CPD National Managers Conference

TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2008

Thank you. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I want to thank Susan Peppler and Nelson Bregon for inviting me. And I want to thank all of you for coming.

I am pleased to have this time with you. Your work is vital to our nation. The American people are looking to our department � to each one of you -- for answers. We have an opportunity to make a difference as never before, to have a profound impact on people's lives.

This is a decisive moment in our history. The decisions we make and the work we perform will have enormous consequences.

Time is of the essence. This moment is our window in time. This department is on the front lines. People have turned to us, sometimes with unprecedented needs. So we must respond � effectively and responsibly. We must make our programs as successful as possible.

We must get the most out of our resources, especially in programs where significant grant dollars are provided. That is why this conference is so important. We must manage our resources wisely, skillfully, gaining greater efficiencies and productivity for each tax dollar devoted to the people we serve. And do so through effective partnerships in the communities we serve. Our programs themselves must always be models of credibility, efficiency, compassion, and accountability. HUD must be viewed as a brand name for government service at its best, at its most humane.

I compliment the conference organizers on your productive agenda. This conference is a powerful investment in our work for the people we serve. You are covering many topics that will improve our work product and best target our efforts. You will be taking up leadership skills and performance improvements.

I am determined to make the most of our time together. As you know, I just announced an initiative called "Impact 200," which is a results-oriented agenda for the department that relies on responsibility, transparency, and accountability for success.

It was developed with considerable input from all divisions of the department. I met with career employees, departmental leadership, the union, and many others � customers, partners, and Members of Congress. I gathered representative staff from headquarters and the field together for two days off-site to develop our agenda. I also asked each operating division to formulate mission goals that could be accomplished in our time together. I asked that these goals improve the work and management of this department. I told them that our agenda must be about our constituents, it is about the people we serve. And I asked that these goals be "doable," concrete commitments that would help you become more effective and make the workplace more efficient. I spoke with some of you here, and incorporated your ideas and suggestions into this "call to action."

In short, as a department, together we have focused our efforts. We have put in place a series of actions that can be accomplished in the next six months. And we have also moved to create a foundation for further improvements under the next administration.

One place that we need to focus our attention is the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG). Over 1200 communities receive grants. Since 1974, the CDBG program has provided more than $120 billion to state and local governments to target their own community development priorities. So, we face some demanding challenges in running the program. Many people have asked that we rethink the SUPERNOFA process. This conference will help address those challenges. So will Impact 200.

Another example is the "HOME" program. Since 1992, more than 600 communities have used HOME funding to complete more than 834,000 affordable housing units, including 352,000 for new homebuyers. We have to make certain that taxpayer dollars are used properly. We also have to build on the local partnerships in place and continue our high level of compliance. We need these HOME dollars to be used as efficiently as possible as a match with other leveraged resources. Affordable housing is needed. It must be part of the many solutions to the turbulence in the housing market.

Well, there is much more to discuss. You are on the front lines. We need your voice and your insights. We need your field background. I just wanted to come here and thank you for your good work. I am so impressed by the commitment, professionalism, and service provided by each one of you. I am honored to serve with you, to work with you. Together, our work will make a difference for people in need. I'm proud to work with you.

Again, thank you for inviting me.


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