HUD Secretary Issues First Public Address

Regulation | March 17, 2021 | by Juliana Bilowich

Secretary Fudge commits to building 1.5 million new affordable homes, promises more communication on HUD’s COVID-19 response

In her first public address since taking office, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge addressed HUD staff in a video message posted on the HUD website. In the message, she describes HUD’s most fundamental mission as “working to ensure that every American has a roof over their head.” In the video, Secretary Fudge describes the impact of the pandemic on the nation’s housing crisis: “In this most unprecedented crisis, [HUD’s] mission carries added urgency and purpose."

COVID-19 Response

In her video message, the Secretary is clear that HUD’s response to COVID-19 will change under her leadership. In particular, Secretary Fudge emphasized the need for continued safety measures at HUD buildings: “HUD’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic – both internally and externally – will continue to be driven by data and science, and we will continue to require the correct and consistent wearing of masks and physical distancing within all HUD buildings.”

She goes on to say, “There will also be more communication – not just on COVID-19, but on all matters that impact this department.”

HUD Operations

Secretary Fudge’s statement described efforts to keep the federal agency operating during the rest of the pandemic and continuing to provide essential housing supports, including providing housing counseling, combatting housing discrimination, restoring the Housing First approach, ending homelessness, and supporting economic development.

Longer-Term Priorities

The Secretary also described longer-term priorities under her leadership, including expanding resources for HUD programs in order to serve everyone who is eligible. “We must deliver on the Administration’s commitments on improving the quality, safety, and accessibility of affordable housing and building 1.5 million new affordable homes. This also means that we must deliver relief to struggling small landlords, who are a vital source of affordable housing in many of our cities.”

In her statement, the Secretary emphasizes what the President has called a “convergent crisis” of systemic racism and racial inequity, along with the climate and economic crises, all under the shadow of COVID-19.

Next Steps

The Secretary will meet with various teams of HUD staff in the coming days. As soon as safely possible, Secretary Fudge has committed to visiting each of HUD’s ten regions. LeadingAge will work with our state partners to invite the Secretary for tours of our member communities across the country.

The Secretary’s video message is available online here.