HUD FY 2009 Budget Media Statement
ALPHONSO JACKSON, SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2008
Good morning. Thank you all for coming.
Today, I am proud to present the President's Fiscal Year 2009 Budget request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Let me start by recognizing HUD's unique mission. We are in the business of building dreams. The American Dream of homeownership. The dream of quality affordable housing in vibrant communities. The dream of ending chronic homelessness in America.
At the same time, we must be aware of new realities.
Falling home prices. Rising default rates. Families sitting around the kitchen table, as the President said, worried about losing their homes, and not knowing who to call or how to fix it.
Our budget addresses both.
- It promotes sustainable homeownership by helping families keep their homes;
- It fights predatory and discriminatory lending;
- It expands affordable housing and revitalizes communities; and
- It provides care and shelter for the most vulnerable among us.
The President is seeking $38.5 billion for our Department.
This represents a $3.2 billion, or nine percent increase over the previous year's proposal.
This is over one billion dollars more than HUD's current budget authority.
Allow me to break it down.
Homeownership rates remain at near-record levels. And we are on track to meeting the President's goal of 5.5 million new minority homeowners by the end of the decade. Now we must help families keep their homes.
More than half of delinquent homeowners don't know that free housing counseling is available to them. This Budget seeks $65 million for HUD's housing counseling program, a $15 million increase over 2008. Since 2001, we've increased funds for this highly effective program by 150 percent.
The Budget also requests a significant increase in our SHOP Program, that helps Habitat for Humanity and other "sweat equity" groups produce affordable housing.
We must also make sure the Federal Housing Administration is equipped to meet the demand for safer alternatives to subprime loans.
Last year, President Bush created FHASecure to help homeowners with good credit histories refinance into the FHA. By year's end, FHA expects to help more than 300,000 families-at no cost to the taxpayer.
Our next step is to modernize FHA so we can penetrate more markets and help more families.
Second, our commitment to fair housing and lending.
This year marks the 40th year since passage of the Fair Housing Act. We're fighting as if it was day one.
Our Budget provides $51 million to protect the right of all Americans to be free from housing discrimination based on race, religion, sex, family status, or disability.
This is one million dollars higher than the current appropriated level. We're also funding our new Fair Lending Division, which investigates violations of fair lending practices.
Third, with all the talk about homeownership, we also recognize the tremendous need for affordable rental housing.
We are proposing a total of more than 29-BILLION DOLLARS in rental assistance and Public Housing Capital and Operating funds.
We expect it to help nearly five million American families afford a decent home.
The President also proposes $2 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program...an increase of $263 million.
The Budget contains $3 billion in Community Development Block Grant funding for States and local governments.
We have once again asked Congress to revise CDBG's outdated funding formula so we can distribute resources more efficiently and fairly, to areas of greatest need.
Let me say a word about the recovery effort from Hurricane Katrina. HUD has allocated nearly $20 billion throughout the Gulf Coast region, and to date, states have spent $8.5 billion. Thus far, more than 100,000 households in Louisiana and Mississippi have received assistance.
Finally, we are committed to helping our most vulnerable populations.
Once again, the President is proposing a record level of commitment to house and serve homeless individuals.
The FY 2009 Budget seeks a record $1.6 billion for local programs on the front lines of helping homeless persons and families.
It also supports the President's commitment to end chronic homelessness in America. We're headed in the right direction; the number of homeless is falling.
All of us are deeply grateful for the service and sacrifice of our nation's veterans. The Budget requests $75 million for the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, or VASH. Prior to last year, this program had not been funded since 1993. Working with the VA, we will double the number of available housing vouchers to serve nearly 20,000 veterans.
The Budget seeks $300 million for persons living with HIV/AIDS. It will provide housing and care to 67,000 persons.
This is a Budget which spends taxpayers' dollars wisely. Last year, the Government Accountability Office removed HUD from its Watch List of high-risk government programs-the first time in 13 years no HUD programs were on the list.
The President and I have set out a hopeful agenda that builds on the progress of the last seven years while putting in place a firm foundation for the future.
It will make the dream of homeownership a reality for millions of families, and help keep the dream alive for millions more.
With that, I now turn to HUD's Chief Financial Officer John Cox to provide greater detail; he will be followed by Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner Brian Montgomery who will give us an update on FHASecure and the FHA Modernization bill, which is a crucial piece of legislation for today's American homeowners.
NOTE: To read the Press Release, visit