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Overview

A cabinet level agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees federal programs designed to help Americans meet their housing needs. HUD seeks to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. The agency enforces a swath of federal housing laws, operates mortgage-supportive initiatives and distributes millions of dollars in federal grants. HUD is also one of the most scandal-plagued agencies in the federal government. Over the last three decades, one HUD secretary after another has been implicated in public controversies, with several having to resign. Scandals have often involved allegations of distributing HUD contracts to friends or associates of the department’s top official. In addition, HUD’s mortgage operations have gotten into hot water during the recent sub-prime housing crisis.


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History:

Congress created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in 1934 to help Americans with their housing needs during the Great Depression.

 
In July 1947, the Housing and Home Finance Agency was established to help people buy homes following World War II. Two years later, the Housing Act of 1949 was enacted to help eradicate slums and promote redevelopment in urban areas. 
 
Throughout the 1950s, FHA focused on broadening its mission. In September 1959, a new Housing Act allowed funds for elderly housing. 
 
FHA became a part of the new Department of Housing and Urban Development created in September 1965. In the 1960s, HUD sought to eliminate discrimination through the implementation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The department also enforced the provisions of the Brooke Amendment in 1969, which established that low-income families would pay no more than 25% of their incomes for rent. Robert C. Weaver, HUD’s first secretary, oversaw the department’s anti-discrimination efforts under the Fair Housing Act—efforts that became especially important when riots broke out in predominantly African-American areas after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. The decade ended with the establishment of the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae), which expanded availability of mortgage funds for moderate-income families. The government, using mortgage-backed securities, guaranteed these funds.
   
In 1970, the Housing and Urban Development Act introduced the Federal Experimental Housing Allowing Program and Community Development Corporation. The Pruitt-Igoe housing buildings in St. Louis, a controversial public housing project that suffered numerous problems since opening in 1951, were demolished in 1972. The following year, President Richard Nixon declared a moratorium on housing and community development assistance. In 1974, the Housing and Community Development Act was signed. This new law provided for community development block grants and offered help for urban homesteading. Help for the elderly and handicapped continued under the Housing and Community Act of 1977, which set up Community Development Block Grants for these groups. Section 8, which gave low-income residents a wider range of housing choices, began to operate, using tenant-based certificates.
           
Under President Jimmy Carter, HUD, led by Patricia R. Harris, began to issue Urban Development Action Grants (UDAG), which gave distressed communities funds for residential or nonresidential use. Inflation continued to be a problem throughout the 1970s, and when it hit 19% in 1979, HUD began looking for ways to help Americans buy homes and secure home mortgage loans. 
           
The Depository Institutions’ Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 changed the rules governing thrift institutions. This helped to expand alternative mortgages and assisted first-time homebuyers. Mortgage rates continued to climb, however, and even those from Federal Housing Authority-insured mortgages peaked at 15.17%. This was an increase of 8.17%, up from 7 percent in 1972. The Housing and Urban-Rural Recovery Act of 1983 began new Housing Development Action Grant and Rental Rehabilitation programs.
           
The 1980s also saw HUD trying to assist in the problem of homelessness, first with the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (AKA the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act), which gave money directly to local communities trying to assist the homeless. In February 1988, the Housing and Community Development Act provided for the sale of public housing to resident management corporations. This was done to help alleviate homelessness by increasing opportunities for low-income housing. At the close of the decade, the Indian Housing Act gave HUD new responsibilities for the housing needs of Native Americans and Alaskan Indians. And following the savings and loan crisis, the Financial Institutions’ Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act bailed out failing thrift institutions.
           
In the 1990s, HUD concentrated its efforts on revitalizing public housing. The Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act emphasized homeownership and tenant-based assistance, and it launched the HOME housing block grant. Additionally, the Low-Income Housing Preservation and Residential Homeownership Act of 1990 strengthened the government’s commitment to the preservation of assisted, low-income multifamily housing. 
 
In October 1992, the HOPE IV program began its work to locate and renovate existing public housing. That same year, the Federal Housing Enterprises’ Financial Safety and Soundness Act created HUD’s Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight to provide oversight for Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). In 1993, the Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community program became law as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. 
 
In 1995, HUD became involved in housing reform with the “Blueprint for Reinvention of HUD.” Suggestions included consolidation of other programs into three block grants. The Housing Opportunity Program Extension Act, signed in March 1996, gave public housing authorities tools to screen out and evict potentially dangerous residents, due to substance abuse or criminal behavior. In October 1998, new government laws were established to allow local housing authorities to open up more public housing to the middle class. At the same time, HUD opened its first Enforcement Center, which was charged with taking action against HUD-assisted multifamily property owners and other HUD fund recipients who violated laws and regulations. Congress continued to enact public housing reforms, reducing segregation by race and income, encouraging and rewarding work, bringing more working families into public housing and increasing the availability of subsidized housing for very poor families. 
             
HUD has had a long history of scandal and controversy. During the 1980s, HUD became embroiled in accusations of playing favorites with developers and housing officials who had political connections with the Reagan administration. One example involved a housing project in Durham, North Carolina, that was given the go-ahead even though some HUD staffers had found hazardous waste near the site. The mayor of Durham at that time was a friend of HUD secretary, Samuel Pierce, who was called before Congress to testify in regards to the many claims of improper dealings by his department. Pierce refused to testify by citing the Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself.
           
HUD continued to be the focus of problems during the 1990s. As the department struggled to clear itself of the scandals from the previous decade, the Government Accountability Office labeled HUD a “high risk” of not properly accounting for its financial records—a label that remained for the rest of the 1990s. Scandal also enveloped HUD’s secretary under President Bill Clinton. Henry Cisneros, who was a rising star in the Democratic Party when he was appointed to lead HUD, found himself investigated by the FBI for failing to disclose payments he had made before joining the administration to keep an affair quiet. Cisneros wound up resigning from office. During the scandal, congressional Republicans tried unsuccessfully to abolish HUD. The move did succeed in forcing the Clinton administration to downsize HUD’s bureaucracy.
           
The years of the Bush administration have also witnessed troubles with HUD, especially involving former secretary Alphonso Jackson (see Controversies).
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What it Does:

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a cabinet-level agency that oversees federal programs designed to help Americans with their housing needs. HUD seeks to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. The agency enforces a swath of federal housing laws, operates mortgage-supportive initiatives and distributes millions of dollars in federal grants.

 
Key HUD Offices:
 
Federal Housing Administration: FHA was originally the forerunner before HUD was founded. Founded in 1934 to revive a housing industry leveled by the Great Depression, FHA sought to stimulate homeownership by providing mortgage insurance and regulating interest rates. Over time, the agency has contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of homeowners across a diverse income-scale. Early programs especially increased the market for single-family homes, while special housing initiatives for veterans in the post-WWII era—and for the elderly, disabled and lower-income buyers in the subsequent decade—expanded untapped or difficult market areas. Since its inception, FHA has insured 34 million homes and manages a current insurance portfolio of $400 million. The agency was incorporated into HUD when the latter became a cabinet-level agency in 1965. As FHA experienced a significant loss of market share in the last several years, attention turned towards reform measures to “modernize” its programs, making them more flexible and accessible to a wider range of buyers—while simultaneously providing stability and a safe alternative to sub-prime lending. In 2007, FHA added the new “FHA-Secure” refinancing program to help borrowers hurt by the sub-prime crisis.
 
Office of Public and Indian Housing: PIH manages a large number of programs that provide funding through grants that are designed to help residents of affordable housing become more self-sufficient and economic independent. PIH also works with public housing authorities across the country to help them improve their management and service delivery efforts. The office also is in charge of programs designed to improve housing conditions for Native American families.
 
Office of Community Planning and Development: CPD is responsible for distributing different kinds of grants throughout the country to help low-income communities finance growth and development. CPD also supports efforts to alleviate homelessness through numerous grant programs. Like its parent, HUD, the Office of Community Planning and Development has been the subject of controversy over the misuse of federal funds involving political appointees of President George W. Bush.
 
Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control: OHHLHC is responsible for helping to eliminate health problems caused by lead-based paint in privately-owned and low-income housing. Using scientific research and grants, OHHLHC helps local communities to address their own lead paint exposure. Additionally, OHHLHC enforces HUD’s lead-based paint regulations. The office has been the focus of some controversy, ranging from personnel problems inside the agency to disputes with advocacy groups regarding how OHHLHC’s grants are awarded. 
 
Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight: OFHEO is an independent entity within the Department of Housing and Urban Development responsible for ensuring the stability, liquidity and affordability of the US mortgage market. The office does this by overseeing two housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)—Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)—which together own and/or secure more than 70% of residential mortgage loans in the United States. As the primary regulator of the two GSEs, the OFHEO is responsible for supervising their operations and ensuring their stability, capitalization, and compliance with legal requirements and standards. OFHEO is headed by a director who is appointed to a five-year term by the President, and it is funded through the GSEs it oversees.
 
Office of Policy Development and Research: PD&R serves as a research, survey, study and analysis support system for HUD. It assists in oversight of the United States government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac housing mortgage loan enterprises, and PD&R is meant to facilitate the formation of partnerships between universities and communities so they can jointly address urban problems. The office’s staff is made up of economists, engineers, planners, policy experts and social scientists who provide technical oversight to the HUD teams making policy decisions and preparing budget and legislative proposals.
 
