HUD Secretary Castro and NLC Leaders Mark HUD's 50th Anniversary
Last Monday, NLC President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City and NLC Public Safety Committee Chair Karen Freeman Wilson, mayor, Gary, Ind., were featured panelists, along with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, for an event hosted by the Urban Institute to mark HUD's 50th anniversary. The discussion was an opportunity for panelists to reflect on the history of HUD and its impact on cities; to discuss the current state of opportunity in American cities; and to look ahead to the challenges urban communities will face in the next 50 years.
Among the many programs discussed, Mayors Becker and Freeman Wilson were able to highlight the positive impact of the Community Development Block Grant program in their communities. Mayor Becker also discussed his concern over a widening opportunity gap for cites across the nation, saying, "We need to figure out in which neighborhoods, and with what programs, we can make the most difference." Mayor Freeman Wilson touted her city's strong partnerships with HUD, saying, "HUD programs like Strong Cities/Strong Communities let Gary plan for future, and not just focus on daily crises."
As the former mayor of San Antonio, one of fastest-growing cities in America, Secretary Castro noted that "America is falling in love again with cities." Secretary Castro also reaffirmed his commitment to HUD's legacy as an agency committed to equal access to affordable, quality housing, stating, "Our nation is at best when everyone has a seat at the table."