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The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the primary federal agency responsible for promoting affordable housing among lower and middle income families as well as enforcing fair housing standards. Most federal programs for housing and community development are under the management of or coordinate with HUD.

HUD has a variety of goals such as reducing homelessness that it implements through multiple programs. The Department implements housing loan insurance programs of the Federal Housing Administration, increasing access to housing loans for low-income individuals from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Through the Office of Community Planning and Development, the Department gives grants for specific housing needs of communities such as to create affordable housing for elderly populations. The Department also targets specific populations that need housing assistance with grants and loan assistance through programs like the Office of Public and Indian Housing

The main programs administered by the HUD are:

  • The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8).
  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).
  • HOME Investment Partnership.
  • Mortgage and loan insurance programs through the Federal Housing Administration.

These are just a few of the many programs overseen by the Department.

Perhaps the most famous and litigated aspect of the Department is the enforcement of the Fair Housing Act and other fair housing laws by the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. Since the Department receives the complaints under these laws, the Department makes many decisions determining the application of the fair housing laws such as what counts as discriminatory practices. This leads HUD to be the subject of much contention in court and writings on equal housing. 

[Last updated in February of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]