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity: FHEO seeks to prevent discrimination in housing on the basis of race, sex, family status and other grounds. One of the largest federal civil rights agencies, FHEO administers federal laws and makes policy regarding equal access to housing. The office administers funding, processes discrimination complaints, and oversees enforcement and compliance with federal laws. The agency is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Fair Housing Act and other civil rights laws—including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
 
Government National Mortgage Association: GNMA, or “Ginnie Mae,” is an agency within HUD that is designed to support the government’s housing programs by creating a secondary market to buy and sell residential mortgages. Ginnie Mae provides guarantees for mortgage-backed securities (MBS), most of which are federally insured loans issued by the Federal Housing Administration and other federal housing offices. In effect, the agency buys mortgages from lending institutions and pools them into government-backed securities, which it sells to investors, guaranteeing timely repayment on both the principal and the interest. Ginnie Mae operations have directly affected low- and moderate-income potential homeowners. By providing a safety net for lenders and investors, GNMA securities ensure a steady flow of capital to the (secondary) mortgage market and create accessible terms for many people who might not otherwise be serviced by traditional lenders. (This has changed somewhat in recent years, with private-sector companies taking an increasing share of the secondary mortgage market and offering competitive mortgage deals, including in the sub-prime market).
 
HUD Support Offices
 
Administration develops and implements policies and procedures associated with human capital management and the administrative management of the department. The office oversees Grants Management (Super Notice of Funding Availability-SuperNOFA), Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests, human capital management, executive scheduling services for senior executives and the central coordinating point for all secretary and deputy secretary correspondence.
 
 
Board of Contract Appeals provides due process through dispositions of all matters brought before the board. The board presides over on-the-record hearings, motion practice and settlement hearings.
 
Enforcement Center deals with troubled housing projects. When owners fail to bring properties up to standard, the center takes appropriate enforcement action. This includes administrative sanctions, such as civil money penalties, suspension and/or debarment, and possible referral to the Department of Justice for civil action. When criminal activity is suspected, the center refers cases to HUD’s Office of the Inspector General.
 
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives implements President George W. Bush’s faith-based programs involving housing programs.
 
 
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Where Does the Money Go

The Department of Housing and Urban Development spent nearly $8.1 billion on 5,988 contractors this decade. According to USASpending.gov, HUD paid for a variety of services, from automatic data processing and telecommunications services to research and development in support of its goals.

 
The top 10 contractors are:
 
Lockheed Martin Corporation                          $791,331,987
First Preston Management, Inc.                                    $497,527,786
Michaelson, Connor & Boul, Inc.                    $429,052,149
Golden Feather Realty Services, Inc.               $408,329,665
Harrington, Moran, Barksdale, Inc.                  $290,005,823
ATS Corporation                                             $277,951,955
Electronic Data Systems Corporation               $244,451,520
ARCO Management of Washington, DC, Inc.            $222,708,600
National Home Management Solutions, LLC  $169,094,810
Eaton Corporation                                           $144,152,847
 
Lockheed Martin, HUD’s largest contractor and long one of the nation’s top defense contractors, provides automatic data processing and telecommunications services for HUD, while First Preston Management, Inc. provides professional administrative and management support services. According to their web site, First Preston “specializes in the marketing and management of real estate portfolios owned by mortgage banking companies, government agencies and other clients.”
 
In addition to spending money on contractors, HUD allocates millions of dollars each year in federal grants to support a variety of housing goals. In 2005, the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control distributed $123 million in grants to eliminate dangerous lead paint hazards in thousands of privately owned, low-income housing units. These funds were provided through HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant programs. In addition, HUD’s Operation LEAP (Lead Elimination Action Program) provided $4 million to encourage private sector contributions to reduce the risk of lead ingestion among children. HUD also awarded $2.3 million in Lead Outreach grants for public education campaigns on what parents, building owners and others can do to protect children. Further, nearly $1.7 million assisted research to study methods to reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of lead hazard control strategies.
 
The Office of Community Planning & Development provides financial information on the distribution of its grants to states, cities and counties throughout the United States. Cumulative dollar totals are made available on five different types of grants: Community Development Block Grants (CDBG); HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME); American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI); Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA); and Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG). Information can be viewed by state, which includes totals for individual cities and counties, or by all cities and counties listed together in one compilation. State breakdowns are available by year, from 2001 to 2008. Some of the largest recipients among cities of CPD grants are as follows: New York ($357 million); Los Angeles ($125 million); Chicago ($121 million); Philadelphia ($75 million); Houston ($49 million); Detroit ($48 million); Baltimore ($39 million); San Francisco ($38 million); and Cleveland ($32 million).
 
Examples of other HUD grants:
Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) provided $50 million to help seniors and families living in public housing be more independent and have access to education and training opportunities. In addition, $60 million was distributed to help low-income individuals find jobs and achieve economic self-sufficiency.Section 202 Demonstration and Planning provided $18 million to help develop housing for low-income people who were also elderly. These grants went to 75 sponsors.
HOPE VI grants:
  • Washington DC was awarded a $20 million HOPE VI grant for revitalization of Sheridan Terrace Housing Development. It will be replaced with a new mixed-income neighborhood. 
  • Boston was awarded a $20 million HOPE VI grant for revitalization of Washington Beech public housing project. A new mixed-income neighborhood will replace the 57-year old complex.
  • North Carolina was awarded a $20 million HOPE VI grant to revitalize public housing developments in Fayetteville. 
  • Phoenix was awarded a $8.9 million HOPE VI grant to revitalize the A.L. Krohn Homes public housing development and replace them with a new mixed income neighborhood.
  • New Orleans was awarded a $20 million HOPE VI grant to revitalize C.J. Peete public housing development and add affordable housing units, as well as support services for relocated residents.  
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Controversies:

HUD Secretary Resigns

In March 2008, embattled HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson resigned while under investigation by the HUD inspector general, a federal grand jury and the Justice Department. Jackson has been accused of steering HUD funds and contracts to friends and Bush political supporters in violation of federal regulations. Jackson’s wife also was implicated in the scandal.
 
In 2006, Jackson publicly boasted that he had canceled a HUD contract to a critic of President Bush. US Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) called for Jackson to resign. Jackson later claimed he had been joking about the contractor. A subsequent investigation and report from the Criminal Investigations Division at HUD’s Office of the Inspector General found no evidence that Jackson had killed any such contract, effectively relieving him of guilt for the incident. The report described investigators’ probes into the political contributions of 29 companies that received HUD contracts (finding that their officers and key staff members had made total contributions of $101, 931 to Republicans and $35,320 to Democratic candidates) and described Jackson’s personal involvement with contractors.
 
The issue was reopened with a series of investigative reports in the National Journal Magazine which reported that a friend (and golfing partner) of Jackson, William Hairston, had received more than $485,000 in contracted work for HUD. The story led to a Department of Justice investigation, focusing in part on whether Jackson had been entirely truthful in his testimony during the initial investigation when he had said that he hadn’t favored friends or administration supporters when awarding contracts. The FBI (with HUD Investigator General, a federal grand jury and Department of Justice prosecutors) are exploring the secretary’s connections to contractors who were awarded lucrative contracts at the housing authority for New Orleans (under Jackson’s direction at HUD). Among the issues is a “conflict of interest” over a $127 million New Orleans redevelopment project Jackson awarded to Columbia Residential—a company Jackson used to work for, and which owes him a reported $250,00-$500,000 for unpaid services.
Firms Tied To HUD Chief's Wife (by Edward T. Pound, National Journal)
Official’s Ties to Contractor Are Scrutinized (by Philip Shenon, New York Times)
Investigators probe whether HUD chief steered contract (by Edward T. Pound, National Journal)
 
HUD and Hurricane Katrina
In June 2006 HUD and the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) announced demolition plans for four of the city’s largest public housing developments, about 4,500 of an estimated 5,000 units. Tenants had been forcibly evacuated during the 2005 storm and government officials prevented them from returning to their homes afterward. Local demonstrations, national and international debate ensued over the fate of the city’s public housing.
 
Opponents of the demolition maintained that the resilient brick buildings suffered only minimal water damage and could be rehabilitated. Part of the issue was the rental market in New Orleans: Katrina destroyed more than 50,000 rental units and damaged thousands more, altogether affecting two-thirds of the city’s rentals—and driving up prices for those that remained habitable. At a time when homeless numbers in New Orleans were said to have doubled and thousands of displaced people were still without a home, critics argued that it remained crucial to keep as much low-cost housing available as possible.
           
Others maintained that rehabilitation of the substandard units was a cumulative and complex issue—and not, in fact, a cheaper alternative. Arguments for the demolition leaned toward broader narratives about reconstructing socio-economic landscapes of the crime-ridden and generally run-down neighborhoods themselves.
           
International bodies and political figures condemned HUD’s demolition plans for New Orleans public housing, calling attention to what was increasingly perceived as systematic human and minority rights violations.
 
HUD Exacerbates Mortgage Crisis
In 2004, as regulators warned that subprime lenders were saddling borrowers with mortgages they could not afford, the Department of Housing and Urban Development helped fuel more of that risky lending. Eager to put more low-income and minority families into their own homes, the agency required that two government-chartered mortgage finance firms purchase far more “affordable” loans made to these borrowers. HUD stuck with an outdated policy that allowed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to count billions of dollars they invested in subprime loans as a public good that would foster affordable housing.
 
Housing experts and some congressional leaders now view those decisions as mistakes that contributed to an escalation of subprime lending that is roiling the American economy. The agency neglected to examine whether borrowers could make the payments on the loans that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae classified as affordable. From 2004 to 2006, the two purchased $434 billion in securities backed by subprime loans, creating a market for more such lending. Subprime loans are targeted toward borrowers with poor credit, and they generally carry higher interest rates than conventional loans.
How HUD Mortgage Policy Fed the Crisis (by Carol D. Leonnig, Washington Post)
 
Jackson Tries to Fire Lead Expert
In 2004, HUD Secretary Alphonse Jackson notified Dave Jacobs, director of the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control (OHHLHC), that he would be fired for cause. However, Jacobs refuted the charges and more than 60 individuals wrote letters of support to Secretary Jackson to express their confidence in Jacobs’ leadership.
 
