Remarks for Secretary Julián Castro
"Dare to Own the Dream"
National Homeownership Month Event
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, DC

As prepared for delivery

Good morning everyone! Thank you Ed (Golding) for that kind introduction, and for your leadership at the FHA. I also want to recognize a longtime champion for working families, and a key member of the Obama Administration - Cecilia Munoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, who will join us later this morning.

I'd like to acknowledge Sarah Gerecke and HUD's entire Office of Housing Counseling. They're incredible public servants, and I'm honored to call them my colleagues. A big thanks to all the housing counselors and advocates in the audience for your great work. And I want to thank all the homeowners who will share their inspiring stories in just a few moments.

It's great to join everyone in celebrating National Homeownership Month! And it's fitting that we've gathered here at the White House to mark this occasion. 

We all know that when President Obama first took office back in January of 2009, there wasn't a lot to celebrate about our nation's housing market. Home values were plunging, foreclosures were skyrocketing, and construction companies had stopped building. 

But thanks to the President, to the hard work of leaders across the Obama Administration, and to folks like you, we've seen a tremendous resurgence over the last seven years. Americans have built roughly $7 trillion in housing wealth since 2009. In the last year alone, home values rose as much as 7 percent nationwide, and sales of single-family homes reached their highest level in nearly a decade. And since the typical American family has more than 60 percent of their net worth tied to their home, the recovery in our housing market has helped jumpstart our entire economy.

I'm proud of HUD's role in achieving this progress. In the midst of the crisis, the FHA took decisive action that helped stabilize our nation's housing market. Independent economists estimate that these measures prevented housing prices from dropping another 25 percent, and home sales from falling by another 33 percent. They also saved nearly 3 million jobs, and roughly half-a-trillion dollars in economic output.

After the market returned to solid footing, we didn't just stand pat and congratulate ourselves on a job well done. We turned our focus toward opening the doors of opportunity for underserved Americans, and we made it easier for more hardworking, responsible borrowers to realize their dreams of homeownership.

In Fiscal Year 2015 alone, the FHA helped more than 1.1 million families to buy or refinance their homes. And nearly half of all Latino and African-American households who purchased or refinanced their homes received support from FHA.

Over that same period of time, our Office of Housing Counseling has also provided financial knowledge and empowerment to more than 1.3 million families. And today, I'm happy to announce that we're awarding $42 million in new housing counseling grants, funding that will help nearly 200 agencies to continue their outstanding work. 

Research shows that these investments make sense for families, and for our economy. Borrowers who receive counseling are more likely to make their mortgage payments, to avoid foreclosure, and to bounce back after tough times. And later this month, HUD will publish preliminary findings from the first ever large-scale national study on the impact of housing counseling. 

Without question, our nation has come a long way over the last seven years. And today's celebration is about more than just reflecting on all we've accomplished. We've got to build on our progress, and that begins with recommitting ourselves to this important work.

This morning, we'll hear some powerful stories that prove the extraordinary difference that housing counselors can make.  

We'll meet Kibsaim, the pastor of a small church in Virginia who came to the United States five years ago in search of a better life for his four children.

We'll meet Shaun, a soldier from rural Maine, and hear about the bond he's formed with an incredible housing counselor who has her own deep connection to the military.

And we'll hear from Rockea, an inspiring young lady from Indianapolis who's busting the myth that millennials aren't interested in homeownership.

Each of our guests overcame long odds, and they displayed tremendous determination in the face of adversity. While they hail from different backgrounds and represent different parts of America, they share at least one very important thing in common.

They all Dared to Own the Dream. And thanks to the support of dedicated housing counselors - thanks to folks like you - they all turned their dreams into reality. 

So I want to end this morning by thanking each of you for everything that you do. For helping more Americans to experience the pride of purchasing their first home. For helping more parents to provide a lasting symbol of security and stability to their families, one they can pass on to future generations. And for helping more hardworking families realize an enduring piece of the American Dream.

I want you to know that HUD is proud to stand with you in fulfilling this important mission. I know that, together, we can continue to unlock the doors of opportunity for folks across this nation.

The opportunity to have a place of their own, one where they can create lasting memories with the people they love.  The opportunity to live in neighborhoods of promise with better schools, and safer streets.  And the opportunity to build a brighter future for their children, and for their children's children.

That's what we're building toward, and we're going to get there - together.

Thank you very much!


Content Archived: February 9, 2018