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HUD’s Budget Looks to “Effectively Administer” Programs

On Thursday, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Dr. Ben Carson testified before the Senate Banking Committee.

"At HUD, we believe the requested level of funding–$42 billion–is sufficient to effectively administer our core programs, particularly as we are committed to running our programs more efficiently, spending every tax dollar with which we are entrusted wisely. I have directed HUD’s new Chief Financial Officer, Irv Dennis, a Certified Public Accountant with more than 36 years of experience, to put the controls, systems, and processes in place to ensure we do just that," Carson said in his opening address. The requested funds are 1.4 percent over last year's budget.

In his opening remarks, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, said that over the past year, Carson had made significant strides in his efforts to make HUD programs more effective and efficient. “Secretary Carson has also stressed the importance of aligning regulatory requirements in ways that: incentivize landlord participation in HUD programs; eliminate the undue burden on program participants; enhance workforce mobility; and maximize the percentage of HUD dollars that go straight to the families that need it," Crapo said. "Last week, by voting 67-31 to pass the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, the Senate took a decisive step forward in addressing these same issues."

Giving a breakdown of where HUD plans to use the funds, Carson said that the Budget makes a significant investment in the fight against homelessness and proposed spending $2 billion, a$133 million increase over the last year's budget. The sum included $40 million for rapid re-housing targeted to communities with high rates of unsheltered homelessness.

He has also requested $145 million to ensure that homes remained free of lead-based paint hazards and other dangerous contaminants.

At the hearing, speaking on the plans that HUD has for the improvement of Housing Carson spoke about the new financial controls that were being implemented. The agency has recently appointed Irving Dennis as its CFO to design and implement a transformation plan and lead an internal task force to combat waste, fraud, and abuse.

"HUD is committed to safe, fair, and affordable housing for the American people. It also acts as a stepping stone to opportunity and self-sufficiency so that families can graduate from assisted housing to economic independence," Carson told the Committee. "President Trump’s proposed FY 2019 Budget will enable HUD to fill this role, now and in the future, through reforming and refocusing our programs and necessitating careful stewardship of taxpayer dollars."

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and copy-editor, and a reporter for DS News. She is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her masters degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha, also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.

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