During Jacobs’ nine-year tenure at OHHLHC, it’s believed he has been responsible for many of the gains made by the agency. He is widely considered the country’s leading expert on lead poisoning prevention and healthy homes. After supporters protested his removal, HUD Secretary Jackson reassigned Jacobs to a special assistant post in the Office of Community Planning and Development. Under federal personnel rules, senior executives have no grounds to appeal reassignments of this nature.
 Jacobs Cleared of Charges, Shuffled Aside (Alliance for Healthy Homes)
 
Freddie Mac Accounting Scandal
News surfaced in 2003 that mortgage giant Freddie Mac had underestimated its earnings by $5 billion, one of the largest corporate restatements in US history. Freddie Mac officials claimed no wrongdoing and agreed to pay a $125 million civil penalty. A 200-page report by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) revealed that company earnings were manipulated to meet investors’ expectations and included a scathing indictment of the “corporate culture” that had fostered such flagrant misconduct.
Freddie Mac Gets Penalty And Rebuke Over Scandal (by Jonathan D. Glater, New York Times)
Shaking Steady Freddie (by Ari Weinberg, Forbes)
 
Fannie Mae Accounting Scandal
In July 2003 the CEO of Fannie Mae claimed undue damage was being caused to the company’s public image because of the Freddie Mac scandal. By October the company disclosed a $1.2 billion accounting error for the third quarter.
 
The issue was first made public in 2004 after a preliminary OFHEO probe alleging manipulated earnings from 1998-2004 that totaled $10.6 billion. The report fingered Fannie Mae for cooking the books to make it look like they had reached earnings targets—triggering the maximum possible payout in bonuses for executives.
           
OFHEO officials drew attention to what they termed “corporate culture that emphasized stable earnings at the expense of accurate financial disclosures”—meaning Fannie Mae management had intentionally covered up glitches in its earnings in order to give the investors the (false) impression that it was a low-risk option. Officials also gave a detailed account of insiders who allegedly tried to thwart their investigation. Fannie Mae leaders and the agency’s “culture” were blamed for the mess. A penalty of $400 million was levied against the agency.
History of Fannie Mae Scandal (Associated Press)
 
CPD Director in Thick of San Francisco Housing Scandal
When things got ugly over an attempted cover up between HUD leadership and San Francisco’s embattled housing authority, the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD)’s top official tried to stifle a departmental whistleblower.
 
The saga began when Richard Mallory, HUD’s Western regional director, claimed he was fired as part of an effort by HUD’s top officials to conceal fiscal improprieties engineered by HUD’s No. 2 man, Alphonso Jackson, and Mayor Willie Brown. Mallory released copies of his letters to HUD to the San Francisco Chronicle claiming that Jackson shut down HUD’s efforts to force San Francisco to repay $1.8 million in federal funds that auditors said the SF Housing Authority had misused. He also accused Jackson of thwarting a HUD plan to fine the city $400,000 for misusing federal grants in connection with an unusual real estate deal involving Brown’s friend Charlie Walker and a Nation of Islam mosque.
 
Mallory said he was berated by Pamela Patenaude, CPD’s director at the time, for sending her an email regarding a Freedom of Information Act request filed by local television station that was researching a story about alleged improprieties in the sale of Federal Housing Administration property. The station story also was exploring any role that another HUD executive in the San Francisco office, Lily Lee, may have played, Mallory wrote.
 
In response to his email, Patenaude told Mallory that “Lily Lee is a friend of the deputy secretary,” meaning Jackson, and chastised Mallory for sending her the email because it was “discoverable,” meaning it could be revealed in a lawsuit.
 
Mallory also got in trouble when he balked at staging a press event with Mayor Brown to mark San Francisco’s participation in a HUD program to boost economic development in poor neighborhoods. Mallory argued that HUD officials shouldn't appear in public with Brown while he was refusing to clean up the problems at the Housing Authority noted in the audit nearly two years before.
 
Patenaude, according to Mallory, then phoned him and demanded that he resign. Mallory refused, and the next day he received a fax from Jackson notifying him he was fired.
Fired official accuses HUD of coverup (by Lance Williams, San Francisco Chronicle)
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Debate:

Should Housing be Subsidized?

For decades, the debate over subsidized housing has centered on the quality of housing and the perceived failure of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to contribute to lasting urban renewal.
 
Critics, generally from the right, have argued that subsidized housing is substandard, and it segregates the poorest people from the working classes, inculcating a culture of dependence and inactivity, as well as general environmental degradation. They similarly complain about the size of subsidy payments, a windfall for developers, feeding an entrenched political cycle.
           
On the other hand, critics from the left, including housing advocates, academics and politicians, have historically taken issue with HUD’s Urban Renewal and Modern Cities programs, and the effect of the resulting displacement and underdevelopment on society’s most disadvantaged citizens. While Republicans have generally persisted in calling for the abolition of HUD or certain crucial programs, Democrats have more often fought to maintain funding and improve administration for public and subsidized housing. 
HUD Ache (by Rochelle L. Stanfield, Government Executive)
The Effects of Subsidized Housing on Communities (by Edward G. Goetz, University of Minnesota Extension)
Spillovers and Subsidized Housing: The Impact of Rental Housing on Neighborhoods (by Ingrid Gould Ellen, Joint Center for Housing Studies-Harvard University) (PDF)
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Suggested Reforms:

Flexible Minimum Down Payments

Unhappy with the state of affairs at the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), lawmakers introduced the Expanding American Homeownership Act to eliminate FHA’s current 3% minimum down payment. Instead, FHA would have to offer a variety of down payment options. It would also have to create a new risk-based insurance premium structure to match the credit profile of the borrower, and increase and simplify FHA’s loan limits. The proposed reform reflects changes that have alienated FHA in the market, where the income-scale of homeowners has broadened, first-time homebuyers are allowed low down payments, and new construction prices often exceed FHA conforming loan limits.
 

GAO Recommends Changes for Fair Housing Office

In April 2004 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed HUD’s procedures for preventing housing discrimination. GAO found that the “timeliness and effectiveness” of HUD’s enforcement process suffered “continuing concerns” and that its practices differed among agencies and states. The report also pointed to a “lengthy wait” for complaint investigations and decisions, with a 200-day average for 1996-2003, far from the legal benchmark of 100 days.

 
GAO made six recommendations to the HUD secretary for improving the management and oversight of the fair housing enforcement process. These recommendations included exploring ways to “disseminate effective practices used at various enforcement locations,” improving tracking and data-gathering procedures, and finding a way to meet human capital challenges in, among other things, staffing and skill levels.

 

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Former Directors:

Alphonso Jackson (Mar. 31, 2004-April 18, 2008)

 
Alphonso Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education administration from Truman State University in Missouri and a law degree from Washington University of St. Louis.
 
In 1977 Jackson became the director of public safety for St. Louis. He also served as executive director for the St. Louis Housing Authority and as a director of consultant services for the CPA firm of Laventhol and Horwath in St. Louis. While there, he also worked as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri.
 
Thereafter, Jackson was appointed director of the Department of Public and Assisted Housing in Washington, DC. From January 1989 until July 1996, he was president and CEO of the Housing Authority for Dallas, TX. He later became president of American Electric Power-Texas, and in 1995 then-Governor George W. Bush appointed him to the Texas Southern University Board of Regents, where he served until 2003. Jackson first joined the Bush Administration in 2001 as HUD’s deputy secretary and chief operating officer. He became HUD’s 13th secretary in 2004.
           
Jackson is a loyal, long-time friend of President Bush and has worked under his authority in some form or another since his Texas days.
Mel Martinez (Jan. 24, 2001 - Dec. 12, 2003)
Andrew M. Cuomo (Jan. 29, 1997 - Jan. 20, 2001)
Henry G. Cisneros (Jan. 22, 1993 - Jan. 19, 1997)
Jack F. Kemp (Feb. 13, 1989 - Jan. 19, 1993)
Samuel R. Pierce, Jr. (Jan. 23, 1981 - Jan. 20, 1989)
Moon Landrieu (Sept. 24, 1979 - Jan. 20, 1981)
Patricia R. Harris (Jan. 23, 1977 - Sept. 10, 1979)
Carla A. Hills (Mar. 10, 1975 - Jan. 20, 1977)
James T. Lynn (Feb. 2, 1973 - Feb. 5, 1975)
George W. Romney (Jan. 22, 1969 - Jan. 20, 1973)
Robert Wood (Wood served between Weaver and Romney with a recess appointment from President Lyndon Johnson, who sent Wood’s nomination to the Senate. It was never acted on, and, therefore, he was never sworn in as secretary.)
Robert C. Weaver (Jan. 18, 1966 - Dec. 18, 1968)
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Comments

Tara Medrano 2 weeks ago
What office to we mail our Freddie Mac FOIA requests to?
Stephane Stevens 1 month ago
Other than the resident manager, who is the individual that I should speak to in reference to the amount of rent that I should pay after cost of living increase?
John W Collins 1 month ago
I am being denied a loan modification by my mortgage company. I have had to file Chapter 13 to save a home my family and I have lived in since 1999. I have been underemployed over the last 6 years and need someone to step in an assist us. The private home savers cost too much money and I am not sure they will be able to help. Please contact: John Collins asap!!!!
Donald Myers 4 months ago
I have a FHA Loan and I am being discriminated by Wells Fargo Bank. How can I file a complaint with HUD and FHA?
Jimmy Fallon 1 year ago
Does this organization receive money form the government to function or must it support itself?
John Googas 2 years ago
Question: Are there HUD regulations regarding nepotism by Board of Directors in the hiring of administrative personnel?

