Housing industry leaders are hopeful for a swift confirmation of Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio as the next secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Rep. Marcia Fudge
Franmarie Metzler Rep. Marcia Fudge

The Biden-Harris transition team and Fudge confirmed that she is the pick to be the nation’s next top housing official.

“Congresswoman Fudge would bring a much-needed fresh approach to national housing policy,” said David M. Dworkin, president and CEO of the National Housing Conference. “She has been a strong supporter of the HOME program and played a leading role in getting Congress to approve desperately needed funds to stabilize the hardest-hit neighborhoods during the Great Recession.”

“Her background as mayor of an inner ring suburb of Cleveland, and as a leader on education policy, would be important as HUD plays an important role in reversing the catastrophic loss of Black homeowners over the past 10 years,” he said. “Congresswoman Fudge understands the need to make housing policy work for all communities, urban, suburban, and rural.”

National Multifamily Housing Council president Doug Bibby and National Apartment Association president and CEO Bob Pinnegar also cited “a long and valued relationship with Congresswoman Fudge, who has worked tirelessly to leverage public policy to improve opportunities for working families.”

“Given the immense challenges we face, we look forward to her swift confirmation and to continuing our work with her on policies that support the tens of millions of Americans who call an apartment home, that encourage the creation and rehabilitation of housing at all price points, and that lead to broader housing opportunities for all Americans,” they said in a joint statement.

If confirmed, Fudge would be the first woman in 40 years to lead department. She was first elected to represent Ohio’s 11th Congressional District in 2008 and is a former mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio. She’s recently been a co-sponsor of the H.R. 3077, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.

“Representative Fudge has been a champion of affordable housing, and her experience as a former mayor and in Congress will be critically important during this time when so many families are enduring economic stress during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Denise Muha, executive director of the National Leased Housing Association (NHLFA). “NLHA stands ready to provide advice on how to best preserve and create housing opportunities for low-income families.”

The association represents the interests of housing agencies, developers, owners, lenders, housing managers, and others providing federally assisted rental housing. NLHA’s member organizations are primarily involved in HUD’s Section 8 programs as well as the housing tax credit program.

Leaders at the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) also support the nomination.

"Congresswoman Fudge is a longtime champion of affordable housing, urban revitalization, and infrastructure investment,” said CLPHA executive director Sunia Zaterman. “She has demonstrated her leadership as a mayor, as a Member of Congress, and as the head of the Congressional Black Caucus. She understands that racial and economic inequities are deeply rooted, particularly in our housing systems, and that working across sectors is imperative. Her many years of work on economic justice issues such as food insecurity and education access can bring much-needed leadership to aligning systems and services to better meet the needs of low-income Americans. We look forward to working with Congresswoman Fudge in her role as HUD secretary to address the growing need for COVID emergency rental assistance and safe, affordable housing."

If confirmed, Fudge would take over HUD at a time when millions of Americans have lost their jobs and are struggling with housing during COVID-19 pandemic.

“At the top of her agenda must be ensuring that millions of renters stay housed this winter, are protected under an extended eviction moratorium, and receive much-needed emergency rental assistance,” said the National Low Income Housing Coalition in a statement. “Congresswoman Fudge will then have the opportunity to work with Congress to repair the shredded housing safety net that allowed for so many renters to be pushed out of their homes during the pandemic, by advancing and achieving President-elect Biden’s vision of housing justice, racial justice, and housing assistance for all in need. She must work to repair the significant harm done by the current administration—by reinstating and furthering fair housing regulations, reinforcing protections for LGBTQ+ people experiencing homelessness, protecting immigrant families in public housing, reinvigorating and reinforcing the purpose of HUD with a depleted and demoralized workforce, and advocating for the level of investments in HUD programs that match the scale of the need.”

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) was also quick to applaud Fudge’s selection.

“NFHA is extremely encouraged by President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s selection of Rep. Marcia L. Fudge to lead HUD,” said Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the organization. “An unflagging advocate for civil rights, Fudge brings decades of experience as a public servant and a strong commitment to ensuring equitable access to credit, education, healthy food, clean environments, and other resources, which go hand in hand with access to housing.”

The Trump administration has rolled back the Obama-era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rules, which provided a framework for localities to use to address systemic residential discrimination and segregation.

“We are further encouraged by the incoming administration’s indication that its day one priorities for HUD will include reinstating the 2015 AFFH and 2013 disparate impact rules,” Rice said.

Flynann Janisse, executive director of Rainbow Housing Assistance Corp., a nonprofit that provides service-enriched programs for residents of rental housing communities throughout the country, also said she is looking forward to working with Fudge.

"HUD is unique among federal agencies in its ability to impact millions of Americans through policy priorities that ensure access to quality, affordable housing,” Janisse said. “As a member of Congress, Marcia Fudge has proven herself an advocate for solutions-based approaches to many of the same societal challenges that Rainbow addresses. If confirmed as HUD secretary, she will have an incredible opportunity to work with the housing industry to improve the lives of millions of families. We are eager to do our part in working alongside her, and in collaboration with HUD."