LeadingAge Joins Letter on HUD's Mission Statement

Legislation | March 12, 2018 | by Linda Couch

LeadingAge joined hundreds of other organizations in a letter urging HUD to retain language in its mission statement “that reflects one of HUD’s most important responsibilities: enforcement and promotion of the Fair Housing Act.”

The letter was in response to media reports, confirmed by HUD, that HUD is contemplating changing its mission statement in ways that would remove references to remove the words “build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.”

In an open letter to HUD employees, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, “The Department’s mission statement has changed from time to time to capture the dynamic nature of our work. It changed in 2003 and again in 2010. Now, in 2018, we are considering another change to our mission statement and are seeking comments and ideas from our senior staff. But the notion that any new mission statement would reflect a lack of commitment to fair housing is nonsense.”

Media reported that a senior HUD employee had emailed staff seeking comments and suggestions to an updated HUD mission statement that, the senior employee said, was “an effort to align HUD’s mission with the Secretary’s priorities and that of the Administration.” The sign on letter LeadingAge joined was coordinated by the National Fair Housing Alliance.

The draft mission statement sent to staff: “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.”

HUD’s current mission statement: “HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is 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.

In addition to the potential removal of clear fair housing enforcement and promotion language, LeadingAge is also concerned that the draft mission statement would remove the phrase “utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life.”