Department of Housing and Urban Development

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the United States

Introduction to Department of Housing and Urban Development

Department of Housing and Urban Development, executive department of the United States government, responsible for programs concerned with housing needs and with the improvement and development of urban areas. It was created by Congress in 1965. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is administered by a secretary who is appointed by the president with the approval of the Senate and who is a member of the cabinet.

HUD carries out research programs in areas such as public housing improvements, housing finance issues, and proposed tax changes. It provides for antidiscrimination in housing activities and aid to neighborhood rehabilitation. It absorbed the programs of public housing, urban renewal, urban planning assistance, and public facilities of the old Housing and Home Finance Agency, as well as the mortgage insurance programs of the now-defunct Federal Housing Administration. In addition it assumed responsibility for the new programs launched under the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, which includes a rent-supplements program to encourage private enterprise to construct desirable housing for low-income families. Loans, grants, and technical assistance are channeled through state and local governments, community organizations, and private and nonprofit sponsors.

At present the functions of HUD may be grouped into six major categories. Housing programs include facilitating the production of new and rehabilitated housing; conserving and preserving existing homes; insuring mortgages for single-family and multifamily housing and loans for home improvement and the purchase of manufactured (mobile) homes; providing housing subsidies for low- and moderate-income families; and making direct loans to construct or rehabilitate housing projects for the elderly and the disabled.

Community Development Block Grants provide monetary grants to carry out a wide range of community development activities. This program consolidates a number of earlier programs, such as Model Cities, urban renewal, and sewage treatment. Supplemental Assistance for Facilities to Assist the Homeless and other programs were established to house the indigent.

Public and Native American housing programs are involved with the financing, production, and maintenance of low-income public housing and with providing housing that meets the requirements of Native American and native Alaskan communities. Fair housing and equal opportunity programs oversee policies affecting civil rights in housing and community development.

The Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA), called Ginnie Mae, is a government corporation charged with increasing the money available for mortgage loans. GNMA does this by providing the means to channel funds from the securities and other financial markets into the mortgage market.” (1)

In other words, it is the federal agency responsible for national policies and programs that address America’s housing needs, that improve and develop the nation’s communities, and that enforce fair housing laws. The Department plays a major role in supporting homeownership for lower- and moderate-income families through its mortgage insurance and rent subsidy programs.

Offices within HUD include the Federal Housing Administration, which provides mortgage and loan insurance; the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, which ensures all Americans equal access to the housing of their choice; and the Community Development Block Grant Program, which helps communities with economic development, job opportunities, and housing rehabilitation. HUD also administers public housing and homeless assistance.

The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development oversees approximately 9,000 employees on a budget of approximately $40 billion.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the International Business Landscape

Definition of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (hud) in the context of U.S. international business and public trade policy: Main federal agency responsible for programs concerned with housing needs and improving and developing the nation’s communities.

Legal Materials

HUD was created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 with the lofty mission to provide “a decent, safe, and sanitary home and suitable living environment for every American.” The HUD Web site provides extensive information about the organization, its programs and its publications ( Th eHUDCLIPS Database posts:

  • Primary Federal legal materials, including HUD-related selections from the Federal Register, U.S. Code, Code of Federal Regulations and the Congressional Record;
  • HUD’s own Legal Opinions, Housing Waivers, and Office of General Counsel Documents; and
  • HUD Publications, notably HUD Handbooks, Notices and Letters.

The HUD Handbook: Don’t get thrown if someone asks you for “The HUD Handbook.” HUD publishes dozens of handbooks, all of which seem to be posted on the Web site.

Decisions: HUD Board of Contract Appeals decisions are available on Westlaw (FGC-HUDBCA), as are Fair Housing Administrative Decisions (FAIRHOUS). HUD debarment decisions are available on Lexis (PUBCON;HUDBAR) back to 1983. HUD informal opinions on RESPA are available in Appendix 2B1 of Federal Regulation of Real Estate and Mortgage Lending by Paul Barron (West Group).


