Breaking Housing Cycle Tightening HUD Budget and More
As a follow-up to their panel discussion at the September 2014 Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Summit, Shelterforce interviewed former U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretaries Henry Cisneros and Mel Martinez. The two were four of the co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Committee’s Housing Commission.
On the need to help households whose families have lived in public housing or Section 8 apartments for generations, said Martinez,
“Now, there are obviously those who need supportive housing, and always will—the disabled and the elderly—but there’s a whole host of other people who might transition in and out of it, allowing more than that fourth [of those eligible for housing assistance] to be served. You have to do it in a compassionate way, but we have to reinvent some of what we’re doing so that the money might be better utilized. And even if you don’t have all you would want to have, which never is the case, you can serve more people more adequately with what you’ve got.”
Cisneros emphasized that there are issues we are facing that are bigger than housing including the shrinking middle class. He also spoke about the shrinking HUD budget,
“It is also true that we probably don’t have enough resources, and the problem is getting more acute. The federal budget is getting tighter.”
The two went on to discuss a variety of other topics including leadership, poverty and GSE reform.