The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the federal agency that develops and enforces policies and regulations relating to housing. They support state and local governments through grants and pilot projects. HUD also provides affordable financing and tax incentives to developers of affordable housing.
The mission of HUD is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination. HUD is organized into ten regions across the country. Louisiana is part of Region VI together with Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. In Louisiana, the two field offices are located in New Orleans and Shreveport.
HUD’s mission is achieved through its mortgage, grant, assistance and regulatory programs that address different development issues. Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) help entitled metropolitan cities and urban counties meet their housing and community development needs. This is achieved through the provision of grants and funding to eligible urban centers and counties/parishes to carry on community development activities, such as housing rehabilitation, economic development, and large-scale physical development projects. CDBGs also provide flexible grants to help cities, counties, and states recover from presidentially-declared disasters, especially in low- and moderate-income areas.
HUD also assists governments and individuals in the process of revitalization and redevelopment. For instance, the Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) is a competitive grant program designed to assist cities with the redevelopment of abandoned and underused industrial and commercial facilities where expansion and redevelopment is burdened by real or potential environmental contamination. Empowerment Zones provide tax incentives to locate businesses and hire residents in economically disadvantaged areas. The Mortgage and Major Home Improvement Loan Insurance for Urban Renewal Areas provides insured loans to help finance mortgages for housing in areas with a concentration of revitalization activities or home improvements.
Several of HUD’s programs assist communities and individuals who are victims of major disasters. The Emergency Grants Program provides grants to States, metropolitan cities, urban counties and U.S. territories for eligible activities, which generally include essential services related to emergency shelter, rehabilitation and conversion of buildings to be used as emergency shelters, emergency operations, or homeless prevention services. The Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims Program helps victims in presidentially designated disaster areas recover by making it easier for them to obtain mortgage loans and become homeowners or reestablish themselves as homeowners.
Furthermore, HUD’s Office of Sustainable Communities, through the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants and Community Challenge Planning Grants, provides grants to improve regional and local planning efforts that integrate housing and transportation decisions and that increase the capacity to improve land use and zoning. The goal is to support market investments that then encourage more sustainable communities.