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Politics & Money

Housing industry welcomes Fudge as next HUD secretary

Many vow their support through Senate confirmation process

This week, President-elect Joe Biden chose Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, to be the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Now, the housing industry is welcoming HUD’s next potential leader.

“On behalf of MBA, I congratulate Rep. Marcia Fudge on being selected to be nominated as the Secretary of HUD,” said Robert Broeksmit, Mortgage Bankers Association president and CEO. “While the housing market has been one of the few economic bright spots during the pandemic, HUD will play a central role in addressing a number of important challenges in the post-pandemic recovery, including how to resolve the mortgage forbearance afforded to more than 800,000 borrowers who have loans insured by FHA.

“Also, the new administration will tackle the ongoing housing affordability crisis affecting both homeowners and renters,” Broeksmit said. “MBA and its members look forward to working with the administration and Rep. Fudge as she builds her team of housing experts who will manage these and other important issues at HUD, FHA and Ginnie Mae.”

And the National Association of Home Builders joined in, congratulating Fudge and expressing its hope to work together after she is confirmed.

“NAHB congratulates Rep. Fudge on her selection as HUD secretary,” NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke said. “Upon her confirmation to the Cabinet post, NAHB looks forward to working with Secretary Fudge to enact a robust rental assistance program to help millions of renters and small business property owners who have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also seek to work together to ensure qualified home buyers have access to housing credit and to promote affordable homeownership and rental housing opportunities for all Americans.”

Fudge enters the picture at a time when housing is a frontline issue across the U.S. in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Housing leaders voiced their confidence that Fudge will make sure every American has a place to call home.

“As HUD secretary, Rep. Fudge will use her considerable intellect and energy to ensure that every American has a safe, secure place to call home,” said Mara Rudman, Center for American Progress executive vice president for policy. “For many years, Rep. Fudge has advocated for affordable housing and fought housing discrimination in rural and urban communities alike. Through her years as a mayor and congresswoman, she has shown a deep commitment to use federal policy to better communities and people’s lives.

“She is entering HUD at a particularly crucial time in its history,” Rudman said. “Millions of Americans are finding themselves on the verge of losing their homes due to the Trump administration’s and Senate’s unwillingness to pass eviction protections for those harmed by the COVID-19 crisis.

“She is also entering a department that, under its current secretary, has actively worked to increase housing discrimination by revoking the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and by lowering its standards for proving racial discrimination housing by blunting its disparate impact rule. I have no doubt that as HUD secretary, Rep. Fudge will work tirelessly not only to address these immediate crises but also to address the long-standing structural issues that have left so many people without secure housing for so many years.”

The National Fair Housing Alliance applauded not just the selection of Fudge as HUD Secretary, but also Biden’s commitments for his first 100 days in office.

“NFHA is extremely encouraged by President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s selection of Rep. Marcia L. Fudge to lead HUD,” NFHA President and CEO Lisa Rice said. “An unflagging advocate for civil rights, Fudge brings decades of experience as a public servant and a strong commitment to ensuring equitable access to credit, education, healthy food, clean environments and other resources, which go hand-in-hand with access to housing.

“Having served as mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, Fudge will bring a unique understanding of how HUD programs are implemented on the ground locally,” Rice said.

“We are further encouraged by the incoming administration’s indication that its Day One priorities for HUD will include reinstating the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and 2013 Disparate Impact rules.”

Housing leaders said they look forward to supporting Fudge through the Senate confirmation process.

“Congresswoman Fudge would bring a much-needed fresh approach to national housing policy,” said David Dworkin, National Housing Conference president and CEO. “She has been a strong supporter of the HOME program and played a leading role in getting Congress to approve desperately needed funds to stabilize the hardest hit neighborhoods during the Great Recession.

“Her background as mayor of an inner ring suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, and as a leader on education policy, would be important as HUD plays an important role in reversing the catastrophic loss of Black homeowners over the past 10 years,” Dworkin said.

“Congresswoman Fudge understands the need to make housing policy work for all communities, urban, suburban and rural. We look forward to supporting her confirmation by the United States Senate and working with her in the days and years to come.”

Not surprisingly, Democratic members of Congress also supported the nomination, with Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, saying she is standing by, ready to work with Fudge on the next steps.

“In nominating Rep. Marcia Fudge as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, President-elect Joe Biden has selected a seasoned legislator who is ready to address the challenges that lie ahead,” Waters said. “The last four years consisted of a Trump Administration intent on doing everything in its power to diminish, rather than promote, fair access to housing; rescind, rather than strengthen, bedrock rules that prevent discrimination in housing; and ignore, rather than address, the housing and homelessness crisis our country faces amid an unprecedented global pandemic.

“According to recent reports, $70 billion in back rent will be due by the end of the year and 20 million renters could face eviction by January 2021, while 2.8 million homeowners are in forbearance and 3.8 million are estimated to be in some stage of delinquency,” Waters said. “It is clear that in order to meet the scale and scope of this crisis, swift action must be taken.”

And Rep. David Price, D-N.C., the chairman of the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations subcommittee, joined in on congratulating Fudge.

“I applaud President-elect Biden’s decision to select Congresswoman Marcia Fudge to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development,” Price said. “Rep. Fudge is a steadfast champion for working families, spending her time in Congress fighting for better health care, nutrition, economic opportunities and safe and decent affordable housing. These qualities will serve her well as HUD Secretary at a critical time when the nation faces a pandemic that has not only exposed but exacerbated our national housing crisis.

“As Chairman of the House ‘T-HUD’ Appropriations subcommittee, I look forward to working with her to boost resources for affordable housing production and community development, to fight homelessness and eviction, to bolster resiliency in the face of a changing climate and to restore bedrock fair housing principles that uphold equal opportunity for all our citizens,” he said.

This acceptance from the housing industry is vastly different than the reception HUD Secretary Ben Carson received upon his nomination to the post. Many members of the industry welcomed Carson and expressed their hope to work with him during his term, but that was far from unanimous. His nomination divided the housing industry as some balked at his lack of qualifications while others lauded the decision to bring in someone who might offer a unique perspective.

As Carson steps down from his post in January, his plans for the future could include a role in the private sector. Back in 2019, Carson revealed that he intended to leave HUD at the end of President Donald Trump’s first term.

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