Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
HUD Changing Mission
"Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is changing the mission statement of his agency, removing promises of inclusive and discrimination-free communities," reports Amanda Terkel.
Terkel explains the circumstances surrounding the change, which was made known by a memo written by Amy Thompson, the department’s assistant secretary for public affairs. According to the memo, HUD's new mission statement reads as follows:
HUD’s mission is to ensure Americans have access to fair, affordable housing and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency, thereby strengthening our communities and nation.
For comparison, here's the old mission statement:
HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination, and transform the way HUD does business.
"It’s not clear whether the new language is final," according to Terkel. "Thompson asked the political staff to send along any 'comments or suggestions.'" Terkel also reports on the political intrigue swirling around HUD and HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Planetizen noted the most recent damaging story about Carson's tenure at HUD earlier the same week that news of the memo was made public.
Writing for Brookings, Jenny Schuetz and Andre M. Perry follow up on the news with a blunt critique of the direction of HUD under Secretary Carson's leadership. According to Schuetz and Perry, the most recent news is "yet another worrying sign that the Trump administration is backing away from long-term goals of urban policy." Far from completing the mission of ending discrimination in housing and urban policy around the country, Schuetz and Perry make the case that the Trump Administration is abdicating its responsibilities.
In the U.S., opportunity, affordability, and self-sufficiency are inextricably linked to inclusion. Everyone succeeds when we act on the principle that we’re all in this together. Consumer protection and inclusion are the very goals we have not yet realized. Out of sight; out of mind isn’t particularly helpful in public policy. Our problems with inclusion won’t go away just because we no longer see it in the mission.