At this time of year when thoughts turn to faith, family, and friends, I want to wish everyone at HUD, along with our partners and clients, a joyous holiday season. Few federal agencies have as direct an impact on those in need as HUD. And we are especially mindful of our mission and accomplishments during these weeks of giving.
The men and women of HUD worked hard this year to spread the blessings of a great nation to the homeless and those struggling to find a safer, better place to live. You helped find housing for people with AIDS; made homeowners out of people who never dreamed they could be; and brought hope to families and communities still suffering from Hurricanes Rita, Wilma, and Katrina. For these and so many other good works you performed over the last 12 months, I am humbled and proud to lead the HUD team.
HUD remains focused on restoring the lives of those affected by the 2005 hurricanes. The road to recovery will be long. Yet we remain committed to the task until every displaced person who wants to return crosses the threshold of a safe, decent home. This is the mission President Bush gave us soon after Katrina hit the Gulf. It is our duty and our privilege to carry it through to the end. And we will.
A special word to the men and women in uniform: we are grateful for your service in preserving our liberties at home and in securing the freedom of so many others abroad. We miss you, we love you, and we pray for your safe return. Especially at this time of year, we are conscious of the sacrifices you make to preserve our freedoms, and the great gift that our freedom is.
May you and your families have a blessed holiday season, and please accept my best wishes for a safe and happy New Year.