HUD Secretary Holds Press Conference For HBCU Students – The Famuan
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge held a press briefing via Zoom on Wednesday with student journalists attending HBCUs.
There was a representative from over 30 schools on the briefing, and each student prepared a question related to HUD and its plans for 2022. Despite technical issues in the first 10 minutes, Fudge was able to answer many questions about fair housing, the homelessness crisis and how HBCU students can help make a difference in our communities. Fudge says these conversations are crucial because it’s the young people who will “save the community.”
“I’m so happy to be able to have these conversations with you because it’s important that you stay in the fight, ask the question, write and talk about what you think is important. If you don’t, no one will hear us,” Fudge said.
Fudge spoke about the plans HUD and the Biden-Harris administration have already been able to implement. She talked about the money and resources that have gone into addressing housing and development issues that we see in the United States, such as the program called House America. Nearly 70 cities have agreed to help end homelessness. Cities have pledged to provide 20,000 new homes by the end of this year for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
“It’s unfortunate that we have young people who go to school and don’t know if they are going to eat or sleep. But we have resources available,” Fudge said. “So reach out to your community… take on this challenge yourselves to at least raise the issue. Because if we don’t talk about it, we can’t fix it.
She also spoke about the $46 billion federal housing assistance program to help those at risk of being evicted from their homes. This program has now become a cause for concern because the money is being distributed so quickly to states in need that many are running out of money, putting millions of renters at risk. Fudge says to combat this growing problem, resources are being shifted and the program is being reassessed.
“I think you’re going to start to see that the problem isn’t going to be that bad, but I think you also have to understand that evictions were high in some communities before the pandemic. We just blocked them for a while,” Fudge said. “But the problem won’t be as bad as it might have been had we not provided the nearly $46 billion in rental assistance.”
As the government continues to work on existing programs, it is actively looking for ways to get the word out about the seriousness of the current homelessness situation in this country. At the start of 2020, approximately 580,000 people were homeless, according to HUD’s annual homelessness assessment report. The growing problem prompted a point-in-time count Wednesday night as Fudge and volunteers across the country came out and counted the number of homeless people in their communities.
“I think people would be shocked that most people who live on the streets today don’t live there because they’re mentally ill or on drugs,” Fudge said. “Most would say it’s the economy. They cannot afford to live in an apartment in most major cities in this country.
Fudge left students with words on how to make a change where it matters. She shared her philosophy and encouraged participants to always help those who need it most. Asked about her goals for this year towards the end of the briefing, she said all she cares about is helping others.
“I want people to stay housed and not sleep rough as these numbers become more and more families with children and elderly people. I want to do so much,” Fudge said. “I don’t know if I can do everything, but my goals are the same. It’s just to take care of people, people who need us. So that’s what I get up every day to do.