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A Year of Progress: Delivering on the Promise of Opportunity

HUD is the Department of Opportunity and has been at the heart of the federal government’s efforts to assist the American people in building a more prosperous future.  As HUD approaches its 50th anniversary, Secretary Castro is laser focused on advancing policies that provide folks with access to quality housing, good schools, transportation and economic opportunity.

We recognize housing as a platform for Americans who are striving to improve their lives and break the cycle of poverty for the next generation.  As needs for our services have increased, HUD will continue to invest in initiatives that have demonstrated outcomes in helping the people we serve. 

Just in the past year, under Secretary Castro’s leadership, HUD has taken significant actions to help individuals and families access more opportunity.  

Helping Families logo

Helping families and individuals secure quality housing

Making Homeownership More Affordable

On January 8, 2015, Secretary Castro announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would reduce the annual premiums for new borrowers by half of a percentage point. This action is making homeownership more affordable for responsible families.  It is helping save an average of $900 annually for more than 2 million borrowers over the next three years. It is also projected to spur 250,000 new homebuyers over the same time period.

Helping Working Families Afford Rent

HUD’s 2016 Budget maintains a core commitment to provide opportunity for families receiving rental assistance and those households seeking to become homeowners.  This includes funding all existing rental assistance vouchers serving 2.4 million low-income households and restoring the 67,000 vouchers lost in 2013 due to sequestration. 

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Ending Homelessness

President Obama launched the Opening Doors initiative in 2010, the Federal Government’s first-ever strategy to prevent and end homelessness. Since then, local communities around the nation reported a 10-percent decline in the total number of persons experiencing homelessness and a remarkable 25-percent drop in the number of those living on the streets.  In addition, state and local planning agencies’ counts have shown a 33-percent drop in homelessness among veterans, including a 43-percent reduction in unsheltered homelessness among veterans.

This year, as part of HUD’s mission and commitment to help end homelessness, Secretary Castro announced the following actions: 

  • Expanding HUD VASH to Native American and Tribal Communities­­­– On January 30, 2015, HUD and the VA expanded the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program into Native American and tribal communities. The program expansion invests $4 million to support Native American veterans experiencing homelessness by providing them with secure housing and connecting them with clinical services and case management. It is estimated that this will expand opportunity for approximately 650 Native American veterans who are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness. 
     
  • Requesting Assistance for the Most Vulnerable– To achieve the goals of Opening Doors initiative, the 2016 Budget proposes to invest $2.5 billion for the Continuum of Care and Emergency Solutions Grant Programs.  This represents an increase of $345 million above current funding levels and would provide an additional 25,500 new permanent supportive housing units for persons experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness.  HUD is also seeking funding to prevent homelessness for 15,000 families with children by requesting $332 million for housing assistance for low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families. 

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Addressing climate change and natural disasters

Making Affordable Housing More Energy Efficient

The President Obama’s Climate Action Plan called for the installation of 100 megawatts (MW) of solar energy on low- and moderate-income housing. To date, more than 185 MW of solar energy have been installed across the nation.  The success of these efforts has led the Administration to announce that we are tripling the current goal, and setting a new goal to install 300 MW of solar for low-and-moderate income housing by 2020.

Increasing Energy Efficiency Financing

On January 29, 2015, Secretary Castro and California Governor Jerry Brown announced a number of actions to expand financing for energy efficiency and solar energy in multifamily housing. These actions also put us on a track to reach the President’s goal of installing 100 megawatts of renewable energy across federally subsidized housing by 2020.

Two actions were particularly important to HUD: 

  • Implementing Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing for Multifamily Housing in California.
     
  • Creating On-Bill Repayment in Affordable Multifamily Properties.

Announced the Largest Public Housing Authority Energy Savings Program

On April 9, 2015, Secretary Castro and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio launched the largest energy savings program for any public housing authority in the nation. Through a series of competitive Energy Performance Contracts (EPC), it is estimated that at least $100 million in work will occur across nearly 300 NYCHA developments to upgrade and retrofit thousands of buildings, dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and generating tens of millions of dollars in cost savings, as well as creating more than 500 jobs. 

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Leveling the playing field for Americans from all walks of life

Expanding Internet Access for Students and Families

On July 15, 2015, Secretary Castro announced, ConnectHome, an initiative to extend affordable broadband access to families living in HUD-assisted housing. Through ConnectHome, Internet Service Providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units in 28 communities across the nation. Every child deserves a fair shot at achieving their dreams, and by equipping our children with the technology skills they need, we’re giving them the tools to succeed academically, preparing them to thrive in tomorrow’s job market and to break the cycle of poverty.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

On July 8, 2015 HUD released the final Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (AFFH) which clarifies and simplifies existing fair housing obligations and creates a streamlined Assessment of Fair Housing planning process, which will help communities analyze challenges to fair housing choice and establish their own goals and priorities to address the fair housing barriers in their community. AFFH is part of the 1968 Fair Housing Act’s obligation for state and local governments to improve housing policies to achieve more meaningful outcomes so that every American can live where they want to, regardless of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status.

