HUD Secretary Says Affordable Housing Still Needs Improvement

While addressing the National Association of Real Estate Brokers convention in Fort Worth, Texas, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan shared some good news – in the last year, home equity has increased by $1.1 trillion. He also shared some difficult and challenging news, reminding the group that – while the housing market is slowly starting to improve – there’s still a lot of work to be done, especially with regards to affordable housing.

High unemployment and upside-down mortgages continue to be a drag on the U.S. housing recovery, but HUD has plans aimed at turning things around. In recent months, most of HUD’s programs have focused on loan modifications, but a lot of money has been made available for affordable housing developments as well. Secretary Donovan says HUD’s commitment to low-income housing will continue to a be a focus of its overall recovery plan.

Recently, an additional $1 billion was approved for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. First launched in 2008, as part of the larger Housing and Economic Recovery Act, NSP funding has already been used to build or rehabilitate over 20,000 housing units.

HUD’s newest program is called “First Look” and aims to speed up the purchase and rehabilitation of foreclosed homes. Under the new program, organizations and communities that receive NSP funds will get first choice of FHA-insured homes that have been foreclosed. The program serves a dual purpose: getting foreclosed homes off the market more quickly, and making for low-income housing available.

Donovan closed his comments by emphasizing how important it is for every American family to have access to safe, affordable housing and by restating HUD’s commitment to achieve that goal.

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