Leave a comment

Founded: 1965
Annual Budget: $40.4 billion
Employees: 9,428
Official Website: http://www.hud.gov/

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Carson, Ben
Secretary

Dr. Ben Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon and defeated presidential candidate who has no background in housing issues, was nominated by President Donald Trump to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He was confirmed on March 2, 2017, with six Democrats and one independent voting along with the Senate’s Republican majority.

 

Carson was born September 18, 1951, in Detroit, Michigan, to Sonya and Robert Carson. Carson’s parents separated when he was eight years old and he went to live with his mother in Boston. But the family moved back to Detroit when Carson was ten. Carson later recounted how his mother restricted him and his brother from watching television and required them to write book reports.

 

Carson attended Southwestern High School in Detroit and graduated in 1969. He wrote in his 1990 autobiography, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, that he had a bad temper in junior high and high school and told of incidents of violence, including punching a boy and stabbing another. The stabbing victim was said to have been saved, according to Carson, when his knife hit the boy’s belt buckle instead of his belly. Carson said he was transformed by God from a violent youth to a composed adult.

 

The problem with this story is that no one recalls Carson being violent during his teen years. He is remembered by his schoolmates as being quiet. “He got through his day trying not to be noticed,” Robert Collier told CNN. “I remember him having a pocket saver. He had thick glasses. He was skinny and unremarkable.”

 

That wasn’t the only questionable story Carson told of his high school years. He also said he’d been offered scholarships to Michigan and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Neither has a record of offering such a scholarship and in fact, West Point has no record of Carson applying for admission. Nor does it even offer scholarships; all cadets receive free education in return for a service obligation after graduation.

 

Nonetheless, Carson did well enough in high school to receive a full scholarship to Yale, where he graduated with a degree in psychology in 1973. He returned to his home state to attend medical school at the University of Michigan, and graduated in 1977.

 

Carson then left Michigan to do his internship at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore and remained there for a residency in neurosurgery. Except for a post-residency year at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Australia, all of Carson’s medical career was spent at Johns Hopkins.

 

In 1984, Carson was named chief of pediatric neurosurgery. Carson made a name for himself in 1987 when he was part of a 70-member team that separated conjoined twins from Germany who were joined at the skull. Since they had separate brains, they were considered good candidates for the pioneering surgery. The twins were successfully separated, but had severe neurological problems afterward. However, Carson repeated the surgery on another pair of conjoined twins ten years later, and the two came out of the operation with no problems. Other such surgeries by Carson resulted in mixed outcomes. Carson also helped repopularize hemispherectomies, or removing half a patient’s brain, to control seizures and saw a great deal of success with the procedures.

 

While Carson was practicing at Johns Hopkins, in 2004 he began a relationship with Mannatech, a dietary supplement company. He spoke at company events and credited their products for curing his prostate cancer, for which he had surgery in 2002. The company in 2009 settled a suit brought by the Texas attorney general’s office for claims that their product could cure autism and cancer. Mannatech paid $7 million in the settlement. Carson continued his relationship with the company, which he later brushed off—“I did a couple speeches for them,” he said during one of the presidential primary debates—until 2014.

 

Carson made his mark in the political arena in February 2013, when he was the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast. Carson criticized President Barack Obama, who was sitting just a few feet from Carson on the dais, for his healthcare policies. Carson called for establishing Health Savings Accounts instead of promoting insurance. In a subsequent speech, Carson compared the Affordable Care Act to slavery.

 

Carson had made his name in conservative politics and, when he retired from medicine in July 2013, he went to work for Fox News as a commentator, remaining there until the following year.

 

Carson announced his candidacy for president in May 2015. Not long afterward, he took on the agency that he would eventually run. In July 2015, Carson wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Times that newly instituted HUD rules requiring the department to affirmatively promote fair housing, including mandating that some public housing be put in wealthier areas, would make housing problems for the poor worse instead of better. He called the policy “government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality.”

 

Carson did well in polls during the fall of 2015, and he raised lots of money, but his standing began to slip after policy and other missteps. Some of his positions were a 10% flat tax based on the Biblical reference to tithing; a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution; that being gay could be “cured”; that Obama was a “psychopath”; the Holocaust happened because of gun control; and that the Egyptian pyramids were built as grain-storage facilities. His knowledge of foreign policy was also woefully inadequate.

 

After the Super Tuesday primaries in March 2016, Carson suspended his candidacy and came out almost immediately for Trump and was one of Trump’s chief surrogates on the campaign trail. After Trump’s election, Carson at first was reluctant to be appointed to a cabinet post. His friend and business manager Armstrong Williams said, “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience; he’s never run a federal agency.”

 

But Carson was nominated in December to run the $47 billion Department of Housing and Urban Affairs. When questioned by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) during his confirmation hearing, Carson refused to say that no HUD money would be funneled into Trump’s businesses. The majority Republicans, on the other hand, lobbed up softballs for Carson. For instance, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina asked Carson what government could do for those getting assistance. “Get them off of it,” Carson replied.

 

Carson and his wife, Candy, were married in 1975. They have three children: Rhoeyce, Murray and Ben Jr.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Trump Chooses Ben Carson to Lead HUD (by Trip Gabriel, New York Times)

Ben Carson Admits That His Campaign Is Over (by David A. Graham, The Atlantic)

A Tale of Two Carsons (by Scott Glover and Maeve Reston, CNN)

Ben Carson’s Greatest Hits (by Michael A. Cohen, Boston Globe)

Ben Carson Had Extensive Relationship to Dietary Supplement Company Despite Denial (by Chip Grabow, CNN)

Experimenting With Failed Socialism Again (by Ben S. Carson, Washington Times)

Ben Carson Knows Nothing (by Jamelle Bouie, Slate)

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Castro, Julián
Previous Secretary

 

On June 2, 2014, President Barack Obama submitted the nomination of San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), taking over from Shaun Donovan, who was chosen as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

 

Castro was born September 16, 1974, one minute ahead of his brother Joaquin, in San Antonio, Texas. Their mother, Rosie Castro, was an activist in San Antonio and was a leader of La Raza Unida, a group dedicated to defending the rights of Mexican-American in Texas. In 1971, Rosie ran for San Antonio city council, but in the days before single-member districts, she lost. Her mother had emigrated to the United States from Mexico at a young age. The boys’ father, Jesse Guzman, was a math teacher. Guzman and Castro separated when the boys were 8, and Castro took on most of the parenting chores at that point.

 

Julián and Joaquin did nearly everything together throughout high school, college and law school. They attended Jefferson High School in San Antonio, where Julián was on the tennis team. They graduated a year early, in 1992, and went on to Stanford, where Julián majored in political science and communications. He later said that his SAT scores weren’t as good as many of his classmates, and he was grateful to have been given a chance to attend the school through affirmative action. In the summer of 1994, Julián served as an intern in the Clinton White House. The brothers each ran for student senate while at Stanford. As might be expected, they won seats when they tied for the most votes in the race.

 

The brothers graduated from Stanford in 1996 and went together to Harvard Law School. They graduated in 2000, but even before that, Julián was planning his move into politics. He began running for San Antonio City Council from his dorm room in Cambridge. He won the 2001 District 7 race and served two two-year terms as councilman.

 

Upon graduation, he and Joaquin went to work for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in the national law firm’s San Antonio office. In 2005, the brothers founded their own law firm. An early success with a civil case made them comfortable enough to be able to continue their political careers, with Joaquin having been elected to the Texas Legislature in 2003.

 

Also in 2005, Julián ran for San Antonio mayor for the first time, losing in a runoff despite an early lead in the polls. He got some bad publicity when it was revealed that Joaquin had ridden in a parade in Julián’s place because of a conflicting commitment on the part of the older brother. Joaquin didn’t represent himself as Julián, but some accused the brothers of trying to pull a fast one on parade attendees.

 

In 2009, Julián ran again for mayor, and this time he won. At 35, he was the youngest mayor of a Top-50 U.S. city. He focused on education during his tenure, establishing a program to give college guidance to San Antonio high school students and championing a sales-tax increase to fund a pre-kindergarten school program. Castro also helped push through an ordinance banning discrimination against members of the LGBT community. He was re-elected twice, in 2011 and 2013, by huge margins.

 

In 2012, Castro, who was already starting to receive national recognition, got some time in the spotlight. He was chosen to give the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte, not coincidentally the same platform Obama used to make himself known to the American public in 2004. During the speech, in which he dwelled on his family’s climb to success, his then-3-year-old daughter Carina almost stole the show. Cameras would focus on the little girl, who while watching herself on convention hall monitors, would flip her hair.

 

Following Obama’s re-election, the administration sent out feelers to see if Castro would accept the post as secretary of transportation. Castro declined, wanting to stay in San Antonio for the time being.

 

Now, assuming he wins Senate confirmation, Castro will follow in the footsteps of another San Antonio mayor. Henry Cisneros served as President Bill Clinton’s HUD secretary from 1993 to 1997. Cisneros is a family friend of Castro, whose mother attended school with Cisneros.

