When President Joe Biden picked former Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) chairman Marcia Fudge to be the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2021, he knew the Cleveland-based House member was passionate about more African Americans and people with low to moderate incomes owning a home.
“As Secretary of HUD, that is one of my main priorities,” Fudge,70, said on Oct. 4, 2022 at the Second Annual Freedman’s Bank Forum. “To help people, especially those from marginalized communities, to invest in themselves and their families. That is why we are expanding access to asset and credit-building services for low-income people. Our vision is for low-income families to have a fair chance to build wealth and buy a home of their own, if that is their choice.”
The president also knew that Fudge — who served in the House from 2008-2021 and chaired the CBC from 2013-2015 — would not just sit in her office in Northwest Washington, but would travel throughout the country advocating the benefits of homeownership and addressing some of its hurdles.
“I live in a Black neighborhood by choice, my home is bigger, my lot is bigger, yet my home is valued less than the white neighborhood down the block; this must change,” Fudge said at a National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) convention in Houston in August.
During the NAREB address, Fudge pledges that her department will work with the organization on providing programs and tools to assist African Americans in becoming homeowners. The secretary emphasized the importance of owning a home in building Black wealth, saying “we cannot deal with inflation until we deal with the housing crisis” and “most of us build wealth through homeownership.”
NAREB President Lydia Pope said the secretary’s message on Black homeownership went over well, saying, “Secretary Fudge’s address impacted the convention attendees, motivating them to embrace the challenges ahead and work together toward creating a more equitable and inclusive housing landscape.”
In addition to NAREB, Fudge talked with several Black CEOs and executive directors of some of the country’s leading nonprofit, corporate, and philanthropic sectors in a discussion on building Black wealth, including increasing homeownership, in June. During the discussion, Fudge and the leaders drafted a call to action composed of commitments related to strategic partnerships focused on measurable outcomes.
Michael Hyter, president and CEO of the Executive Leadership Council, an organization of Black upper-level managers in leading corporations and nonprofits, praised Fudge’s priorities.
“The Executive Leadership Council looks forward to working with Secretary Fudge and her team to help tell the story around the imperative of homeownership as a path to wealth creation and why it is critical to the sustainability and longevity of the Black community,” Hyter said.