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Small Business Resource Guide -
Chapter 1 -
Introduction to HUD

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History and Mission

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was created as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty and was established as a Cabinet Department by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act (42 U.S.C. 3532-3537), effective November 9, 1965. It consolidated a number of other older federal agencies to include the Housing Home Finance Agency, Federal Housing Administration, Urban Renewal Agency, Community Facilities Agency and Public Housing.

HUD is the Federal agency responsible for national policy and programs that address America's housing needs, improve and develop the Nation's communities and enforce fair housing laws. HUD's business is helping create a decent home and suitable living environment for all Americans, and it has given America's cities a strong national voice at the Cabinet level.

HUD works to help the nation's communities meet their development needs, spur economic growth in distressed neighborhoods, provide housing assistance for the poor, rehabilitate and develop moderate and low-cost housing and enforce the nation's fair housing laws. In an age of shrinking Federal budgets, HUD is focusing its resources on providing housing and economic development opportunities where they are most needed and can be best utilized through local planning. HUD plays a major role in supporting homeownership by underwriting homeownership for lower and moderate income families through its mortgage insurance program. HUD's annual operating budget is approximately $30 billion.

As the principal Federal agency responsible for the improvement and development of America's housing and communities, HUD's programs include: providing mortgage insurance to help individuals and families become homeowners; development. rehabilitation and modernization of the nation's public and Indian housing stock; development of HUD-insured multifamily housing; development, improvement and revitalization of America's urban centers and neighborhoods; providing rental subsidies to lower-income families to help them obtain affordable housing; and enforcement of Federal Fair Housing laws.

HUD is assisted in carrying out its various programs - and in managing its own operations - by a variety of independent contractors and vendors.

Marketing Tip: A common misconception is that HUD frequently contracts for building construction and other construction type projects. HUD does not. It does, however, provide grants and other types of funding assistance to other entities such as local public housing authorities, state and local government and non-profit organizations. These entities frequently contract for building construction and similar projects. Recommendations on how to access these contracting opportunities are discussed in the section entitled Contracting Opportunities Generated by HUD Grantees.

Housing and community revitalization are at the heart of the Departments mission. HUD's goal is to establish a solid foundation that will enable the Department to be a leader in management reform, an effective partner at the grassroots level, and a strong voice in the debate on the challenges that new growth and prosperity can bring. With increased funding for key programs and sensible reductions in duplicative or inefficient programs, HUD will work with local and state officials, non-profit and faith-based organizations, low-income housing advocates and industry groups to expand the supply of affordable housing. This united effort can give more Americans the opportunity to own a home, and empower communities across the country so that every neighborhood, every child, every citizen can enjoy the promise of this great nation.

In summary, HUD's mission is to provide decent, safe, and sanitary homes and suitable living environments for every American by:

  • Creating opportunities for homeownership;
  • Providing housing assistance for low-income persons;
  • Working to create, rehabilitate and maintain the nation's affordable housing;
  • Enforcing the nations fair housing laws
  • Helping the homeless;
  • Spurring economic growth in distressed neighborhoods; and
  • Helping local communities meet their development needs.

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[Logo: HUD seal] U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street S.W., Washington, DC 20410
Telephone: (202) 708-1112   TTY: (202) 708-1455
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