 

Castro is already being talked about as a possible Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 2016. One thing that might hurt his appeal to the Hispanic community is that he doesn’t speak fluent Spanish. He has taken classes, and can now understand the language fairly well. Castro’s wife, Erica, is an elementary school math teacher.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

The Post-Hispanic Hispanic Politician (by Zev Chafets, New York Times)

The 10 Things You Need To Know About Julián Castro (by Jaime Fuller, Washington Post)

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Overview

A cabinet level agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) oversees federal programs designed to help Americans meet their housing needs. HUD seeks to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. The agency enforces a swath of federal housing laws, operates mortgage-supportive initiatives and distributes millions of dollars in federal grants. HUD is also one of the most scandal-plagued agencies in the federal government. Over the last three decades, one HUD secretary after another has been implicated in public controversies, with several having to resign. Scandals have often involved allegations of distributing HUD contracts to friends or associates of the department’s top official. In addition, HUD’s mortgage operations have gotten into hot water during the recent sub-prime housing crisis.


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History:

Congress created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in 1934 to help Americans with their housing needs during the Great Depression.

 
In July 1947, the Housing and Home Finance Agency was established to help people buy homes following World War II. Two years later, the Housing Act of 1949 was enacted to help eradicate slums and promote redevelopment in urban areas. 
 
Throughout the 1950s, FHA focused on broadening its mission. In September 1959, a new Housing Act allowed funds for elderly housing. 
 
FHA became a part of the new Department of Housing and Urban Development created in September 1965. In the 1960s, HUD sought to eliminate discrimination through the implementation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The department also enforced the provisions of the Brooke Amendment in 1969, which established that low-income families would pay no more than 25% of their incomes for rent. Robert C. Weaver, HUD’s first secretary, oversaw the department’s anti-discrimination efforts under the Fair Housing Act—efforts that became especially important when riots broke out in predominantly African-American areas after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. The decade ended with the establishment of the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae), which expanded availability of mortgage funds for moderate-income families. The government, using mortgage-backed securities, guaranteed these funds.
   
In 1970, the Housing and Urban Development Act introduced the Federal Experimental Housing Allowing Program and Community Development Corporation. The Pruitt-Igoe housing buildings in St. Louis, a controversial public housing project that suffered numerous problems since opening in 1951, were demolished in 1972. The following year, President Richard Nixon declared a moratorium on housing and community development assistance. In 1974, the Housing and Community Development Act was signed. This new law provided for community development block grants and offered help for urban homesteading. Help for the elderly and handicapped continued under the Housing and Community Act of 1977, which set up Community Development Block Grants for these groups. Section 8, which gave low-income residents a wider range of housing choices, began to operate, using tenant-based certificates.
           
Under President Jimmy Carter, HUD, led by Patricia R. Harris, began to issue Urban Development Action Grants (UDAG), which gave distressed communities funds for residential or nonresidential use. Inflation continued to be a problem throughout the 1970s, and when it hit 19% in 1979, HUD began looking for ways to help Americans buy homes and secure home mortgage loans. 
           
The Depository Institutions’ Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980 changed the rules governing thrift institutions. This helped to expand alternative mortgages and assisted first-time homebuyers. Mortgage rates continued to climb, however, and even those from Federal Housing Authority-insured mortgages peaked at 15.17%. This was an increase of 8.17%, up from 7 percent in 1972. The Housing and Urban-Rural Recovery Act of 1983 began new Housing Development Action Grant and Rental Rehabilitation programs.
           
The 1980s also saw HUD trying to assist in the problem of homelessness, first with the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (AKA the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act), which gave money directly to local communities trying to assist the homeless. In February 1988, the Housing and Community Development Act provided for the sale of public housing to resident management corporations. This was done to help alleviate homelessness by increasing opportunities for low-income housing. At the close of the decade, the Indian Housing Act gave HUD new responsibilities for the housing needs of Native Americans and Alaskan Indians. And following the savings and loan crisis, the Financial Institutions’ Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act bailed out failing thrift institutions.
           
In the 1990s, HUD concentrated its efforts on revitalizing public housing. The Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act emphasized homeownership and tenant-based assistance, and it launched the HOME housing block grant. Additionally, the Low-Income Housing Preservation and Residential Homeownership Act of 1990 strengthened the government’s commitment to the preservation of assisted, low-income multifamily housing. 
 
In October 1992, the HOPE IV program began its work to locate and renovate existing public housing. That same year, the Federal Housing Enterprises’ Financial Safety and Soundness Act created HUD’s Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight to provide oversight for Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). In 1993, the Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community program became law as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. 
 
In 1995, HUD became involved in housing reform with the “Blueprint for Reinvention of HUD.” Suggestions included consolidation of other programs into three block grants. The Housing Opportunity Program Extension Act, signed in March 1996, gave public housing authorities tools to screen out and evict potentially dangerous residents, due to substance abuse or criminal behavior. In October 1998, new government laws were established to allow local housing authorities to open up more public housing to the middle class. At the same time, HUD opened its first Enforcement Center, which was charged with taking action against HUD-assisted multifamily property owners and other HUD fund recipients who violated laws and regulations. Congress continued to enact public housing reforms, reducing segregation by race and income, encouraging and rewarding work, bringing more working families into public housing and increasing the availability of subsidized housing for very poor families. 
             
HUD has had a long history of scandal and controversy. During the 1980s, HUD became embroiled in accusations of playing favorites with developers and housing officials who had political connections with the Reagan administration. One example involved a housing project in Durham, North Carolina, that was given the go-ahead even though some HUD staffers had found hazardous waste near the site. The mayor of Durham at that time was a friend of HUD secretary, Samuel Pierce, who was called before Congress to testify in regards to the many claims of improper dealings by his department. Pierce refused to testify by citing the Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself.
           
HUD continued to be the focus of problems during the 1990s. As the department struggled to clear itself of the scandals from the previous decade, the Government Accountability Office labeled HUD a “high risk” of not properly accounting for its financial records—a label that remained for the rest of the 1990s. Scandal also enveloped HUD’s secretary under President Bill Clinton. Henry Cisneros, who was a rising star in the Democratic Party when he was appointed to lead HUD, found himself investigated by the FBI for failing to disclose payments he had made before joining the administration to keep an affair quiet. Cisneros wound up resigning from office. During the scandal, congressional Republicans tried unsuccessfully to abolish HUD. The move did succeed in forcing the Clinton administration to downsize HUD’s bureaucracy.
           
The years of the Bush administration have also witnessed troubles with HUD, especially involving former secretary Alphonso Jackson (see Controversies).
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What it Does:

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a cabinet-level agency that oversees federal programs designed to help Americans with their housing needs. HUD seeks to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination. The agency enforces a swath of federal housing laws, operates mortgage-supportive initiatives and distributes millions of dollars in federal grants.

 
Key HUD Offices:
 
Federal Housing Administration: FHA was originally the forerunner before HUD was founded. Founded in 1934 to revive a housing industry leveled by the Great Depression, FHA sought to stimulate homeownership by providing mortgage insurance and regulating interest rates. Over time, the agency has contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of homeowners across a diverse income-scale. Early programs especially increased the market for single-family homes, while special housing initiatives for veterans in the post-WWII era—and for the elderly, disabled and lower-income buyers in the subsequent decade—expanded untapped or difficult market areas. Since its inception, FHA has insured 34 million homes and manages a current insurance portfolio of $400 million. The agency was incorporated into HUD when the latter became a cabinet-level agency in 1965. As FHA experienced a significant loss of market share in the last several years, attention turned towards reform measures to “modernize” its programs, making them more flexible and accessible to a wider range of buyers—while simultaneously providing stability and a safe alternative to sub-prime lending. In 2007, FHA added the new “FHA-Secure” refinancing program to help borrowers hurt by the sub-prime crisis.
 
Office of Public and Indian Housing: PIH manages a large number of programs that provide funding through grants that are designed to help residents of affordable housing become more self-sufficient and economic independent. PIH also works with public housing authorities across the country to help them improve their management and service delivery efforts. The office also is in charge of programs designed to improve housing conditions for Native American families.
 
Office of Community Planning and Development: CPD is responsible for distributing different kinds of grants throughout the country to help low-income communities finance growth and development. CPD also supports efforts to alleviate homelessness through numerous grant programs. Like its parent, HUD, the Office of Community Planning and Development has been the subject of controversy over the misuse of federal funds involving political appointees of President George W. Bush.
 
Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control: OHHLHC is responsible for helping to eliminate health problems caused by lead-based paint in privately-owned and low-income housing. Using scientific research and grants, OHHLHC helps local communities to address their own lead paint exposure. Additionally, OHHLHC enforces HUD’s lead-based paint regulations. The office has been the focus of some controversy, ranging from personnel problems inside the agency to disputes with advocacy groups regarding how OHHLHC’s grants are awarded. 
 
Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight: OFHEO is an independent entity within the Department of Housing and Urban Development responsible for ensuring the stability, liquidity and affordability of the US mortgage market. The office does this by overseeing two housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)—Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation)—which together own and/or secure more than 70% of residential mortgage loans in the United States. As the primary regulator of the two GSEs, the OFHEO is responsible for supervising their operations and ensuring their stability, capitalization, and compliance with legal requirements and standards. OFHEO is headed by a director who is appointed to a five-year term by the President, and it is funded through the GSEs it oversees.
 
Office of Policy Development and Research: PD&R serves as a research, survey, study and analysis support system for HUD. It assists in oversight of the United States government-sponsored Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac housing mortgage loan enterprises, and PD&R is meant to facilitate the formation of partnerships between universities and communities so they can jointly address urban problems. The office’s staff is made up of economists, engineers, planners, policy experts and social scientists who provide technical oversight to the HUD teams making policy decisions and preparing budget and legislative proposals.
 
