Mr. President, Chief of Staff Bolten, Molly, my children, my parents, current and former members of the Cabinet, my new partners at HUD, distinguished guests, my friends, thank you all for being here today-seeing all of you is very humbling.
It is a profound privilege to serve our country as Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, and to be a voice for the people helped by this agency.
Thank you, Mr. President, for your confidence and trust.
I am also thankful to Senators Dodd and Shelby for their work in expediting my confirmation.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is appropriate that we gather here. This building is named after Robert C. Weaver, who was the first secretary of the department. Dr. Weaver said that we cannot treat people like they are facts or statistics.
Instead, he asked the people who work here to look behind the data, to see the values and the concerns and the hopes and the lives of the families we serve.
We assist the homeless to find shelter. We help provide millions of Americans with affordable and public housing. Families who want to buy a home often turn to us. And we help those with homes keep them.
We know that homeownership can be a source of pride, a stake in the community, a place to grow up and grow old together, and a source of wealth creation. And we help build and rebuild communities.
At the moment, there are difficulties in the housing market. This is a decisive moment in economic history. HUD will be central to restoring financial stability.
In fact, just in the last year, thanks to changes made by you, Mr. President, FHA is increasingly a pathway for hundreds of thousands of families to a more affordable, secure mortgage.
While we are all committed to addressing the immediate challenges in the housing market, we must also think of the future. We must provide a longer-term foundation for reform in the institutions that give homeowners access to capital to make the American Dream possible, while also generating enduring confidence in our financial markets.
As we confront these challenges, we are blessed with talented and committed employees at HUD. You understand that we can make a difference. In the next few months we will need the best efforts of each person at HUD.
I look forward to working with you and our partners in the Administration. And I am committed to collaborating in a bipartisan fashion with Congress on the path ahead.
Ladies and gentlemen, let's roll up our sleeves. We have work to do. And we will do this work together, as a team, serving our great nation.
For more information, visit www.hud.gov.