United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

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The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was born on September 9th, 1965, catapulted into being by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Since its inception, HUD has had an unparalleled impact in the United States on housing generally and affordable, fair housing specifically, community development, and homelessness.

Johnson’s creation of HUD was part of his reaction to an increased focus in the country on civil rights, urban renewal, and poverty. He framed the creation of the federal Executive branch (cabinet-level) agency as a continuation of the push begun in the 1930s and 1940s under the New Deal around public housing, addressing sub-standard housing and implementing large-scale urban renewal.

HUD was preceded by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) signed into being by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1934, as part of his “New Deal”, as well as the Truman Administration’s Housing and Home Financing Agency.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the United States government, for better or worse, had taken a direct role in creating and managing affordable housing. In conjunction with HUD and Congressional legislators, in 1968, Johnson set HUD on a path of overseeing and regulating affordable housing largely created by and managed by the private sector - a shift that has greatly influenced housing development in the United States.

 

Core Mandates

The agency’s central, long-standing mandates, some of which were legislated before its inauguration are:

  • Increasing home ownership (1934)
  • Assisting Low-Income Renters (1937)
  • Ameliorating the Physical, Economic and Social Health of Cities (1949)
  • Fighting Discrimination in Housing Markets and “affirmatively" furthering the fair-housing goal of integration (1968)
  • Assisting Homeless Persons with Support and Housing Services (1987)

HUD is also tasked with administering federal disaster and recovery (1973). HUD is headed by a presidentially-appointed Secretary. Today the agency oversees a budget of over $30 billion.

HUD’s Major Program Offices

  • Housing: HUD’s Housing Office is responsible for oversight of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs, running the Federal Housing Administration, regulating manufactured housing, and administering multifamily housing programs, including Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202) and Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities (Section 811)
  • Community Planning and Development: This Office administers many of HUD’s major affordable housing and homelessness programs including the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the HOME program,  Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy program (Mod Rehab SRO), Shelter Plus Care, Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).
  • Government National Mortgage Association (known as Ginnie Mae)
  • Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity: Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity enforces Federal laws against race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status-based discrimination.
  • Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (developed in 1998)
  • Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control.
  • Policy Development and Research (PD&R): This HUD office is tasked with maintaining current information on market conditions, housing needs and existing programs, as well as with researching priority housing and community development issues via the HUD USER Clearinghouse.
  • Public and Indian Housing: This office administers the public housing program HOPE VI, the Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly – yet more popularly – known as Section 8), Project-Based Vouchers,[21] and individual loan programs housing block grants[22] for Indian tribes, Native Hawaiians, and Alaskans.

 

 

Housing Highlights from HUD’s History (including preceding foundational legislation)

There are significant clusters of housing-related Federal legislation in the 1930s and 1940s, in the 1960s, and again in the 1990s and early 2000s.

1934 – The National Housing Act establishes the Federal Housing Administration, which facilitates mortgage insurance on FHA-approved lender loans made by FHA-approved lenders.This Act also formally established "redlining" neighborhoods (also termed "mortgage discrimination") a practice that would entrench racial and ethnic segregation across the country and that has had a lasting impact on the fortunes of minority communities and households as well as the shape of the nation's neighborhoods up until the present. 

Presidential Administration: Franklin D. Roosevelt (D).

1937 – The Housing Act of 1937 inaugurates the United States Housing Authority, which oversees slum-clearance projects and the construction of low-rent housing. One critique of this act is that by sectioning off and isolating low income public housing projects that the Act further laid the foundations for racial and ethnic segregation, as much of the poor population it impacted were racial or ethnic minorities.

Presidential Administration: Franklin D. Roosevelt (D).

1938 –  The National Housing Act Amendments of 1938 are enacted, creating the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), which created a secondary market to the Federal Housing Administration.

Presidential Administration: Franklin D. Roosevelt (D).

1942 – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the National Housing Agency with Executive Order 9070, Establishing the National Housing Agency as well as a raft of other housing-related authorities and agencies as the US mobilized during World War II.

Presidential Administration: Franklin D. Roosevelt (D).

1949 – The Housing Act of 1949 is put in place a policy of "urban redevelopment" to promote the eradication of housing in communities classed as slums and promote community development and redevelopment programs.

