Meeting with HUD Secretary Julian Castro
The National Housing Resource Center’s (NHRC) HUD Task Force met with new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julian Castro to discuss issues facing the non-profit housing counseling community. The meeting, which was attended by Secretary Castro and other senior HUD officials as well as 40 leaders housing counseling leaders from around the country, provided the Secretary the opportunity to learn more about housing counseling, what is happening on the ground around the country, and to hear about ways in which he can support housing counseling through his leadership at HUD.
Our team raised key issues that we think the Secretary could lead on, including:
1. Raising the public profile and perception of housing counseling, for example by talking about the value of housing counseling in speeches and visiting HUD-approved housing counseling agencies when travelling;
2. Fighting for additional federal funding for HUD Housing Counseling Assistance;
3. Working for more effective settlements with mortgage servicers;
4. Convening a technology summit between the housing counseling community, government stakeholders, and private sector stakeholders (e.g. funders, lenders, investors, and technology companies) and to improve the counseling community’s technological capacity;
5. Attending the December 11th national Leaders in Housing Counseling meeting in Washington, DC.
In his remarks, Secretary Castro highlighted some of his priorities for his (what he stressed would be a relatively brief) time at HUD, which include increasing access to mortgage credit, a renewed focus on connecting public housing to education and job training programs, and making place-based work as effective as possible through multiple government agencies working in conjunction. (For more on Secretary Castor’s plans with respect to access to credit, check out this Washington Post blog post on the Secretary’s first policy speech, which was delivered earlier this month at a 40th birthday celebration for Secretary Castro and his twin brother Congressman Joaquin Castro.)
All-in-all, the meeting was a great success that allowed the housing counseling community the opportunity to introduce ourselves to Secretary Castro and opened the door to working with him on some of our high-level priorities. We are looking forward to a having a strong and productive relationship with Secretary Castro and HUD generally.