NLIHC Congratulates New HUD Secretary Castro, Recommends Affordable Housing Priorities

Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with a 71-26 vote. The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) congratulates Secretary Castro and welcomes him to Washington.

Secretary Castro is replacing Shaun Donovan, who has been nominated by President Barack Obama to become the next Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). His nomination has been sent to the full Senate by both the Budget Committee and the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. The Senate is expected to take up Mr. Donovan’s nomination shortly. NLIHC thanks Mr. Donovan for his years of dedicated service, his partnership with NLIHC, and his commitment to solving the housing problems of the nation’s lowest income families, including people who are homeless.

“While we are sorry to lose Shaun Donovan at HUD, we look forward to working with him at OMB and to building an equally strong partnership with Secretary Castro,” said NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley. “I am confident that Secretary Castro will emphasize HUD’s responsibilities for assuring that the housing needs of low income people are addressed.”

NLIHC calls on Secretary Castro to pay particular attention to the following:

Funding and Implementation of the National Housing Trust FundToday, there is a shortage of seven million rental homes that are affordable and available for extremely low income households. Once funded, the National Housing Trust Fund will provide communities with funds to build, preserve, rehabilitate, and operate rental homes that are affordable for these households. However, the National Housing Trust Fund has yet to receive any funding. Once capitalized, the National Housing Trust Fund will be the most significant federal investment in affordable rental housing in a generation.

Secretary Donovan and the Obama Administration have advocated for the funding of the National Housing Trust Fund, and we hope that Secretary Castro will carry on that support. Specifically, we urge him to push for housing finance reform that provides significant funding for the National Housing Trust Fund as does the bipartisan Johnson-Crapo bill.

We also urge Secretary Castro to move swiftly to issue the final regulations for the National Housing Trust Fund.

Issuance of final regulations on Affirmatively Furthering Fair HousingThe Fair Housing Act of 1968 requires HUD to administer its programs in a manner that affirmatively furthers fair housing. In July 2013, HUD published a proposed rule to improve the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing, but has not yet issued the final regulations. NLIHC urges Secretary Castro to do so with all deliberate speed, taking into consideration NLIHC’s formal comments submitted to HUD in November 2013.

Protection of existing housing programsAll federal low income housing programs were damaged by the 2013 sequestration. Secretary Castro must champion, both within the Administration and with Congress, for.sufficient funding to preserve all existing low income housing resources, including public housing, and prevent further loss of affordable units and rental assistance for extremely low income households.

Dr. Crowley is available for further comment.