Presidential Administration: Harry S. Truman (D).

1954- The Housing Act of 1954 introduced the now-fraught term "urban renewal." It is this policy a continuation of the previous "urban development", that involved the razing of housing in largely minority communities and other issues around housing that would result in the displacement of hundreds by eminent domain from their neighborhoods and help fan frustrations in minority communities that would culminate in the 1960s in mass protests and rioting in cities across the country. The era of "urban renewal" would run through to the early 1970s and left behind it a fear of displacement and suspicion of development in lower-income  minority communities.

Presidential Administration: Dwight D. Eisenhower (R).

1959 – The Housing Act of 1959 sets in place funding for elderly housing.

Presidential Administration: Dwight D. Eisenhower (R).

1964 – Under Lyndon B. Johnson, the Housing Act of 1964 provides access to rehabilitation loans for homeowners.

Presidential Administration: Lyndon B. Johnson (D).

1965 – The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 established several major expansions in federal housing programs.

Presidential Administration: Lyndon B. Johnson (D).

1965 – The Department of Housing and Urban Development is established as a cabinet-level agency via the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act.

Presidential Administration: Lyndon B. Johnson (D).

1968 – The Fair Housing Act, often seen as the last major act of legislation of the Civil Rights movement, was passed to ban housing discrimination. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had lobbied hard to pass it, as access to housing was a pivotal issue for black and other marginalized communities. Despite the mandates of the legislation, in reality, neighborhoods in America remained and remain racially and ethnically segregated. Indeed deliberate actions to isolate, disadvantage, and contain communities of color continued and lines of segregation in many localities were more strongly drawn by the midcentury exodus of whites from cities to the suburbs where racial minorities were explicitly unwelcome. The Fair Housing Act also only pertained to discrimination in the sale of and rental of property and did nothing to remedy discrimination around mortgage lending.

Presidential Administration: Lyndon B. Johnson (D).

1968  –  The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 establishes the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) with a mission of expanding affordable housing financing.

Presidential Administration: Lyndon B. Johnson (D).

1969 – Congress passes section 213 (a) of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1969 (Public Law 91-152), known as the Brooke Amendment which capped rent in public housing projects at no more than 25 percent of a tenant`s income.

Presidential Administration: Lyndon B. Johnson (D).

1974 – The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 established community development block grants and support for urban homesteading. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act banned discrimination related to mortgage lending.

Presidential Administration: Gerald Ford (R).

1977 – The Housing and Community Act of 1977 creates Urban Development Grants and continues elderly and handicapped assistance.

Presidential Administration: Jimmy Carter (D).

1987 – The Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act supported communities in dealing with homelessness and included the creation of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness ( of which HUD is a member).

Presidential Administration: Ronald Reagan (R).

1988 – The Housing and Community Development Act allows for the sale of public housing to resident management corporations. The Fair Housing Amendments Act prohibits discrimination based on disability or family status (e.g. towards families with young children, pregnant women or single parents).

Presidential Administration: Ronald Reagan (R).

1992 – The HOPE VI program is created to revitalize public housing and how it works.

Presidential Administration: George Herbert Walker Bush (R).

1992 – The Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 includes mandates to HUD to set goals for lower income and underserved housing areas for the GSEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Presidential Administration: George Herbert Walker Bush (R).

1995 – The "Blueprint for Reinvention of HUD" proposes sweeping changes in public housing reform and FHA and the consolidation of other programs into three block grants.

Presidential Administration: Bill Clinton (D).

1998 – HUD opens its Enforcement Center to take action against HUD-assisted multifamily property owners and other HUD fund recipients who violate laws and regulations. Congress also approves Public Housing reforms to reduce segregation by race and income, encourage and reward work, bring more working families into public housing, and increase the availability of subsidized housing for very poor families.

Presidential Administration: Bill Clinton (D).

2000 – America's homeownership rate achieves a new record-high of 67.7 percent in the third quarter of 2000. A total of 71.6 million American families own their habitations - more than at any time in American history.

Presidential Administration: Bill Clinton (D).

2007 – HUD initiates a program to provide seller concessions to buyers of HUD homes, allowing them to use a minimal down payment of $100.

Presidential Administration: George W. Bush (R).

 


References