In the News | The Committee on Financial Services
September 11, 2015
For Immediate Release | Contacts: Jeff Emerson (202) 226-0471; David Popp (202) 226-2467

Hensarling Urges Public to Offer Ideas on Poverty and Housing Affordability

WASHINGTON – Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) issued the following statement on the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and called on Americans to bring new ideas to the table on how best to fight the problems of poverty and housing affordability:

Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation to create the Department of Housing and Urban Development as our nation’s 11th cabinet department.  In its own words, the purpose of the legislation was “to achieve the best administration of the principal programs of the Federal Government which provide assistance for housing.” 

Proponents saw HUD as the rational response to addressing the increasingly urban nature of our society and the housing challenges that accompanied it.

Now, 50 years and more than $1.6 trillion in real dollars spent later, it is hard to conclude that HUD has lived up to those lofty aspirations.  Instead of marshaling federal resources towards the goal of addressing America’s housing needs, HUD has come to symbolize the dashed hopes of the Great Society vision that mistook centralization for coordination and spending for compassion. 

Despite myriad federal housing programs and initiatives, decent housing remains unavailable or unaffordable for far too many today just as it did five decades ago.  HUD has failed to solve this persistent problem because it has failed to focus on its underlying cause: the very real human tragedy of generational cycles of poverty that we see in so many communities.

Simply put, we must reform and innovate how we provide assistance for housing in the 21st century or we will continue to fail the very people who are in most need of our help.  That is why I am calling on all interested advocates, organizations, and ordinary citizens to join the effort to modernize the delivery of federal housing assistance and submit their ideas on how to restructure and rebuild HUD for today’s generation. 

President Johnson said at his signing ceremony for the HUD Act that “we must find the ways to preserve and to perpetuate in the city the individuality, the human dignity, the respect for individual rights, the devotion to individual responsibility that has been part of the American character and the strength of the American system” or our society will perish and decay. 

Fifty years later, let those words be our guide to a bold new way of approaching the problems of poverty and housing affordability.

NOTE:  Individuals and organizations interested in submitting ideas should send an email to the following address:

Submission Requirements:

Submissions to modernize the delivery of federal housing assistance for today’s generation should include specific proposals and recommendations on:

1.  Restructuring HUD to maximize its organizational efficiency,

2.  Innovative approaches to address housing affordability that respect individual rights and promote individual responsibility,

3.  Methods of targeting housing assistance to address generational cycles of poverty,

4.  Examples of successful implementation of such proposals at the local, national, or international level (if applicable).

Additional Submission Requirements:

  • All submissions must be sent in a Word document or PDF attachment.  The file name must include the name of the organization/individual submitting the recommendations and the date.
  • Submissions must include a cover sheet containing the contact name, organization, phone number, and email address of the organization/individual submitting the recommendations.
  • Submissions will be accepted through Nov. 1, 2015, and may be incorporated into Committee proposals or made public at a later date.
  • If the directions above are not followed, the Committee reserves the right to not include the submission.


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