HUD Secretary Testifies on Budget Request
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge recently testified as the sole witness before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation-Housing and Urban Development on President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 discretionary funding request for HUD.
What you need to know: The President’s Discretionary Request provides $68.7 billion for HUD during Fiscal Year 2022. This is an increase of 15 percent from HUD’s enacted funding for Fiscal Year 2021. In her opening remarks, Secretary Fudge highlighted how some of the requested amount would be allocated:
- $30.4 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. This amount would provide assistance for an additional 200,000 households;
- $500 million increase in the HOME Investment Partnerships Program—which helps build and rehabilitate affordable rental housing;
- $180 million to help develop 2,000 new homes for senior citizens and for people with disabilities;
- $500 million in new funding for HUD’s Homeless Assistance Grants which will assist more than 100,000 additional households, including young people and survivors of domestic violence;
- $400 million to eliminate lead paint and other hazards from the homes of families with young children;
- $900 million investment to spark greater opportunity on tribal lands;
- $3.2 billion to perform critical maintenance and repairs that can improve conditions for residents of public housing;
- $3.77 billion to help revitalize neighborhoods across our nation through the Community Development Block Grant program; and
- $85 million to support state and local organizations that conduct fair housing enforcement actions and advance education and outreach around our nation’s fair housing laws.
What caught our eye: Representative Norma Torres (D-CA) asked a question on HUD staffing levels. She expressed the frustration her constituents and staff have encountered when working with HUD regional offices. "Delays are so bad that by the time HUD responds, constituents have long since given up hope, moved on, and it’s difficult for us to reach them again. We really need a responsive HUD that is staffed up and able to provide smart technical assistance and timely casework," Torres noted.
Sec. Fudge stated, "From 2008 – 2017, HUD lost almost 19 percent of its total staff. So, we are understaffed now. We have outstanding people working in this agency, consummate professionals who’ve been holding down the fort. We are in the process of rebounding. We are going to need more resources. We need to put more emphasis right now on our field staff. I think that those are the people that can help you most. We’re going to be taking a strong look at that. We are aware of the situation, we are doing our very best to retain the staff that we do have, but you’re right: we have almost 500 people who are eligible to retire this year. We can’t hire people fast enough.”
The full hearing is available online here.