Housing Secretary Fudge resigning; Biden hails her dedication to boosting supply of affordable homes

Ashraf Khalil/The Associated Press | 3/14/2024, 6 p.m.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge announced Monday that she would resign her post, effective March 22, saying she ...
Ms. Fudge

WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge announced

Monday that she would resign her post, effective March 22, saying she was leaving “with mixed emotions.”

A former mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, and later an Ohio representative in Congress, Ms. Fudge, 71, served as HUD secretary since the start of President Joe Biden’s administration.

“As a dedicated public servant for nearly five decades, I have been devoted to improving the quality of life for the people of this nation, focusing on those with the greatest need,” Ms.Fudge said in a statement. “Having worked at every level of government ... I have worked tirelessly to ensure that America lives up to its promise of liberty and justice for all.”

Ms. Fudge’s statement did not indicate a reason she was resigning now, saying only that she planned to “transition to life as a private citizen.”

The White House, in a statement, hailed Ms. Fudge’s dedication to increasing the supply of affordable housing and protect the housing needs of some of the country’s most vulnerable residents.

“From her time as a mayor, to her years as a fierce advocate in the U.S. House of Representatives, Marcia’s vision, passion, and focus on increasing economic opportunity have been assets to our country,” said President Biden. “I’m grateful for all of her contributions toward a housing system that works for all Americans, and I wish her well in her next chapter.”

Since taking over at HUD, Ms. Fudge has focused much of her efforts on addressing homelessness and making housing more affordable — problems that worsened during and after the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, HUD announced a series of measures aimed at reducing barriers to affordable housing, such as zoning restrictions that in some places have become a hurdle to increasing the supply of affordable housing.

Ms. Fudge has touted the fact that her agency extended rental assistance to 100,000 additional families. HUD also has built and repaired more than a half million units of affordable housing, issued more new rental assistance vouchers in the last three years than have been issued in same period over the past two decades and housed more than 1.2 million people experiencing homelessness.

White House principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton said President Biden “certainly will nominate a replacement” for Ms. Fudge, but she offered no timeline for the process.

For now, Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman will serve as acting HUD secretary when Ms. Fudge departs, the White House said.

Under Ms. Fudge, HUD “worked closely with partners at the federal, state and local levels to increase the housing supply, particularly the supply of affordable homes, while allocating historic resources to address homelessness,” Ms. Dalton said. “And with Secre-tary Fudge at the helm, HUD strictly enforced fair housing laws and took a stance against racial bias and discrimination in the appraisal market.”

David M. Dworkin, president of the National Housing Conference, said in a statement that Ms. Fudge’s tenure at HUD had “surpassed all expectations,” and he praised her for helping Americans navigate the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic while prioritizing affordable housing policies.

Mr. Dworkin called Ms. Fudge a steadfast advocate for equitable housing policies, saying she championed initiatives aimed at “alleviating homelessness, expanding access to affordable housing, and fostering sustainable communities.”

Ms. Fudge’s resignations follow that of another well-known Black politician, longtime South Carolina Democratic Rep. James Clyburn. Rep. Clyburn resigned in February as assistant House Democratic leader while simultaneously committing to run for re-election.

Rep. Clyburn, a staunch supporter of President Biden, said he aims to focus on conveying the message of inclusivity and unity that defines the greatness of the United States.

When stepping down, Rep. Clyburn, 83, expressed his continued disdain for former President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” mantra, asserting that the country is already great but needs to ensure accessibility and affordability for all citizens. He encouraged President Biden to emphasize his experience, wisdom, and commitment to maintaining connections with the American people during the upcoming presidential campaign.

“I am fond of saying, this is a great country in no need of being made great. We just got to figure out ways to make this country’s greatness accessible and affordable for all of our citizens. And Joe Biden is doing that. And we have got to stay focused on that,” Rep. Clyburn stated emphatically.