Head of Housing and Urban Development Says Affordable Housing Is “An American Issue”

By: Alyssa Miller | Last updated: Mar 21, 2024

The price of rent and housing has skyrocketed to astronomical levels. The problem has escalated, and might worsen as Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge is resigning from her position in the Biden administration.

In her Monday announcement, Fudge says that she believes she has done everything she could for the administration.

Who Is Marcia Fudge? 

Fudge has served as a Cabinet secretary for three years and has been behind some of the agency’s decisions during the housing crisis after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Marcia Fudge in a red blazer talking into a microphone on a stage

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Her retirement comes after it solidified that President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump would face each other again in the 2024 U.S. presidential election.

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Fudge Announces Her Retirement 

After decades of public service, Fudge is retiring and returning to her home state of Ohio. “It’s time to go home,’’ Fudge told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview. “I do believe strongly that I have done just about everything I could do at HUD for this administration as we go into this crazy, silly season of an election.”

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Marica Fudge in a blue button up sitting in a meeting

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

Before exiting, Fudge imparts a bit of wisdom to whoever takes her place: Address affordable housing quickly as it is a bipartisan issue.

A Red and Blue Issue

‘‘It is not a red or blue issue,’’ Fudge said. “Everybody knows that it is an issue, so it’s not a one-sided issue. It’s an American issue.’’

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An aerial view of affordable housing near a highway

Source: Tim Robberts

Fudge has focused on improving the agency’s role in supporting families with housing, and helping those experiencing homelessness. Much of her work has helped boost the economy in communities largely affected by the housing crisis.

Millions Face Housing Insecurity

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there is a national shortage of more than 7 million affordable homes in the United States for approximately 10.8 million low-income families.

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A street view of a deteriorating house in a low-income neighborhood

Source: Ted Eytan

On top of that, renters working a full-time job with minimum wage can not afford a two-bedroom apartment in the U.S. HUD is crucial in building more affordable housing for these low-income families facing housing insecurity.

HUD Needs More Funding

As Fudge exits, she worries that the leadership overseeing the agency will not provide enough funding for the needed work, which includes building more affordable housing and repairing public housing developments.

A stack of U.S. banknotes

Source: Pixabay/Pexels

Fudge states that more than $70 billion is needed to mend the housing crisis in America. Unfortunately, the agency has received only a little more than $3 billion for their projects.

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Fudge Advocates for Bigger and Faster Changes

Fudge hopes that Congress will also approve permanent funding to help communities affected by natural disasters, like hurricanes and tornadoes, quickly and efficiently. Help from government agencies like HUD goes a long way toward economic recovery.

Marcia Fudge signing a document in an office

Source: House Agriculture Committee/Flickr

“We’re making incremental changes, but we need to make bigger changes and we need to make them faster,’’ she said. “We’re doing everything we can with the resources we’ve got.”

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Biden Stands by Fudge

Biden expressed his gratitude for Fudge’s work over the last five decades, writing in a statement: “Over the past three years she has been a strong voice for expanding efforts to build generational wealth through homeownership and lowering costs and promoting fairness for America’s renters.”

President Biden standing in front of an American flag

Source: NASA HQ PHOTO/Flickr

“Thanks to Secretary Fudge, we’ve helped first-time homebuyers, and we are working to cut the cost of renting,” the statement read. “And there are more housing units under construction right now than at any time in the last 50 years.”

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Fudge’s Role in the Housing Crisis

Fudge actively engages with urban and rural communities across the United States, frequently visiting areas in need of affordable housing to establish public and private partnerships and advocate with local officials.

A street level shot of a high-rise apartment building

Source: Trygve Finkelsen/Pexels

“The people HUD serves are those who are often left out and left behind,” Fudge said in a statement Monday announcing her resignation. ”These are my people. They serve as my motivation for everything we have been able to accomplish.’’

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One of Fudge’s Biggest Accomplishments

One of Fudge’s proudest accomplishments is closing the “Road Home” program in Louisiana. The program used a funding formula that many found discriminatory, supposed to help families rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast communities.

Neighborhoods throughout the area remain flooded as a result of Hurricane Katrina. FEMA and local rescue crews go into neighborhoods looking for residents unable to get out fo their houses due to high water.

Source: Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

Fudge said that more than 3,000 homeowners had liens on their homes from debt after the hurricane for nearly 17 years, and HUD found a way to eliminate the nearly two-decade-long burden.

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Others Step Away from the Biden Administration

Fudge is not the only member of Biden’s Cabinet to step down. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh stepped down from his position to lead the union representing players in the National Hockey League.

President Joe Biden in front of an American flag in 2021.

Source: The White House/Wikimedia

The Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Eric Lander, resigned in 2022 after complaints about his treatment toward staffers.

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Fudge Looks Forward to Being a Private Citizen

While Fudge has done a lot to push HUD forward, she vows to become a private citizen and not run again for re-election.

Foamy coffee and newspaper served on tray placed on chair

Source: Gül Işık/Pexels

“Don’t look for me to ever be on another ballot or another appointee or anything like that. I really do look forward to being a private citizen,” Fudge said.

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