Lexey Swall

Marcia L. Fudge is in her third year as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Formerly mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, and a member of Congress for more than a decade, she was tapped to be the nation’s top housing official by President Joe Biden shortly after his election in 2020.

“One of the things that we pride ourselves on at HUD is making clear to the people that we serve that government really can work to their benefit and give them the hope and belief that we can make their lives better,” she tells Affordable Housing Finance. “That is my real goal in this role.”

The agency’s recent efforts have included taking new steps to bolster the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing mandate, which was dismantled by the Trump administration. HUD and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness are also behind the House America initiative, working with local leaders to use American Rescue Plan Act resources to address homelessness.

AHF: You have a long and wide list of issues to cover in your job, but as you go into your third year as HUD secretary, what is priority No. 1?

Fudge: It’s the same as it’s always been: It’s to make sure people in this country have decent, affordable, safe housing. Of course, there are things like the resources we have put into Healthy Homes so we can eradicate lead and mold. You shouldn’t live in a house that makes you sick. We want to be sure that we have people who can grow healthy, especially young people. We want people to live in communities of opportunity, so they can be in a position to get good jobs and to have health care. It’s the same from the beginning. It’s how to make the lives of the people in this country who have been either underserved or overlooked better. That’s our job.

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