. Since 2021, 1.8 million people have purchased a home utilizing mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, including 1.5 million first-time homebuyers. This is the highest first-time homeownership rate at FHA in 24 years,” added Rep. Waters.

In addition, HUD has issued more new rental assistance vouchers in the last three years than have been issued in any three-year period in 20 years, including:

  • HUD serves 2.5 million people using housing vouchers and HUD has issued more new vouchers in three years than has been issued in any three-year period in 20 years.
  • Under the Biden Administration, HUD has awarded roughly 120,000 new incremental housing vouchers–the largest increase in vouchers in 20 years–including new Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), Family Unification Program/Foster Youth to Independence (FUP/FYI), Mainstream, Stability Vouchers, Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV), and flexible Housing Choice Vouchers.
  • HUD invested more than $1 billion for housing in Tribal communities through the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) Formula program, the IHBG Competitive program, the Indian Community Development Block Grant program, and the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program.

Also highlighted was HUD’s loss mitigation work throughout Fudge’s term, as HUD has helped approximately two million homeowners with FHA mortgages avoid foreclosure and helped thousands avoid eviction.

The FHA has ensured that approximately two million homeowners with FHA mortgages were able to stay in their homes from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 through December 2022.

HUD has also funded legal assistance to more than 19,000 low-income tenant households at risk of, or subject to, eviction by doubling funding for the Eviction Protection Grant program – a first of its kind program funded in 2022.

“I am proud of the Department and the positive impact that we are making on those we serve,” said Fudge. “HUD is committed to its mission, and our dedication to our important work has been made clear by the historic policies and impact our resources have had across the United States.”

Click here to read the full testimony delivered by HUD Secretary Fudge before the House Financial Services Committee hearing, “Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration.”

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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