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What is HUD?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated Jan 30, 2024
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HUD is an acronym standing for Housing and Urban Development, a cabinet of the United States federal government. It has existed since 1965 and is charged with ensuring smooth policy for housing and city development. Since the mid-1970s, its focus has shifted primarily to housing, leaving urban planning more in the hands of individual cities.

One of the main functions of HUD, and certainly that with which most people interact, is its role as a lending facilitator. This agency helps people of low- and mid-level incomes acquire loans to purchase housing. HUD itself is not a lending institution, but it approves lenders and supports them materially.

HUD also offers extensive counseling services for potential homeowners. There is a network of organizations that work through the agency to address a wide range of key educational issues relating to home ownership. HUD funds many special programs through individual grants, all with the aim of assisting Americans who wish to buy a house. In addition to counsel relating to first-time purchases, the agency also supports organizations that offer advice on foreclosure, defaults, renting and many credit issues.

Virtually all real estate agents in the United States participate in HUD programs and are able to give advice to clients wishing to receive HUD assistance. All bids that receive this assistance must come through a participating real-estate agent and cannot be handled directly by the buyer.

HUD's areas of assistance are not confined to those listed above; virtually anything relating to home-ownership or rental falls within the jurisdiction of the agency. This includes safety issues, housing discrimination, senior housing, home repair and homeowner's insurance. HUD also handles a number of initiatives designed as incentive programs for other sectors of society, not just low-income families. The Officer Next Door program, for example, offers HUD-owned homes to police officers at 50% of their market value.

The agency is also loosely connected to the the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), both of which deal with mortgages in the United States. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) falls more closely under HUD, helping to guarantee mortgages to low-income homeowners.

In 2010, the HUD's budget was just over $46 billion US Dollars, helping to fund discount incentives, educational programs, bail-outs and buyer credits, all with the aim of assisting all Americans in becoming homeowners.

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Discussion Comments
By anon285042 — On Aug 13, 2012

What is HUD's relationship with mortgage foreclosure mediation programs operating all across the US?

By anon284129 — On Aug 08, 2012

People on welfare are complaining about taxes? Really?

By anon195843 — On Jul 12, 2011

People on welfare pay taxes too. Even doctors are losing their jobs due to the economy and are unable to afford their houses. I'm under hud housing and for all of you complaining about the taxes you pay, just wait until you have to be on welfare.

By anon170512 — On Apr 26, 2011

Yes and a lot of people do get welfare and live with a boyfriend and get away with it. I'd like to know how this keeps going on with the budget cuts like they are. The tax payers are the ones buying this, along with the single parents getting a big check every month and free schooling, and the more babies, the more money. Wake up America.

By anon135474 — On Dec 19, 2010

This article does not discuss Section 8 Rental Assistance.

By anon113294 — On Sep 23, 2010

Why does HUD help a family when they don't even stay there. And if they do stay there which is rare, the husband stays there and is not supposed to be there. I am sure there is a family who could really use the house, instead of this family abusing the system.

By anon100179 — On Jul 28, 2010

[anon64066] can you explain when you say "when it works properly?" More specifically towards examples when it doesn't?

By anon65916 — On Feb 16, 2010

HUD is just an assistance program, they still have to pay for things. No job or income isn't going to just get a house. It's basically the states way of cleaning up low income housing areas. It's actually a decent system when working properly.

By anon64066 — On Feb 05, 2010

Numbers 1 and 2: for your answer or a better understanding, read the article again.

By anon41104 — On Aug 12, 2009

Yes, I would like to know how a man who doesn't work hasn't had a job in 5 years depends on the state for welfare can get a hud home? How is he going to pay for it? He doesn't work!

By anon1777 — On Jun 15, 2007

Who pays HUD? Is it the homebuyer, the seller, or tax dollars?

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