National CAPACD Urges HUD Secretary Carson to Support Our Communities & Neighborhoods

Today, the Senate confirmed Dr. Ben Carson as the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  HUD is responsible for promoting fair housing and creating affordable and inclusive communities, and the actions of this department have immense consequences for communities of color.  National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) has previously expressed concerns about Secretary Carson's limited experience in these areas. We urge him to support HUD to immediately address the critical housing challenges faced by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and other communities of color.

The recent financial crisis and foreclosures that followed disproportionately affected communities of color.  AAPIs experienced some of the steepest declines in wealth during the housing market collapse and financial crisis.  Racial and ethnic discrimination against homebuyers and renters continues to be a problem across the United States.  Additionally, immigrant and limited-English-proficient (LEP) communities do not have access to adequate fair housing information in their native languages and are therefore most vulnerable to discriminatory housing practices.  For this reason, National CAPACD launched the Housing Counseling Program in 2009 to provide culturally appropriate homeownership education programs for diverse AAPI communities.  Data shows that HUD-approved housing counseling programs help families build wealth, increase credit scores, and improve overall financial health.  

More than any other racial or ethnic group, low-income AAPIs are concentrated in the most expensive and fastest rising housing markets across the country.  Low-income AAPIs, especially tenants, are increasingly squeezed by rising housing costs and our neighborhoods are threatened by increasing gentrification and displacement.  For several decades, National CAPACD member organizations have received HUD support to develop thousands of units of affordable housing, as well as spur economic growth in low and moderate-income neighborhoods.  But now, more than ever, HUD support is needed to preserve affordability in our neighborhoods. National CAPACD hopes that Secretary Carson will continue to support vital housing and economic development programs and urges Secretary Carson to ensure that the department receives sufficient funding to fulfill its mission.

National CAPACD also hopes that Secretary Carson will support the robust enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.  We are concerned about Secretary Carson's current stance on HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule and hope to work with him to convey the significance of this rule for our communities.  The AFFH rule requires HUD grantees to take proactive measures to overcome the legacy of residential segregation and is an important step towards developing more inclusive, diverse, and vibrant neighborhoods.  With the growing poverty and loss of wealth in AAPI communities, we need this rule to be implemented so that we may address housing disparities that disproportionately affect communities of color and ensure all families have the opportunities and resources they need for upward social and economic mobility.  Because our nation has made such great strides in breaking down barriers to fair housing, we hope that we do not take a step backwards.  National CAPACD is prepared to hold Secretary Carson accountable to address these ongoing issues that affect our communities in America.