United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

A Federal Government
Executive Branch Cabinet Department

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known by as HUD, is a Cabinet department in the Executive branch of the United States federal government. Although its beginnings were in the House and Home Financing Agency, it was founded as a Cabinet department in 1965, as part of the "Great Society" program of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, to develop and execute policy on housing and cities.

The department was established on September 9, 1965 when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act Pub.L. 89-174 into law. It stipulated that the department was to be created no later than November 8, 60 days following the date of enactment. The actual implementation was postponed until January 13, 1966, following the completion of a special study group report on the federal role in solving urban problems.

HUD is administered by the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Former New York City housing commissioner and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan was nominated by President Obama in his weekly radio address on December 13 2008, and confirmed by the United States Senate unanimously on January 22, 2009

  • July 1947 - The Housing and Home Finance Agency established
  • July 1949 - The Housing Act of 1949 is enacted to help eradicate slums and promote redevelopment
  • September 1959 - The Housing Act of 1959 allows funds for elderly housing
  • September 1965 - HUD is created as a cabinet level agency by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act
  • April 1968 - The Fair Housing Act is made to ban discrimination in housing
  • August 1969 - The Brooke Amendment establishes that low income families only pay no more than 25 percent of their income for rent
  • August 1974 - Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 allows community development block grants and help for urban homesteading
  • October 1977 - The Housing and Community Act of 1977 sets up Urban Development Grants and continues elderly and handicapped assistance
  • July 1987 - The Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act gives help to communities to deal with homelessness
  • February 1988 - The Housing and Community Development Act provides for the sale of public housing to resident management corporations
  • October 1992 - The HOPE VI program starts to revitalize public housing and how it works
  • October 1992 - The Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 codifies within its language the Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992 that creates the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, and mandates HUD to set goals for lower income and underserved housing areas for the GSE's Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • March 1996 - The Housing Opportunity Program Extension Act give public housing authorities the tools to screen out and evict residents who might endanger other existing residents due to substance abuse and criminal behavior
  • October 1998 - Government laws are proposed which would allow local housing authorities to open up more public housing to the middle class
  • November 2007 HUD initiates program providing seller concessions to buyers of HUD homes, allowing them to use down payment of $100

Operating units

The Robert C. Weaver Federal Building is the headquarters of the Department of Housing and Urban Development located in Washington D.C. The building was designed by Marcel Breuer.
HUD has experimented with Enterprise Zones granting economic incentives to economically depressed urban areas, but this function has largely been taken over by states.

The major program offices are:

  • Community Planning and Development: Many major affordable housing and homelessness programs are administered under Community Planning and Development. These include the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the HOME program, Shelter Plus Care, Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG), Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy program (Mod Rehab SRO), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).
  • Housing: This office is responsible for the Federal Housing Administration; mission regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; regulation of Manufactured housing; administration of Multifamily housing programs, including Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202) and Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities (Section 811); and Healthcare facility loan insurance.
  • Public and Indian Housing: This office administers the public housing program HOPE VI, the Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly yet more popularly known as Section 8), and housing block grants for Indian tribes, Native Hawaiians and Alaskans.
  • Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity: This office enforces Federal laws against discrimination against minority households, families with children, and persons with disability.
  • Policy Development and Research (PD&R): This office is responsible for maintaining current information on housing needs, market conditions, and existing programs, as well as conducting research on priority housing and community development issues through the HUD USER Clearinghouse.
  • Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae)
  • Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. (PDF)
  • Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (developed in 1998)


The 203(k) program offers low-cost loans to allow low-income participants or nonprofit groups to buy and renovate a house. A scandal with the program arose in the 1990s in which at least 700 houses were sold for profit by real estate speculators taking the loans; at least 19 were arrested, and the situation devastated the housing market in Brooklyn and Harlem and resulted in $70 million in HUD loans going into default. Critics said that HUD's lax oversight of their program allowed the fraud to occur. In 1997, the HUD Inspector General had issued a report saying: "The program design encourages risky property deals, land sale and refinance schemes, overstated property appraisals, and phony or excessive fees."

One of the most successful HUD programs over the years has been the Multifamily Housing Service Coordinator Program. Each year since 1992, HUD has included in its Notice of Fund Availability (NOFA), a specific allocation of dollars to allow sponsors and owners of HUD multifamily housing for the elderly the opportunity to hire a Service Coordinator. The Service Coordinator provides case management and coordinative services to elderly residents, particularly to those who are "frail" and "at-risk" allowing them to age in place. As a result, thousands of senior citizens throughout the United States have been given the opportunity to continue to live independently instead of in an institutional facility such as a nursing home. Professional organizations such as the American Association of Service Coordinators provide support to HUD Service Coordinator through education, training, networking and advocacy.

Due to HUD's lending practices, it occasionally takes possession of a home when a lender it insures forecloses. Such properties are then generally sold off to the highest bidder through the HUD auction process. Buyers of HUD homes as their primary residences who make a full-price offer to HUD using FHA-insured mortgage financing receive seller concessions from HUD enabling them to use only $100 down payment.


In 2006, The Village Voice called HUD "New York City's worst landlord" and "the #1 worst in the United States."

Related legislation

  • 1944 - Servicemens Readjustment Act, Pub.L. 78-346
  • 1949 - Housing Act, Pub.L. 81-171
  • 1950 - Housing Act, Pub.L. 81-475
  • 1951 - Defense Housing Act, Pub.L. 82-139
  • 1952 - 550 Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act, Pub.L. 82-325
  • 1954 - Housing Act, Pub.L. 83-560
  • 1959 - Housing Act, Pub.L. 86-372
  • 1962 - Senior Citizens Housing Act, Pub.L. 87-723
  • 1965 - Housing and Urban Development Act, Pub.L. 89-117
  • 1965 - Department of Housing and Urban Development Act, Pub.L. 89-174
  • 1968 - Housing and Urban Development Act, Pub.L. 90-448
  • 1974 - Housing and Urban Development Act, Pub.L. 93-383
  • 1976 - Housing and Urban Development Act, Pub.L. 94-375
  • 1986 - Tax Reform Act of 1986, Pub.L. 99-514
    • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
  • 1987 - Housing and Community Development Act of 1987, Pub.L. 100-242
  • 1987 - Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act, Pub.L. 100-77
  • 1989 - Department of Housing and Urban Development Reform Act of 1989, Pub.L. 101-235
  • 1990 - Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act, Pub.L. 101-625
  • 1992 - Housing and Community Development Act of 1992, Pub.L. 102-550
    • Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992, U.S. Code: Title 12, Chapter 46

See also

  • Federal Housing Finance Board
  • Regulatory Barriers Clearing house
  • Mortgage Discrimination

External links

Real Estate Finance