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Secretary Marcia L. Fudge


For generations, the federal government sanctioned housing policies that allowed racial inequity to fester like an open wound and infect our systems. 

Black people make up 13% of the U.S. population, but 40% of those experiencing homelessness despite all the progress we have made. Black seniors and families with children are among the fastest-growing groups without access to a safe and stable home. 

Ugly discrimination practices in housing persist, blocking hardworking families from purchasing homes because of the color of their skin and denying persons with disabilities reasonable accommodations or forcing them to pay extra fees to rent housing.

The work to undo systemic injustices like redlining, unfair housing, and appraisal bias did not begin with the election of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris. Still, leaders in this historic Administration are committed to finishing the job and building an economy that works for all people. 

As the 18th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, I have taken on these challenges. 

From day one, our HUD team has worked to ensure that those who have been left behind and marginalized have access to opportunity, the flexibility to build wealth for themselves and the next generation, and the ability to live in housing and neighborhoods that are affordable, safe, inclusive and thriving. 

We are combatting homelessness with the urgency it requires, including unsheltered and rural homelessness, so that people in our country will no longer have to be forced to seek shelter on the side of the road or under a park bench. We are expanding access to housing vouchers, working with state and local leaders to combat homelessness, and providing access to services and housing so people can get housing and get the help they need. 

We believe that everyone should be able to aspire to homeownership if they want it. But we recognize that credit scores have long been barriers to aspiring homeowners, especially people of color. So to create more opportunities for hardworking people, the Federal Housing Administration now allows positive rental history to be used to determine someone’s creditworthiness.  

Similarly, student loan debt can hinder Black and Brown borrowers’ chances for mortgage approval. It is estimated that more than 45 percent of first-time homebuyers who obtain a federally insured mortgage have student loan debt. In addition, studies have shown that regardless of their income after college, people of color carry more student loan debt than their White counterparts. So, in the summer of 2021, FHA adjusted its policy to ensure that the debt associated with continuing one’s education would not be weighed more heavily than any other type of debt.  

During the pandemic, homeownership became a reality for more Black, Asian, and Latino people than ever before. Now, with new challenges like higher interest rates and challenges to student debt relief, our message is clear: let us help you prepare so that you will be ready when the opportunity comes. We have the tools to help.  

I want everyone in this country, no matter their station in life, to have the freedom to create the lives of their dreams. 

That is why in 2022, HUD issued an Economic Justice agenda that expands access to asset and credit-building services for people of low means. Families and individuals with low incomes deserve a fair chance to build wealth and buy a home of their own if that is their choice. Under our agenda, we are creating pathways for people to save money, build wealth, and set a solid foundation for their future and the next generation. 

We know that homeownership is the way many people in this country build savings and wealth. Owning a home can provide a clear and direct path to the American dream. 

Yet, that dream has been deferred for Black and Brown people, as we have consistently had our homes undervalued within our biased appraisal system. We have been told that where we live, where we raise our children, celebrate birthdays, and host holidays, is worth less for no other reason than our race.  

Through the President’s PAVE Task Force, chaired by Ambassador Susan Rice and me, we put forward the most wide-ranging set of reforms ever to advance racial equity in the home appraisal process.  

We are focused on empowering consumers, making the appraisal industry more accountable, cultivating a well-trained appraiser workforce that looks like the communities it serves, and ensuring technology do not perpetuate bias.  

Additionally, through the Federal Housing Administration, HUD is creating a process that people seeking FHA financing can use to request a review of their appraisal if they believe the results may have been skewed by racial bias. 

This will mean that a homeowner who is in the process of refinancing their home with an FHA product can take steps to ensure that their appraisal is fair. 

Our goal is to ensure Americans can get help, get informed, and get involved, so we have made $28 million available to fund testing, education, and outreach efforts to communities on appraisal bias. We have also established a uniform approach to investigating complaints of bias against appraisers, appraisal companies, and lenders. 

At HUD, our work to undo bias in the appraisal system is a part of our longstanding efforts to root out discrimination and effect change. Now is the time to fulfill the full promise of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The Act explicitly prohibits discrimination in housing. At the start of 2023, we issued a notice of proposed rulemaking on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. 

The proposed rule would charge local governments and grantees to set ambitious goals to confront and reject housing discrimination in all forms and recognize and remedy enduring inequality. 

 Most importantly, it would give the community a seat at the table in our ongoing work to guarantee fair housing while adding accountability mechanisms to ensure that grantees comply with their duty to affirmatively further fair housing. 

Every day at HUD, we pursue equity-focused housing and community-building policies and programs to level the playing field for all, regardless of their life experience. 

Over the past two years, we have laid out our vision for economic and climate justice, introduced a new generation to the possibility of homeownership, and remained steadfast in our work to combat bias and discrimination in housing. 

We are committed to building on that progress in the months and years ahead. To addressing the challenges we are sure to face with resolve, and, as always, never losing sight of our why: bringing the people of this great country home.

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