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity: FHEO seeks to prevent discrimination in housing on the basis of race, sex, family status and other grounds. One of the largest federal civil rights agencies, FHEO administers federal laws and makes policy regarding equal access to housing. The office administers funding, processes discrimination complaints, and oversees enforcement and compliance with federal laws. The agency is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Fair Housing Act and other civil rights laws—including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
 
Government National Mortgage Association: GNMA, or “Ginnie Mae,” is an agency within HUD that is designed to support the government’s housing programs by creating a secondary market to buy and sell residential mortgages. Ginnie Mae provides guarantees for mortgage-backed securities (MBS), most of which are federally insured loans issued by the Federal Housing Administration and other federal housing offices. In effect, the agency buys mortgages from lending institutions and pools them into government-backed securities, which it sells to investors, guaranteeing timely repayment on both the principal and the interest. Ginnie Mae operations have directly affected low- and moderate-income potential homeowners. By providing a safety net for lenders and investors, GNMA securities ensure a steady flow of capital to the (secondary) mortgage market and create accessible terms for many people who might not otherwise be serviced by traditional lenders. (This has changed somewhat in recent years, with private-sector companies taking an increasing share of the secondary mortgage market and offering competitive mortgage deals, including in the sub-prime market).
 
HUD Support Offices
 
Administration develops and implements policies and procedures associated with human capital management and the administrative management of the department. The office oversees Grants Management (Super Notice of Funding Availability-SuperNOFA), Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests, human capital management, executive scheduling services for senior executives and the central coordinating point for all secretary and deputy secretary correspondence.
 
 
Board of Contract Appeals provides due process through dispositions of all matters brought before the board. The board presides over on-the-record hearings, motion practice and settlement hearings.
 
Enforcement Center deals with troubled housing projects. When owners fail to bring properties up to standard, the center takes appropriate enforcement action. This includes administrative sanctions, such as civil money penalties, suspension and/or debarment, and possible referral to the Department of Justice for civil action. When criminal activity is suspected, the center refers cases to HUD’s Office of the Inspector General.
 
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives implements President George W. Bush’s faith-based programs involving housing programs.
 
 
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Where Does the Money Go

The Department of Housing and Urban Development spent nearly $8.1 billion on 5,988 contractors this decade. According to USASpending.gov, HUD paid for a variety of services, from automatic data processing and telecommunications services to research and development in support of its goals.

 
The top 10 contractors are:
 
Lockheed Martin Corporation                          $791,331,987
First Preston Management, Inc.                                    $497,527,786
Michaelson, Connor & Boul, Inc.                    $429,052,149
Golden Feather Realty Services, Inc.               $408,329,665
Harrington, Moran, Barksdale, Inc.                  $290,005,823
ATS Corporation                                             $277,951,955
Electronic Data Systems Corporation               $244,451,520
ARCO Management of Washington, DC, Inc.            $222,708,600
National Home Management Solutions, LLC  $169,094,810
Eaton Corporation                                           $144,152,847
 
Lockheed Martin, HUD’s largest contractor and long one of the nation’s top defense contractors, provides automatic data processing and telecommunications services for HUD, while First Preston Management, Inc. provides professional administrative and management support services. According to their web site, First Preston “specializes in the marketing and management of real estate portfolios owned by mortgage banking companies, government agencies and other clients.”
 
In addition to spending money on contractors, HUD allocates millions of dollars each year in federal grants to support a variety of housing goals. In 2005, the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control distributed $123 million in grants to eliminate dangerous lead paint hazards in thousands of privately owned, low-income housing units. These funds were provided through HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant programs. In addition, HUD’s Operation LEAP (Lead Elimination Action Program) provided $4 million to encourage private sector contributions to reduce the risk of lead ingestion among children. HUD also awarded $2.3 million in Lead Outreach grants for public education campaigns on what parents, building owners and others can do to protect children. Further, nearly $1.7 million assisted research to study methods to reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of lead hazard control strategies.
 
The Office of Community Planning & Development provides financial information on the distribution of its grants to states, cities and counties throughout the United States. Cumulative dollar totals are made available on five different types of grants: Community Development Block Grants (CDBG); HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME); American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI); Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA); and Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG). Information can be viewed by state, which includes totals for individual cities and counties, or by all cities and counties listed together in one compilation. State breakdowns are available by year, from 2001 to 2008. Some of the largest recipients among cities of CPD grants are as follows: New York ($357 million); Los Angeles ($125 million); Chicago ($121 million); Philadelphia ($75 million); Houston ($49 million); Detroit ($48 million); Baltimore ($39 million); San Francisco ($38 million); and Cleveland ($32 million).
 
Examples of other HUD grants:
Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) provided $50 million to help seniors and families living in public housing be more independent and have access to education and training opportunities. In addition, $60 million was distributed to help low-income individuals find jobs and achieve economic self-sufficiency.Section 202 Demonstration and Planning provided $18 million to help develop housing for low-income people who were also elderly. These grants went to 75 sponsors.
HOPE VI grants:
  • Washington DC was awarded a $20 million HOPE VI grant for revitalization of Sheridan Terrace Housing Development. It will be replaced with a new mixed-income neighborhood. 
  • Boston was awarded a $20 million HOPE VI grant for revitalization of Washington Beech public housing project. A new mixed-income neighborhood will replace the 57-year old complex.
  • North Carolina was awarded a $20 million HOPE VI grant to revitalize public housing developments in Fayetteville. 
  • Phoenix was awarded a $8.9 million HOPE VI grant to revitalize the A.L. Krohn Homes public housing development and replace them with a new mixed income neighborhood.
  • New Orleans was awarded a $20 million HOPE VI grant to revitalize C.J. Peete public housing development and add affordable housing units, as well as support services for relocated residents.  
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Controversies:

HUD Secretary Resigns

In March 2008, embattled HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson resigned while under investigation by the HUD inspector general, a federal grand jury and the Justice Department. Jackson has been accused of steering HUD funds and contracts to friends and Bush political supporters in violation of federal regulations. Jackson’s wife also was implicated in the scandal.
 
In 2006, Jackson publicly boasted that he had canceled a HUD contract to a critic of President Bush. US Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) called for Jackson to resign. Jackson later claimed he had been joking about the contractor. A subsequent investigation and report from the Criminal Investigations Division at HUD’s Office of the Inspector General found no evidence that Jackson had killed any such contract, effectively relieving him of guilt for the incident. The report described investigators’ probes into the political contributions of 29 companies that received HUD contracts (finding that their officers and key staff members had made total contributions of $101, 931 to Republicans and $35,320 to Democratic candidates) and described Jackson’s personal involvement with contractors.
 
The issue was reopened with a series of investigative reports in the National Journal Magazine which reported that a friend (and golfing partner) of Jackson, William Hairston, had received more than $485,000 in contracted work for HUD. The story led to a Department of Justice investigation, focusing in part on whether Jackson had been entirely truthful in his testimony during the initial investigation when he had said that he hadn’t favored friends or administration supporters when awarding contracts. The FBI (with HUD Investigator General, a federal grand jury and Department of Justice prosecutors) are exploring the secretary’s connections to contractors who were awarded lucrative contracts at the housing authority for New Orleans (under Jackson’s direction at HUD). Among the issues is a “conflict of interest” over a $127 million New Orleans redevelopment project Jackson awarded to Columbia Residential—a company Jackson used to work for, and which owes him a reported $250,00-$500,000 for unpaid services.
Firms Tied To HUD Chief's Wife (by Edward T. Pound, National Journal)
Official’s Ties to Contractor Are Scrutinized (by Philip Shenon, New York Times)
Investigators probe whether HUD chief steered contract (by Edward T. Pound, National Journal)
 
HUD and Hurricane Katrina
In June 2006 HUD and the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) announced demolition plans for four of the city’s largest public housing developments, about 4,500 of an estimated 5,000 units. Tenants had been forcibly evacuated during the 2005 storm and government officials prevented them from returning to their homes afterward. Local demonstrations, national and international debate ensued over the fate of the city’s public housing.
 
Opponents of the demolition maintained that the resilient brick buildings suffered only minimal water damage and could be rehabilitated. Part of the issue was the rental market in New Orleans: Katrina destroyed more than 50,000 rental units and damaged thousands more, altogether affecting two-thirds of the city’s rentals—and driving up prices for those that remained habitable. At a time when homeless numbers in New Orleans were said to have doubled and thousands of displaced people were still without a home, critics argued that it remained crucial to keep as much low-cost housing available as possible.
           
Others maintained that rehabilitation of the substandard units was a cumulative and complex issue—and not, in fact, a cheaper alternative. Arguments for the demolition leaned toward broader narratives about reconstructing socio-economic landscapes of the crime-ridden and generally run-down neighborhoods themselves.
           
International bodies and political figures condemned HUD’s demolition plans for New Orleans public housing, calling attention to what was increasingly perceived as systematic human and minority rights violations.
 
HUD Exacerbates Mortgage Crisis
In 2004, as regulators warned that subprime lenders were saddling borrowers with mortgages they could not afford, the Department of Housing and Urban Development helped fuel more of that risky lending. Eager to put more low-income and minority families into their own homes, the agency required that two government-chartered mortgage finance firms purchase far more “affordable” loans made to these borrowers. HUD stuck with an outdated policy that allowed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to count billions of dollars they invested in subprime loans as a public good that would foster affordable housing.
 
Housing experts and some congressional leaders now view those decisions as mistakes that contributed to an escalation of subprime lending that is roiling the American economy. The agency neglected to examine whether borrowers could make the payments on the loans that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae classified as affordable. From 2004 to 2006, the two purchased $434 billion in securities backed by subprime loans, creating a market for more such lending. Subprime loans are targeted toward borrowers with poor credit, and they generally carry higher interest rates than conventional loans.
How HUD Mortgage Policy Fed the Crisis (by Carol D. Leonnig, Washington Post)
 
Jackson Tries to Fire Lead Expert
In 2004, HUD Secretary Alphonse Jackson notified Dave Jacobs, director of the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control (OHHLHC), that he would be fired for cause. However, Jacobs refuted the charges and more than 60 individuals wrote letters of support to Secretary Jackson to express their confidence in Jacobs’ leadership.
 
