Ben Carson: We’re changing HUD from a bureaucracy to an efficient organization

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The mission of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. I became the HUD secretary because I believe wholeheartedly in this mission and love working to find ever-better ways to achieve it.

I am proud to announce that after several months of hard work, my team has outlined a solid plan for institutional reform and improvement that will better serve Americans who depend on us, the taxpayers who fund us, and the hard-working HUD employees who have dedicated their careers to helping the disadvantaged.  

{mosads}When a new Cabinet secretary rolls into a federal agency, he or she often carries in a grand plan, which occasionally survives the next several years but rarely impresses the dedicated men and women who have worked there for the last 20.


In laying out my plan for HUD, I wanted to flip the script, drawing on institutional knowledge from civil servants who were here when I came in, and will be here when the next secretary takes my place.

In that spirit, I’ve spent the last seven months investigating which HUD initiatives work best, which ones need reform, and which could be putting taxpayer dollars to better use.

HUD also had its highest employee engagement score ever for the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, so my team is going to be drawing from a wealth of experience and inside knowledge in the days to come.  

We have boiled our plan down to “the three Rs.”

Reimagine the way HUD works: These reforms are internal and process-based. We want to organize and deliver HUD services more effectively to the American people, which means enhancing the working conditions and training at HUD itself, while eliminating improper payments and waste, fraud and abuse.

In some instances, this means combining redundant grant programs and streamlining the ways that we help HUD beneficiaries — less bureaucracy and more quality control translates to better services. We will also accomplish this goal by following the president’s executive order to remove burdensome regulations from those who employ Americans and build, rent and sell their houses.

Restore the American dream: The best bulwark against poverty is a strong economy with plentiful jobs and abundant affordable housing.

We are renewing our commitment to homeownership for first-time buyers in a way that maintains our financial viability. We are also taking a hard look at the way we provide rental assistance: it needs to be sustainable, reliable and provide incentives for work and stable family formation.

We are simultaneously loosening restrictions on certain types of housing, like condominiums, that are eligible for Federal Housing Administration assistance, with an eye to first-time homebuyers and millennials.

Rethink American communities: Our final goal — one that should be the aim of every anti-poverty program — is to help our beneficiaries reach prosperity and self-sufficiency. This doesn’t mean taking assistance away from those who need HUD — it means doing our job so well that fewer and fewer people require our assistance.

Housing assistance must be geared toward homeownership and job training where possible. Expanding community investment through public/private partnerships and involving the most effective charities and religious institutions gives better results than federal agencies charging in and running lives. But for those families who might always need someone to lean on, including the elderly and disabled, HUD will be there for them.

As we continue to roll out new policies and reforms in the months and years ahead, I am confident they will show that our mission remains lofty, our goals achievable and our team accountable.

I hope that you will agree. And I hope that all Americans, in their private endeavors and personal lives, may find little opportunities to participate in our mission, working to build a nation with strong, sustainable, inclusive communities, and quality affordable homes for all.

Ben Carson is the current secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Tags Ben Carson Ben Carson Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD

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