What Is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a U.S. government agency created in 1965 as part of then-President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society agenda to expand America’s welfare state. Its primary mission is improving affordable homeownership opportunities to support the housing market and homeownership in inner-city areas.
HUD’s programs are geared toward increasing safe and affordable rental options, reducing chronic homelessness, fighting housing discrimination by ensuring equal opportunity in the rental and purchase markets, and supporting vulnerable populations.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a U.S. government agency that supports community development and homeownership.
- HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act and offers housing assistance through the Community Development Block Grant program and the Housing Choice Voucher program.
- The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, family status, and disability.
HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act and oversees the Community Development Block Grant program and the Housing Choice Voucher program. It also supervises other programs to assist low-income and disadvantaged Americans with their housing needs, and it works with various government agencies and private organizations, including community nonprofits and faith-based groups, to reach its goals.
Following Hurricane Katrina, HUD became involved in disaster recovery in the Gulf Coast region.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, family status, and disability. HUD investigates any cases concerning the refusal to rent or sell a property, denying someone a dwelling, falsely stating that properties are unavailable, and imposing different terms or conditions based on any of the aforementioned discriminating conditions.
HUD is led by the HUD secretary, a member of the president’s cabinet who is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The position is currently held by Marcia Fudge, who took office on March 10, 2021.
Types of HUD Assistance Programs
HUD offers various assistance programs for those in need of housing financial assistance.
The Community Development Block Grant program allocates federal grant money to communities to develop neighborhoods that have decent, affordable housing. These grants typically aid low- and middle-income residents so they can find suitable living environments near employers, supermarkets, or public transportation. States, cities, towns, communities, and organizations apply for these block grants or for loan guarantees to aid in development projects.
The Housing Choice Voucher program, also called Section 8, allows low-income, disabled, or elderly citizens to choose a place to live regardless of whether the property exists as subsidized housing. The property must meet certain requirements, and applicants need to meet government standards to qualify.
Local public housing authorities determine a moderately priced housing option based on local real estate prices before deciding the benefits that families or individuals can receive. Families then seek out a housing unit for the number of people who will live in the house, duplex, or apartment.
A family who is issued a housing voucher must find housing where the owner agrees to rent under the voucher program—and the rental unit must meet standards of health and safety that are determined by the public housing agency (PHA).
The vouchers are administered by local public housing agencies (PHAs) that are funded by HUD. The PHA pays the subsidy directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant, and the tenant pays the difference between the actual rent charged by the landlord and the amount subsidized by the program. HUD states that to be eligible for the voucher program, the tenant’s income may not exceed 50% of the median income for the area.
Families can move from one housing unit to another because of income changes, job status, or the addition of family members. The voucher program attempts to allow for mobility without losing housing benefits. Beneficiaries with vouchers sign leases with property owners that have this program. With subsidized housing, residents sign leases with property managers who oversee federally owned projects.