HUD Secretary Castro Recaps 2014 and Looks Ahead
On Dec. 23, HUD issued a summary of the significant strides HUD has made on critical Obama administration priorities. Here’s a list of the priority issues related to multifamily housing that HUD has highlighted as having made notable progress in 2014:
- A 33 percent reduction in veteran homelessness since 2010, according to the national point in time survey conducted by HUD, the V.A., and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). This includes a 43 percent drop in the number of veterans sleeping on the street nationally, and the effective end of chronic veteran homelessness in Phoenix and Salt Lake City.
- The successful leveraging of private investment to rebuild the nation’s public housing stock through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. The first 57 RAD deals have raised $437 million in private financing—a ratio of $19 in private funding for every $1 in public funding—for the renovation of 7,500 public housing units. Overall, public housing authorities have submitted 187,000 units for this demonstration, but Congress previously capped the number of participating units at 60,000.
- Significant accomplishments in combating housing discrimination. In FY 2014, HUD and its fair housing partners obtained relief for more than 19,700 individuals alleging discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, a 120 percent increase from FY 2013. HUD led efforts in protecting victims of sex discrimination, including a $5 million settlement with Wells Fargo resolving allegations of maternity leave-related lending discrimination. HUD also conducted unprecedented work to protect survivors of domestic violence in their housing.
- As part of the administration’s effort to update or do away with outdated regulations to reduce burden, HUD has made a 10.6 percent reduction in obsolete and expired regulations, which exceeds the administration’s goal of 5 percent.
As for initiatives in 2015 that HUD will pursue, Secretary Castro stated that HUD will push to implement a number of existing programmatic, legislative, and regulatory proposals to create efficiencies, streamline processes, and save taxpayer dollars. They include:
Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). Public housing authorities have submitted 187,000 units for this program. Congress recently raised the cap on the number of participating units from 60,000 to 185,000. The administration’s ultimate goal is to have the cap eliminated so that billions of dollars of private investment can be used to renovate and revitalize public housing.
Housing Finance Reform (HFR). HUD and the administration welcome bipartisan legislation (The Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act, S. 1217) that will reduce the exposure of taxpayers and risk to the nation’s mortgage finance system while helping responsible citizens to access the American Dream.
Tribal Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH). HUD requested and Congress approved in the FY 2015 appropriations bill the necessary language to offer voucher assistance to tribal communities. HUD-VASH combines Housing Choice Vouchers with critical supportive services from the Department of Veterans Affairs and is a key component of the administration’s effort to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2016. According to the 2012 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, American Indians and Alaska Natives made up 3.2 percent of the homeless population, but just 1.2 percent of the total U.S. population.