Expanding Jobs and Family Self-Sufficiency

The Budget includes a request of $100 million for Jobs-Plus, an $85 million increase from FY 2015, and would allow Tribally Designated Housing Entities to administer a Jobs-Plus Program.  Jobs-Plus provides intensive, employment-focused programs targeting every able-bodied, working-age government assistance recipient at a public housing development.  To further encourage self-sufficiency among HUD-assisted households, the Budget seeks $85 million for the Family Self-Sufficiency Program to fund approximately 1,600 Family Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinators who will serve approximately 80,000 families to boost savings, earnings, and employment rates among program participants.

Enforcing the Law and Fighting Discrimination

HUD continues to demonstrate its commitment to fair housing enforcement, particularly pursuing cases that impact women. In the past eight months, HUD has announced four settlements on behalf of women who were discriminated against because they were victims of domestic violence. HUD also finalized two settlements with lenders who discriminated against women who were on maternity leave or pregnant, including a historic $5 million settlement with Wells Fargo for discriminating against women who were pregnant.

Expanding Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors

No woman should have to choose between calling for help and being evicted from her home. That is why on March 24, 2015, Secretary Castro today announced a new proposed rule to increase protections for domestic violence survivors. The rule would implement the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013), which expands HUD’s authority to protect survivors of domestic and dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault who are residing in housing assisted by HUD.These women and their families deserve fair housing, not eviction. By proposing this rule, HUD is taking a positive step to ensure that survivors of abuse will not live in fear of losing their homes simply because of their status as a survivor.

Providing Equal Access to LGBT Americans

As part of HUD’s Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Rule (Equal Access Rule), Secretary Castro issued further guidance this year to better serve LGBT Americans seeking to become homeowners, live in HUD subsidized senior housing, and transgender individuals seeking access to homeless shelters. Issued in 2012, the Equal Access Rule ensures that housing across HUD programs is open to all eligible individuals regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.  

Strengthening all communities logo

Strengthening all communities in this Century of Cities

Expanding Rental Assistance

There is an estimated $26 billion backlog in capital needs in our nation’s public housing.  Every year, the nation loses 10,000 public housing units to disrepair.  In December 2014, HUD announced that Congress expanded HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative by lifting the cap on the number of units of public housing that could be converted. Previously; HUD was limited to 60,000 units that could be converted. However, with the new legislation, HUD will be able to convert 185,000 units.To date, RAD has leveraged over $1 billion in total construction activity.

Investing in Neighborhood Revitalization

To empower local communities, the 2016 Budget would expand opportunity in high poverty areas by investing $250 million to transform neighborhoods through the Choice Neighborhoods Program.  HUD is also proposing to expand the authority it offers to select Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) through Moving to Work.  This program allows these PHAs greater flexibility to make local decisions about how to operate their housing programs and test innovative ways to improve self-sufficiency, mobility, academic performance and other outcomes for HUD-assisted tenants.

Growing Promise Zones Initiative

On April 28, 2015, Secretary Castro announced the expansion of the Promise Zones Initiative to eight additional cities across the nation, including Ferguson, MO. The Promise Zones program recognizes that challenges like poverty, low educational attainment, limited economic development, poor housing, and public safety are not stand-alone issues. They require holistic solutions. Through the Promise Zones designation, these communities will work directly with federal, state and local agencies to give local leaders proven tools to improve the quality of life in some of the country’s most vulnerable areas.                    

Building a stronger HUD logo

Building a Stronger HUD

More Efficient and Effective Operations

Secretary Castro and Deputy Secretary Nani Coloretti have led an operational and management review to ensure HUD is directing resources to its highest priorities. This review focused on three areas: 

  • Investing in Leadership and Collaboration:HUD has re-established a Senior Executive Service (SES) candidate development program to better equip future leaders to lead and enable effective succession planning.
     
  • Increasing Accountability and Customer Service: HUD has established a new quarterly governance process to provide leadership on-going visibility into management metrics and goals and to use data to make better operational decisions.
     
  • Prioritizing our Resources:In service of enterprise-wide coordination, HUD has already moved transactional hiring responsibilities to Treasury’s shared service provider and will be moving financial management and internal controls in the fall, getting out of the business of doing back office work in order to better focus on its mission. 

Increasing Employee Engagement

HUD leadership set an ambitious goal to increase participation in 2015’s Employee Viewpoint Survey (EVS) to collect better data on how the Department can work together to serve the American people. This resulted in increasing employee participation from 51-percent to more than 73-percent. HUD currently has the highest response rate in the Department’s history and the second-highest year-over-year increase in the Federal Government.


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