HUD is the Department of Opportunity. As HUD approaches its 50th anniversary this year, Secretary Julián Castro is laser focused on advancing policies that create opportunity for all Americans, creating a solid foundation for the next 50 years.
The vision outlined below will build on HUD’s mission to promote homeownership, support community development, and increase access to affordable housing, free from discrimination.
1. Building a stronger HUD
By improving the way we do business, we will be able to more effectively deliver on our mission of creating opportunity for all. To do this, we want to focus on four areas of operational improvement:
- Measuring outcomes: In this tight budget environment, we’ve got to make a powerful case for resources. The best way to make the case is by measuring our outcomes and using data to guide our work. We’ve got to show our stakeholders that what we’re doing works and deserves investment. Evidence-based work also shows us what’s not working, giving us the information we need to make adjustments or, if appropriate, change course.
- Transparency is good for productivity and morale. We must make every effort to let the HUD team know when and why we are making decisions, as well as encourage employees to offer ideas-through Switchboard, to supervisors and more-to make HUD an even better place to work.
- Accountability is critical. HUD’s greatest asset is its people. We’ve got to hold ourselves and each other accountable. In addition to celebrating our successes, we must take action when and where we fall short. We also should put extra effort into performance plans, using them to reward those who perform well and support those who don’t with training and effective management.
- Enhancing interagency collaboration: HUD is part of a broader federal government community. Working even closer with our fellow agencies as we simultaneously strive to foster collaboration within HUD will allow us to better align our efforts, streamline initiatives and, ultimately, make us more effective for the people we serve.
2. Helping families and individuals secure quality housing
We want to ensure that quality, attainable housing-for ownership and rent-is available and affordable to individuals and families across a range of incomes. We want to make it easier for people who are ready for the responsibilities of homeownership and encourage rental affordability for everyone else. With regards to homeownership, HUD must continue to do everything we can to give people who are ready for the responsibilities of homeownership the opportunity to buy a home by increasing access to credit.
When it comes to rental housing, our nation is in the midst of a severe and growing challenge. In 2012, more than half of renters were paying more than 30% of their income on housing. To meet this challenge, HUD must continue to seek innovative ways to both preserve and create affordable rental housing.
3. Ending Homelessness
HUD is committed to working with our federal, state, and local partners to end homelessness. We’ve made tremendous progress in recent years, including a 21% drop in chronic homelessness and a 33% drop in veteran homelessness. To achieve the goals of Opening Doors, and end homelessness, we’ve got to build on what we know works by strengthening interagency collaboration and investing in proven approaches such as Housing First.
4. Strengthening all communities in this Century of Cities
HUD will enhance its work with local leaders to strengthen rural, tribal, suburban, and urban communities across the nation. In particular, we’re going to partner with cities to help them prepare for the growth they’re experiencing. We are in a Century of Cities. The Census Bureau projects that the U.S. population will grow by 80 million people by 2050, and estimates are that at least 80 percent of that growth (over 60 million people) will come in urban areas. We’ve got to take steps now to ensure that this growth is inclusive. Our place-based efforts that empower local communities should be at the forefront of this work.
5. Leveling the playing field for Americans from all walks of life
Our nation will never fulfill its full promise if any of its citizens are being denied a fair chance to own or rent a home because of what they look like, where they come from, who they love and other circumstances of life. With our fair housing efforts, we’re going to help ensure that every American has the chance to pursue housing opportunities free from discrimination.
6. Addressing climate change and natural disasters
The science is clear: climate change is real and poses a growing threat to local communities. Under the President’s Climate Action Plan, HUD will take action on three fronts: doing all we can to combat climate change; preparing communities for the risks posed by extreme weather and other natural disasters; and strengthening communities’ ability to be economically and culturally resilient in the face of a changing climate and natural disasters. This work is especially critical for the vulnerable communities we serve because they are more likely to be affected by poor health and have fewer resources to rebuild with after disaster strikes.