HUD faces many challenges when it comes to energy policy. For an overview, see Implementing HUD's Energy Strategy, a report to Congress dated December 2008, that includes a summary of progress toward implementing planned actions .
First, utility bills burden the poor and can cause homelessness. There is a Home Energy Affordability Gap Index based on energy bills for persons below 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The gap was $34.1 billion at 2007/2008 winter heating fuel prices . The burden on the poor is more than four times the average 4 percent others pay.Twenty-six percent of evictions were due to utility cut-offs in St. Paul, MN.
Second, HUD programs are affected by energy costs. HUD's own "energy bill" - the amount that HUD spends annually on heating, lighting, and cooling its portfolio of public and assisted housing and section 8 vouchers - reached the $5 billion mark in 2007 . Public Housing utilities cost more than $1 billion per year.
Third, energy costs affect economic development. Importing fuel drains millions of dollars from local economies .
 - See Fisher, Sheehan and Colton, On the Brink 2008; The Home Energy Affordability Gap