During today’s full Committee hearing featuring Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, highlighted the critical importance of HUD and underscored the need to provide robust funding for the agency’s programs.
In opening remarks, the top Democrat noted that Republicans have no interest in strengthening the national housing system, criticizing their repeated efforts to underfund critical programs within HUD’s portfolio.
Waters emphasized that HUD’s mission is now more important than ever in the wake of the foreclosure crisis that has gripped the country in recent years, as it has increased the need for more affordable housing across the country, especially for the poorest households.
Text of Waters’ full remarks is below.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And welcome back, Secretary Castro.
Today, we gather to discuss the “Future of Housing in America.” But frankly, if left to my Republican colleagues, that future looks very bleak for many of our most vulnerable populations.
Mr. Secretary, HUD remains a critical part of our nation’s social safety net, and is essential to ensuring that families have a stable roof over their heads.
But as we will see here today, my colleagues have no interest in strengthening our national housing system. Their priorities are clearly reflected in the recently passed HUD funding bill, which drives investment in this agency down to historic lows – undercutting programs which help families reach housing stability.
HUD provides critical rental and homeless assistance for our country’s most vulnerable populations, makes important investments in local community development and affordable housing initiatives, and helps millions of families achieve the American Dream of homeownership – all while ensuring fairness for historically disadvantaged communities.
Safe, decent and affordable housing is critical to ensuring that our young people are healthy and successful. Studies have shown that children who lack stable housing often fall behind their peers in school.
And today, HUD is more important than ever. In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, our nation is facing a significant affordable rental housing shortage. Although private capital has an important role to play on this front, it cannot be leveraged without reliable federal funding.
To truly address the acute need for affordable rental housing and the epidemic of homelessness, it is absolutely critical that we fully fund and expand the housing and homeless assistance programs that have been so successful at HUD.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of HUD. And as I think about the next 50 years of housing in America, I believe that if we are truly serious about ending poverty and uplifting all communities, we must reinvest in HUD.
Mr. Secretary, I believe that these same principles also underlie your vision for the future of housing in America, and I look forward to hearing your testimony today.