Coaches are in tough positions. The team wins and the credit goes to the star player. Not the coach, of course, but the home-run hitter, perfect shooter or lightning-fast running back.

But if the team loses, it’s the coach who’s often assigned the blame. Washington is no different. When the housing market is playing well, it’s coach/secretary Alphonso Jackson who receives hardly any recognition for his execution strategies. But when the game got tough the blame undeservingly fell on the secretary’s head.

Now, Alphonso Jackson is a tough ol’ fella, and he’s been in this business long enough to know you often take more licks than you give. But this Sunday’s Washington Post cover story detailing his tenure as housing secretary was way out of bounds.

Although the Post dedicated quite a few column inches to criticisms of Secretary Jackson’s term, they failed to include even one mention of the success that happened in the years leading up to the unfortunate but inevitable housing situation. I’ve written about that before, so no need to rehash it now. But these accomplishments are noteworthy, and since the Post won’t print them, I will.

For example, Jackson’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) decreased the number of the chronically homeless from 2005-2006 by nearly 12 percent — that’s a first, by the way. This decrease did not come at an easy time, either. Need I remind you that in August 2005, hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed by a little hurricane? But these statistics don’t help paint the picture of ineffectiveness the Post wanted to portray, so they simply didn’t print the information.

Further, Jackson personally led the push to help 130,000-plus homeowners refinance their loans to make homeownership more affordable. And in case the media or America has forgotten, that is the goal of his department — more realizing the American dream. Specifically, HUD is dedicated to increasing ownership among minorities, which Sec. Jackson has done by significant measure: 3.5 million more since 2002.

Most importantly, HUD has finally been taken off of the Government Accountability Office’s “High-Risk” list, where it resided for the past 13 years.

Still, the media gives no credit for the previously mentioned accomplishments, but does accord Jackson all the blame for the recent housing contraction. When Sec. Jackson’s initiatives led the nation towards its housing goals, he surely deserved Coach of the Year; but critics call foul once and the secretary’s vast, sometimes even record-breaking accomplishments are somehow passed over.


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