The Department of Housing and Urban Development is the principal Federal agency
responsible for programs concerning the Nation’s housing needs, fair housing
opportunities, and improvement and development of the Nation’s communities.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was established in 1965 by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act (42 U.S.C. 3532–3537). It was created to:

  • administer the principal programs which provide assistance for housing and for the development of the Nation’s communities;
  • to encourage the solution of housing and community development problems through States and localities; and
  • to encourage the maximum contributions that may be made by vigorous private homebuilding and mortgage lending industries to housing, community development, and the national economy.

Although HUD administers many programs, its six major functions are:

  • insuring mortgages for single-family and multifamily dwellings and extending loans for home improvement and for the purchasing of mobile homes;
  • channeling funds from investors to the mortgage industry through the Government National Mortgage Association;
  • making direct loans for construction or rehabilitation of housing projects for the elderly and the handicapped;
  • providing Federal housing subsidies for low- and moderate-income families;
  • providing grants to States and communities for community development activities; and
  • for promoting and enforcing fair housing and equal housing opportunity.


The Secretary:

  • formulates recommendations for basic policies in the ?elds of housing and community development;
  • encourages private enterprise participation in housing and community development;
  • promotes the growth of cities and States and the ef?cient and effective use of housing and community and economic development resources by stimulating private sector initiatives, public and private sector partnerships, and public entrepreneurship;
  • ensures equal access to housing and af?rmatively prevents discrimination in housing; and
  • provides general oversight for the Federal National Mortgage Association.

Program Areas

Community Planning and Development

The Office administers grant programs to help communities plan and finance
their growth and development, increase their capacity to govern, and to provide shelter and services for homeless people. The Office is responsible for:

  • the implemention of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs for entitlement communities;
  • the State- and HUD-administered Small Cities Program; community development loan guarantees;
  • special purpose grants for insular areas and historically black colleges and universities;
  • Appalachian Regional Commission grants;
  • the Home Investment in Affordable Housing Program, which provides Federal assistance for housing rehabilitation, tenant-based assistance, first-time homebuyers, and new construction for when a jurisdiction is determined to need new rental housing;
  • the Department’s programs to address homelessness;
  • the John Heinz Neighborhood Development Program;
  • community outreach partnerships;
  • the joint community development plan to assists institutions of higher education working in concert with State and local governments to undertake activities under the CDBG
  • community adjustment and economic diversification planning grants;
  • the YouthBuild Program, which provides opportunities and assistance to very low
    income high school dropouts, ages 16 to 24;
  • empowerment zones and enterprise communities;
  • efforts to improve the environment; and
  • community planning and development efforts of other departments and agencies, public and private organizations, private industry, financial markets, and international organizations.

Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

The Office administers:

  • the fair housing laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination in public and private housing;
  • the equal opportunity laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination in HUD-assisted housing and community development programs;
  • the fair housing assistance grants program to provide financial and technical assistance to State and local government agencies to implement local fair housing laws and ordinances; and
  • the Community Housing Resources Boards program to provide grants for fair housing activities such as outreach and education, identification of institutional barriers to fair housing, and complaint telephone hotlines.

Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight

The Office oversees the financial safety and soundness of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) to ensure that they are adequately capitalized and
operating safely.

Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA)

The mission of this Government corporation, also known as Ginnie Mae, is to support
expanded affordable housing by providing an efficient Government guaranteed
secondary market vehicle to link the capital markets with Federal
housing markets. Ginnie Mae guarantees mortgage-backed securities composed of
FHA-insured or VA-guaranteed mortgage loans that are issued by private lenders
and guaranteed by GNMA with the full faith and credit of the United States.

Through these programs, Ginnie Mae increases the overall supply of credit
available for housing by providing a vehicle for channeling funds from the
securities market into the mortgage market.