During Jacobs’ nine-year tenure at OHHLHC, it’s believed he has been responsible for many of the gains made by the agency. He is widely considered the country’s leading expert on lead poisoning prevention and healthy homes. After supporters protested his removal, HUD Secretary Jackson reassigned Jacobs to a special assistant post in the Office of Community Planning and Development. Under federal personnel rules, senior executives have no grounds to appeal reassignments of this nature.
 Jacobs Cleared of Charges, Shuffled Aside (Alliance for Healthy Homes)
 
Freddie Mac Accounting Scandal
News surfaced in 2003 that mortgage giant Freddie Mac had underestimated its earnings by $5 billion, one of the largest corporate restatements in US history. Freddie Mac officials claimed no wrongdoing and agreed to pay a $125 million civil penalty. A 200-page report by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) revealed that company earnings were manipulated to meet investors’ expectations and included a scathing indictment of the “corporate culture” that had fostered such flagrant misconduct.
Freddie Mac Gets Penalty And Rebuke Over Scandal (by Jonathan D. Glater, New York Times)
Shaking Steady Freddie (by Ari Weinberg, Forbes)
 
Fannie Mae Accounting Scandal
In July 2003 the CEO of Fannie Mae claimed undue damage was being caused to the company’s public image because of the Freddie Mac scandal. By October the company disclosed a $1.2 billion accounting error for the third quarter.
 
The issue was first made public in 2004 after a preliminary OFHEO probe alleging manipulated earnings from 1998-2004 that totaled $10.6 billion. The report fingered Fannie Mae for cooking the books to make it look like they had reached earnings targets—triggering the maximum possible payout in bonuses for executives.
           
OFHEO officials drew attention to what they termed “corporate culture that emphasized stable earnings at the expense of accurate financial disclosures”—meaning Fannie Mae management had intentionally covered up glitches in its earnings in order to give the investors the (false) impression that it was a low-risk option. Officials also gave a detailed account of insiders who allegedly tried to thwart their investigation. Fannie Mae leaders and the agency’s “culture” were blamed for the mess. A penalty of $400 million was levied against the agency.
History of Fannie Mae Scandal (Associated Press)
 
CPD Director in Thick of San Francisco Housing Scandal
When things got ugly over an attempted cover up between HUD leadership and San Francisco’s embattled housing authority, the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD)’s top official tried to stifle a departmental whistleblower.
 
The saga began when Richard Mallory, HUD’s Western regional director, claimed he was fired as part of an effort by HUD’s top officials to conceal fiscal improprieties engineered by HUD’s No. 2 man, Alphonso Jackson, and Mayor Willie Brown. Mallory released copies of his letters to HUD to the San Francisco Chronicle claiming that Jackson shut down HUD’s efforts to force San Francisco to repay $1.8 million in federal funds that auditors said the SF Housing Authority had misused. He also accused Jackson of thwarting a HUD plan to fine the city $400,000 for misusing federal grants in connection with an unusual real estate deal involving Brown’s friend Charlie Walker and a Nation of Islam mosque.
 
Mallory said he was berated by Pamela Patenaude, CPD’s director at the time, for sending her an email regarding a Freedom of Information Act request filed by local television station that was researching a story about alleged improprieties in the sale of Federal Housing Administration property. The station story also was exploring any role that another HUD executive in the San Francisco office, Lily Lee, may have played, Mallory wrote.
 
In response to his email, Patenaude told Mallory that “Lily Lee is a friend of the deputy secretary,” meaning Jackson, and chastised Mallory for sending her the email because it was “discoverable,” meaning it could be revealed in a lawsuit.
 
Mallory also got in trouble when he balked at staging a press event with Mayor Brown to mark San Francisco’s participation in a HUD program to boost economic development in poor neighborhoods. Mallory argued that HUD officials shouldn't appear in public with Brown while he was refusing to clean up the problems at the Housing Authority noted in the audit nearly two years before.
 
Patenaude, according to Mallory, then phoned him and demanded that he resign. Mallory refused, and the next day he received a fax from Jackson notifying him he was fired.
Fired official accuses HUD of coverup (by Lance Williams, San Francisco Chronicle)
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Debate:

Should Housing be Subsidized?

For decades, the debate over subsidized housing has centered on the quality of housing and the perceived failure of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to contribute to lasting urban renewal.
 
Critics, generally from the right, have argued that subsidized housing is substandard, and it segregates the poorest people from the working classes, inculcating a culture of dependence and inactivity, as well as general environmental degradation. They similarly complain about the size of subsidy payments, a windfall for developers, feeding an entrenched political cycle.
           
On the other hand, critics from the left, including housing advocates, academics and politicians, have historically taken issue with HUD’s Urban Renewal and Modern Cities programs, and the effect of the resulting displacement and underdevelopment on society’s most disadvantaged citizens. While Republicans have generally persisted in calling for the abolition of HUD or certain crucial programs, Democrats have more often fought to maintain funding and improve administration for public and subsidized housing. 
HUD Ache (by Rochelle L. Stanfield, Government Executive)
The Effects of Subsidized Housing on Communities (by Edward G. Goetz, University of Minnesota Extension)
Spillovers and Subsidized Housing: The Impact of Rental Housing on Neighborhoods (by Ingrid Gould Ellen, Joint Center for Housing Studies-Harvard University) (PDF)
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Suggested Reforms:

Flexible Minimum Down Payments

Unhappy with the state of affairs at the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), lawmakers introduced the Expanding American Homeownership Act to eliminate FHA’s current 3% minimum down payment. Instead, FHA would have to offer a variety of down payment options. It would also have to create a new risk-based insurance premium structure to match the credit profile of the borrower, and increase and simplify FHA’s loan limits. The proposed reform reflects changes that have alienated FHA in the market, where the income-scale of homeowners has broadened, first-time homebuyers are allowed low down payments, and new construction prices often exceed FHA conforming loan limits.
 

GAO Recommends Changes for Fair Housing Office

In April 2004 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed HUD’s procedures for preventing housing discrimination. GAO found that the “timeliness and effectiveness” of HUD’s enforcement process suffered “continuing concerns” and that its practices differed among agencies and states. The report also pointed to a “lengthy wait” for complaint investigations and decisions, with a 200-day average for 1996-2003, far from the legal benchmark of 100 days.

 
GAO made six recommendations to the HUD secretary for improving the management and oversight of the fair housing enforcement process. These recommendations included exploring ways to “disseminate effective practices used at various enforcement locations,” improving tracking and data-gathering procedures, and finding a way to meet human capital challenges in, among other things, staffing and skill levels.

 

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Former Directors:

Alphonso Jackson (Mar. 31, 2004-April 18, 2008)

 
Alphonso Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education administration from Truman State University in Missouri and a law degree from Washington University of St. Louis.
 
In 1977 Jackson became the director of public safety for St. Louis. He also served as executive director for the St. Louis Housing Authority and as a director of consultant services for the CPA firm of Laventhol and Horwath in St. Louis. While there, he also worked as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri.
 
Thereafter, Jackson was appointed director of the Department of Public and Assisted Housing in Washington, DC. From January 1989 until July 1996, he was president and CEO of the Housing Authority for Dallas, TX. He later became president of American Electric Power-Texas, and in 1995 then-Governor George W. Bush appointed him to the Texas Southern University Board of Regents, where he served until 2003. Jackson first joined the Bush Administration in 2001 as HUD’s deputy secretary and chief operating officer. He became HUD’s 13th secretary in 2004.
           
Jackson is a loyal, long-time friend of President Bush and has worked under his authority in some form or another since his Texas days.
Mel Martinez (Jan. 24, 2001 - Dec. 12, 2003)
Andrew M. Cuomo (Jan. 29, 1997 - Jan. 20, 2001)
Henry G. Cisneros (Jan. 22, 1993 - Jan. 19, 1997)
Jack F. Kemp (Feb. 13, 1989 - Jan. 19, 1993)
Samuel R. Pierce, Jr. (Jan. 23, 1981 - Jan. 20, 1989)
Moon Landrieu (Sept. 24, 1979 - Jan. 20, 1981)
Patricia R. Harris (Jan. 23, 1977 - Sept. 10, 1979)
Carla A. Hills (Mar. 10, 1975 - Jan. 20, 1977)
James T. Lynn (Feb. 2, 1973 - Feb. 5, 1975)
George W. Romney (Jan. 22, 1969 - Jan. 20, 1973)
Robert Wood (Wood served between Weaver and Romney with a recess appointment from President Lyndon Johnson, who sent Wood’s nomination to the Senate. It was never acted on, and, therefore, he was never sworn in as secretary.)
Robert C. Weaver (Jan. 18, 1966 - Dec. 18, 1968)
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Comments

Tara Medrano 2 weeks ago
What office to we mail our Freddie Mac FOIA requests to?
Stephane Stevens 1 month ago
Other than the resident manager, who is the individual that I should speak to in reference to the amount of rent that I should pay after cost of living increase?
John W Collins 1 month ago
I am being denied a loan modification by my mortgage company. I have had to file Chapter 13 to save a home my family and I have lived in since 1999. I have been underemployed over the last 6 years and need someone to step in an assist us. The private home savers cost too much money and I am not sure they will be able to help. Please contact: John Collins asap!!!!
Donald Myers 4 months ago
I have a FHA Loan and I am being discriminated by Wells Fargo Bank. How can I file a complaint with HUD and FHA?
Jimmy Fallon 1 year ago
Does this organization receive money form the government to function or must it support itself?
John Googas 2 years ago
Question: Are there HUD regulations regarding nepotism by Board of Directors in the hiring of administrative personnel?

