Proposed Rewrite of HUD Mission Statement Raises Concerns
March 8, 2018
A proposed rewriting of the mission statement for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has raised charges that the Department is retreating from efforts to combat discrimination.
According to an ABC News report, a leaked draft of the revised mission statement reads:
"HUD’s mission is to ensure Americans have access to fair, affordable housing and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency, thereby strengthening our communities and nation." This version introduced the word “self-sufficiency” to the mission statement, but it also deleted sentences that charged HUD with “working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination, and transform the way HUD does business.”
HUD acknowledged that a change to the mission statement was being considered, but insisted that the department had no intention of dropping its efforts to combat housing discrimination.
"As in previous Administrations, HUD is considering modest changes to the Department’s mission statement to make it a more clear and concise expression of the historic work this agency performs on behalf of the American people," HUD's Communications Director Raffi Williams said in a statement. "You can be sure of one thing—any mission statement for this Department will embody the principle of fairness as a central element of everything that we do. HUD has been, is now, and will always be committed to ensuring inclusive housing, free from discrimination for all Americans."
National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Elizabeth Mendenhall offered a gentle reprimand to HUD for potentially dropping its mission statement’s language on discrimination.
“Not only is fair housing integral to the ethical commitment of our members, as outlined in the Realtor Code of Ethics, it is critical to our ability to serve our customers, clients and the community,” Mendenhall said. “We look forward to continuing our work with HUD to advocate for inclusive sustainable communities free from discrimination.”
Less gentle language was used by Nikitra Bailey, Executive Vice President with the Center for Responsible Lending.
“By removing HUD’s commitment to fight for fair housing and work to remove discriminatory barriers, Secretary Carson and the Trump Administration are again betraying the trust of our nation’s people and guarantees assured by federal law,” Bailey said. “Neither is acceptable.”
The left-leaning advocacy group People for the American Way filed a Freedom of Information Act request for HUD to publicly release the full contents of the leaked draft. Diallo Brooks, senior director of outreach and public engagement, insisted the change to the mission statement offered “yet more evidence that Trump Administration HUD officials are hiding discriminatory policy changes from the public.”
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