The Office of Housing is responsible for the Department’s housing functions and oversees aid for construction and financing of new and rehabilitated housing and for preservation of existing housing. The Office of Housing:

  • underwrites single-family, multifamily, property improvement, and manufactured home loans;
  • administers special purpose programs designed specifically for the elderly, the handicapped, and the chronically mentally ill;
  • administers assisted housing programs for low-income families who are experiencing difficulties affording standard housing;
  • administers grants to fund resident ownership of multifamily house properties; and
  • protects consumers against fraudulent practices of land developers and promoters.

Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control

This Office is responsible for lead hazard control policy development, abatement, training, regulations, and research. Activities of the Office include:

  • increasing public and building- industry awareness of the dangers of lead-based
    paint poisoning and the options for detection, risk reduction, and abatement;
  • encouraging the development of safer, more effective, and less costly methods
    for detection, risk reduction, and abatement; and
  • encouraging State and local governments to develop lead-based paint programs covering contractor certification, hazard reduction, financing, enforcement, and primary prevention,
    including public education.

Public and Indian Housing

The Office:

  • administers public and Indian housing programs;
  • provides technical and financial assistance in planning, developing, and managing low-income projects;
  • provides operating subsidies for public housing agencies (PHAs) and Indian housing authorities (IHAs), including procedures for reviewing the management of public housing agencies;
  • administers the comprehensive improvement assistance and comprehensive grant programs for modernization of low-income housing projects to upgrade living conditions,
    correct physical deficiencies, and achieve operating eficiency and economy;
  • administers programs for resident participation, resident management,
    home ownership, economic development and supportive services, and drug-free
    neighborhood programs;
  • protects tenants from the hazards of lead-based paint poisoning by requiring PHAs and IHAs to comply with HUD regulations for the testing and removal of lead-based paint from low-income housing units;
  • implements and monitors program requirements related to program eligibility and admission of families to public and assisted housing, and tenant income and rent requirements pertaining to continued occupancy;
  • administers the HOPE VI and vacancy reduction programs;
  • administers voucher and certificate programs and the Moderate Rehabilitation Program;
  • coordinates all departmental housing and community development programs for Indian and Alaskan Natives; and
  • awards grants to PHAs and IHAs for the construction, acquisition, and operation of public and Indian housing projects, giving priority to projects for larger families and acquisition of existing units.


See Also

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation
Federal National Mortgage Association
Real Estate

Notes and References

Guide to Department of Housing and Urban Development

In this Section

Federal Departments, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense (including Department of Defense Purpose, Department of Defense Organization, Department of Defense Liaison of Command and Department of Defense Supporting Agencies), Department of Education, Department of Energy

(including Department of Energy Purpose, Department of Energy Organization and Department of Energy Research and Development), Department of Health and Human Services (including Department of Health and Human Services History and Department of Health and Human Services Agencies and Services), Department of Homeland Security (including Department of Homeland Security Organization and Functions, Department of Homeland Security Origins and Department of Homeland Security Supporting Agencies), Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice (including Department of Justice Functions, Department of Justice Structure and Department of Justice Associated Agencies), Department of Labor, Department of National Defence, Department of State (including Department of State Administration and Department of State Bureaus), Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army, Department of the Interior (including Department of the Interior Functions and Department of the Interior Principal Agencies), Department of the Navy, Department of the Treasury, Department of Transportation, Department of Veterans Affairs (including the Department of Veterans Affairs Service Categories, Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits Available and GI Bill of Rights) and Department of War.

Department of Housing and Urban Development: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Department of Housing and Urban Development. This part provides references, in relation to Department of Housing and Urban Development, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Department of Housing and Urban Development by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Department of Housing and Urban Development and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Department of Housing and Urban Development or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Department of Housing and Urban Development and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Department of Housing and Urban Development. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Department of Housing and Urban Development should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Department of Housing and Urban Development when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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