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Fair and Equal Access to Housing

For better or for worse, the government is a major player in the housing market thanks to HUD.

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is one of the least discussed agencies in the executive branch. But it plays a prominent role in the federal government and is responsible for making it easier for Americans to own homes.

What Is HUD?

The reason HUD exists is to ensure that all Americans have “fair and equal” access to obtaining a home. The agency implements various programs design to support homeowners and help those in the process of buying a home. It also works to increase affordable rental housing and to fight homelessness. The department is also responsible for preventing housing discrimination.

The agency, which is run by the secretary of housing and urban development, oversees federal housing programs designed to increase homeownership. According to its mission statement, it is intended “to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all,” and “to provide safe, decent, affordable housing for the American people while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

Part of HUD’s job is to help create a strong U.S. housing market. It does this by making it easier for people to afford rental housing, improve their existing homes, and strengthen communities. It also oversees the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This organization implements a program tailored towards helping people get home buying loans.

HUD is also in charge of implementing programs and policies like the Fair Housing Act, which was passed in 1968. This legislation prevents people in the housing industry from discriminating on the base of race, nationality, or other factors.

Other initiatives, like the Housing Choice Voucher Program, usually referred to as “Section 8,” are designed to help low-income Americans obtain housing. It helps them find affordable rental housing that is in line with federal health and safety standards.

History Of HUD

Lyndon B. Johnson

HUD was created in 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” Three years later, the Fair Housing Act was passed as part of an overall effort to end discrimination against African Americans, Latinos, and other racial minorities. The department oversees this program and ensures that discrimination does not occur.

In the same year, the Government Mortgage Association was created to help Americans who wished to buy homes. It is a government-owned corporation that guarantees housing loans so that banks who wish to lend money for would-be homeowners do not have to risk losing money if they lend funds to people who end up failing to repay the loan.

Departments like HUD are sometimes the subject of debate, with some questioning whether the federal government should be involved in the housing market. Some argue that the agency is necessary to make sure that Americans are not homeless, or in a position in which they have to live in substandard conditions. But others believe that excessive government involvement in the industry would make people too reliant on the government and would keep them from achieving their own prosperity.

Regardless of what people might think of HUD, it has become an important part of the executive branch, for better or for worse. Moreover, it has established the government as a major player in one of the nation’s housing market.

Race Relations & Media Affairs Correspondent at and A self-confessed news and political junkie, Jeff’s writing has been featured in Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post. Born in Southern California and having experienced the 1992 L.A. Riots up close and personal, Jeff’s insights are informed by his experiences as a black man and a conservative.

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