New HUD mission statement removes the words, “free from discrimination”: report

The memo follows a different controversy involving Secretary Ben Carson

Secretary Cason visits HUD DC Field Office (Credit: Flickr/U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development)
Secretary Cason visits HUD DC Field Office (Credit: Flickr/U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development)

The updated mission statement for the Department of Housing and Urban Development appears to remove language that promises the federal agency will provide housing “free from discrimination.”

A March 5 internal department memo stated the agency’s mission statement was being updated “in an effort to align HUD’s mission with [Secretary Ben Carson’s] priorities and that of the [Trump] Administration.” The Huffington Post first reported the story.

Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Amy Thompson circulated the memo in house and asked for comments and suggestions from staff, indicating the language may not be final. The new version is considerably shorter than the existing mission statement, and now reads:

“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.”

That compares to the existing mission statement, which reads:

“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.”

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HUD spokesman Raffi Williams said the department was tweaking the statement to make it “a more clear and concise expression” of the historic work the agency performs, and pushed back on the idea that HUD was abandoning any “discrimination-free” policies.

“HUD has been, is now, and will always be committed to ensuring inclusive housing, free from discrimination for all Americans,” Williams said.

This comes shortly after another controversy that involved Carson. In that case, it was revealed that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered for his office with taxpayer money, amid a dramatic budget cut set for HUD. The dining set order was promptly canceled shortly after the story made headlines.

In May, Carson made headlines when he cautioned against making public housing “too comfortable” for renters, because it would encourage them to stay there. [Huffington Post] — Dennis Lynch