A Roof Over a Head Measures Success

Secretary Castro Testifies Before
House Financial Services Committee

Julian CastroOn June 12, 2015, U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro testified again before the House Committee on Financial Services during a hearing titled “The Future of Housing in America: Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”

As HUD approaches its 50th anniversary in September 2015, the Financial Services Committee, led by Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), has paid particular attention to examining the efficacy and success of HUD programs.

A common theme among Republican Committee members was that merely providing a stable home for America’s poorest families – who might otherwise be forced to live on the street – is not enough to measure success. The members wanted hard data showing what happens to HUD residents once they leave subsidized housing programs.

Chair Hensarling later asked Secretary Castro how he would measure success. In response, Secretary Castro said:

“We measure success in several ways. One outcome is the fact that somebody has a roof over their head …”

Countering the notion that HUD programs have proven ineffective, Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) said.

“HUD provides critical rental and homeless assistance for our country’s most vulnerable populations … [O]ur 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.”

Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA) added.

“I want to recognize that Section 8 and other housing programs are successful in every one of our districts, and that a housing program has to chiefly be evaluated based on whether it provides housing, and getting people off the street and in housing is a good thing.”

Click here to read more about the hearing from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Click here for Secretary Castro’s testimony.

An archived webcast of the hearing is available here.