Leave a comment

Founded: 1965
Annual Budget: $40.4 billion
Employees: 9,428
Official Website: http://www.hud.gov/

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Carson, Ben
Secretary

Dr. Ben Carson, a renowned neurosurgeon and defeated presidential candidate who has no background in housing issues, was nominated by President Donald Trump to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He was confirmed on March 2, 2017, with six Democrats and one independent voting along with the Senate’s Republican majority.

 

Carson was born September 18, 1951, in Detroit, Michigan, to Sonya and Robert Carson. Carson’s parents separated when he was eight years old and he went to live with his mother in Boston. But the family moved back to Detroit when Carson was ten. Carson later recounted how his mother restricted him and his brother from watching television and required them to write book reports.

 

Carson attended Southwestern High School in Detroit and graduated in 1969. He wrote in his 1990 autobiography, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, that he had a bad temper in junior high and high school and told of incidents of violence, including punching a boy and stabbing another. The stabbing victim was said to have been saved, according to Carson, when his knife hit the boy’s belt buckle instead of his belly. Carson said he was transformed by God from a violent youth to a composed adult.

 

The problem with this story is that no one recalls Carson being violent during his teen years. He is remembered by his schoolmates as being quiet. “He got through his day trying not to be noticed,” Robert Collier told CNN. “I remember him having a pocket saver. He had thick glasses. He was skinny and unremarkable.”

 

That wasn’t the only questionable story Carson told of his high school years. He also said he’d been offered scholarships to Michigan and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Neither has a record of offering such a scholarship and in fact, West Point has no record of Carson applying for admission. Nor does it even offer scholarships; all cadets receive free education in return for a service obligation after graduation.

 

Nonetheless, Carson did well enough in high school to receive a full scholarship to Yale, where he graduated with a degree in psychology in 1973. He returned to his home state to attend medical school at the University of Michigan, and graduated in 1977.

 

Carson then left Michigan to do his internship at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore and remained there for a residency in neurosurgery. Except for a post-residency year at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Australia, all of Carson’s medical career was spent at Johns Hopkins.

 

In 1984, Carson was named chief of pediatric neurosurgery. Carson made a name for himself in 1987 when he was part of a 70-member team that separated conjoined twins from Germany who were joined at the skull. Since they had separate brains, they were considered good candidates for the pioneering surgery. The twins were successfully separated, but had severe neurological problems afterward. However, Carson repeated the surgery on another pair of conjoined twins ten years later, and the two came out of the operation with no problems. Other such surgeries by Carson resulted in mixed outcomes. Carson also helped repopularize hemispherectomies, or removing half a patient’s brain, to control seizures and saw a great deal of success with the procedures.

 

While Carson was practicing at Johns Hopkins, in 2004 he began a relationship with Mannatech, a dietary supplement company. He spoke at company events and credited their products for curing his prostate cancer, for which he had surgery in 2002. The company in 2009 settled a suit brought by the Texas attorney general’s office for claims that their product could cure autism and cancer. Mannatech paid $7 million in the settlement. Carson continued his relationship with the company, which he later brushed off—“I did a couple speeches for them,” he said during one of the presidential primary debates—until 2014.

 

Carson made his mark in the political arena in February 2013, when he was the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast. Carson criticized President Barack Obama, who was sitting just a few feet from Carson on the dais, for his healthcare policies. Carson called for establishing Health Savings Accounts instead of promoting insurance. In a subsequent speech, Carson compared the Affordable Care Act to slavery.

 

Carson had made his name in conservative politics and, when he retired from medicine in July 2013, he went to work for Fox News as a commentator, remaining there until the following year.

 

Carson announced his candidacy for president in May 2015. Not long afterward, he took on the agency that he would eventually run. In July 2015, Carson wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Times that newly instituted HUD rules requiring the department to affirmatively promote fair housing, including mandating that some public housing be put in wealthier areas, would make housing problems for the poor worse instead of better. He called the policy “government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality.”

 

Carson did well in polls during the fall of 2015, and he raised lots of money, but his standing began to slip after policy and other missteps. Some of his positions were a 10% flat tax based on the Biblical reference to tithing; a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution; that being gay could be “cured”; that Obama was a “psychopath”; the Holocaust happened because of gun control; and that the Egyptian pyramids were built as grain-storage facilities. His knowledge of foreign policy was also woefully inadequate.

 

After the Super Tuesday primaries in March 2016, Carson suspended his candidacy and came out almost immediately for Trump and was one of Trump’s chief surrogates on the campaign trail. After Trump’s election, Carson at first was reluctant to be appointed to a cabinet post. His friend and business manager Armstrong Williams said, “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience; he’s never run a federal agency.”

 

But Carson was nominated in December to run the $47 billion Department of Housing and Urban Affairs. When questioned by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) during his confirmation hearing, Carson refused to say that no HUD money would be funneled into Trump’s businesses. The majority Republicans, on the other hand, lobbed up softballs for Carson. For instance, Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina asked Carson what government could do for those getting assistance. “Get them off of it,” Carson replied.

 

Carson and his wife, Candy, were married in 1975. They have three children: Rhoeyce, Murray and Ben Jr.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Trump Chooses Ben Carson to Lead HUD (by Trip Gabriel, New York Times)

Ben Carson Admits That His Campaign Is Over (by David A. Graham, The Atlantic)

A Tale of Two Carsons (by Scott Glover and Maeve Reston, CNN)

Ben Carson’s Greatest Hits (by Michael A. Cohen, Boston Globe)

Ben Carson Had Extensive Relationship to Dietary Supplement Company Despite Denial (by Chip Grabow, CNN)

Experimenting With Failed Socialism Again (by Ben S. Carson, Washington Times)

Ben Carson Knows Nothing (by Jamelle Bouie, Slate)

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Castro, Julián
Previous Secretary

 

On June 2, 2014, President Barack Obama submitted the nomination of San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), taking over from Shaun Donovan, who was chosen as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

 

Castro was born September 16, 1974, one minute ahead of his brother Joaquin, in San Antonio, Texas. Their mother, Rosie Castro, was an activist in San Antonio and was a leader of La Raza Unida, a group dedicated to defending the rights of Mexican-American in Texas. In 1971, Rosie ran for San Antonio city council, but in the days before single-member districts, she lost. Her mother had emigrated to the United States from Mexico at a young age. The boys’ father, Jesse Guzman, was a math teacher. Guzman and Castro separated when the boys were 8, and Castro took on most of the parenting chores at that point.

 

Julián and Joaquin did nearly everything together throughout high school, college and law school. They attended Jefferson High School in San Antonio, where Julián was on the tennis team. They graduated a year early, in 1992, and went on to Stanford, where Julián majored in political science and communications. He later said that his SAT scores weren’t as good as many of his classmates, and he was grateful to have been given a chance to attend the school through affirmative action. In the summer of 1994, Julián served as an intern in the Clinton White House. The brothers each ran for student senate while at Stanford. As might be expected, they won seats when they tied for the most votes in the race.

 

The brothers graduated from Stanford in 1996 and went together to Harvard Law School. They graduated in 2000, but even before that, Julián was planning his move into politics. He began running for San Antonio City Council from his dorm room in Cambridge. He won the 2001 District 7 race and served two two-year terms as councilman.

 

Upon graduation, he and Joaquin went to work for Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in the national law firm’s San Antonio office. In 2005, the brothers founded their own law firm. An early success with a civil case made them comfortable enough to be able to continue their political careers, with Joaquin having been elected to the Texas Legislature in 2003.

 

Also in 2005, Julián ran for San Antonio mayor for the first time, losing in a runoff despite an early lead in the polls. He got some bad publicity when it was revealed that Joaquin had ridden in a parade in Julián’s place because of a conflicting commitment on the part of the older brother. Joaquin didn’t represent himself as Julián, but some accused the brothers of trying to pull a fast one on parade attendees.

 

In 2009, Julián ran again for mayor, and this time he won. At 35, he was the youngest mayor of a Top-50 U.S. city. He focused on education during his tenure, establishing a program to give college guidance to San Antonio high school students and championing a sales-tax increase to fund a pre-kindergarten school program. Castro also helped push through an ordinance banning discrimination against members of the LGBT community. He was re-elected twice, in 2011 and 2013, by huge margins.

 

In 2012, Castro, who was already starting to receive national recognition, got some time in the spotlight. He was chosen to give the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte, not coincidentally the same platform Obama used to make himself known to the American public in 2004. During the speech, in which he dwelled on his family’s climb to success, his then-3-year-old daughter Carina almost stole the show. Cameras would focus on the little girl, who while watching herself on convention hall monitors, would flip her hair.

 

Following Obama’s re-election, the administration sent out feelers to see if Castro would accept the post as secretary of transportation. Castro declined, wanting to stay in San Antonio for the time being.

 

Now, assuming he wins Senate confirmation, Castro will follow in the footsteps of another San Antonio mayor. Henry Cisneros served as President Bill Clinton’s HUD secretary from 1993 to 1997. Cisneros is a family friend of Castro, whose mother attended school with Cisneros.

 

Castro is already being talked about as a possible Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 2016. One thing that might hurt his appeal to the Hispanic community is that he doesn’t speak fluent Spanish. He has taken classes, and can now understand the language fairly well. Castro’s wife, Erica, is an elementary school math teacher.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

The Post-Hispanic Hispanic Politician (by Zev Chafets, New York Times)

The 10 Things You Need To Know About Julián Castro (by Jaime Fuller, Washington Post)

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