WASHINGTON - U.S Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge today delivered the following testimony at the House Committee on Financial Services' hearing "Building Back A Better, More Equitable Housing Infrastructure for America: Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development":
Chairwoman Waters, Ranking Member McHenry, and distinguished Members of the Committee: Thank you for this opportunity to discuss the transformational investments the Biden-Harris administration has proposed to advance housing opportunity in America.
I know President Biden is committed-in his head and in his heart-to help more people find a stable, affordable, and dignified place to call home. He has made that commitment clear.
The President's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2022 requests $68.7 billion for HUD. This represents an increase of $9 billion-or 15 percent-from our enacted funding from the previous fiscal year.
The American people need every dollar in this Budget.
Today, it is harder to find an affordable home in America than at any point since the 2008 financial crisis. The high cost of housing keeps millions of families up at night.
They wonder if they can afford to keep a roof over their head-and still manage to keep their lights on…to pay for their prescriptions…to put food on their tables.
The President's Budget takes bold action to address our affordable housing crisis-and to dramatically strengthen our social safety net for the most vulnerable among us.
The President's Budget requests $3.5 billion to provide housing and supportive services to Americans experiencing homelessness-including young people and survivors of domestic violence.
It contains $30.4 billion for HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Program. If enacted, it would deliver life-changing assistance to an additional 200,000 households.
The President understands that investing in housing represents a major solution for advancing equity on behalf of underserved Americans.
The President's Budget requests $723 million in Indian Housing Block Grants to create affordable housing and spark economic development on tribal lands.
It contains $3.8 billion in Community Development Block Grants-including $295 million in targeted funding for historically underserved areas in cities, small towns, and rural communities.
Nearly half of our public housing stock is more than 50 years old. Many properties face significant capital needs. This is not just a safety issue but an issue of racial justice-as Americans of color represent roughly 70 percent of people in public housing.
The President's Budget provides $3.2 billion in capital funds to help restore public housing-and to improve the quality of life for the residents we serve.
We know people of color are especially vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change and extreme weather.
We are three times as likely to live in areas which lack green infrastructure that helps guard against flooding. Too often, we find ourselves in the path of natural disasters-and are denied the resources we need to rebuild our homes and communities.
That is why the President's Budget provides $800 million to strengthen climate resilience in public housing, on tribal lands, and across HUD-supported communities.
The President's 2022 Budget is just one part of his commitment to make generational investments into America's housing.
In addition to the vital support contained in his Budget, the President has called for sweeping new housing investments through his Build Back Better agenda. These investments would help build or restore more than 2 million affordable homes.
The Build Back Better agenda would help more families of modest means realize the dream of homeownership. It would expand our supply of affordable rental housing-and help revitalize our public housing stock.
Our nation must move with urgency to enact the investments contained in both the President's Budget-and his Build Back Better agenda.
During the COVID-19 crisis, we all came to appreciate just how important it is to have a safe and stable place to call home.
Today-thanks to the leadership of President Biden-our country is making great strides in rebuilding from the pandemic.
Our economy is surging. More Americans continue to get vaccinated. Life is beginning to feel closer to normal.
Yet America cannot return to the status quo of yesterday-prior to the pandemic. We must not return to an America beset by crumbling homes and buildings; to an America grappling with a crisis in affordable housing.
We must build back better, together.
I look forward to partnering with this Committee to help make housing-for-all a reality in our nation-and to ensure that HUD acts as a responsible steward for the funding entrusted to us.
With that, I am happy to answer your questions.