The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a U.S. government agency created in 1965 to support community development and home ownership. HUD does this by improving affordable home ownership opportunities, increasing safe and affordable rental options, reducing chronic homelessness, fighting housing discrimination by ensuring equal opportunity in the rental and purchase markets, and supporting vulnerable populations.
HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act and oversees the Community Development Block Grant, the Housing Choice Voucher program and other programs to assist low-income and disadvantaged Americans with their housing needs. Following Hurricane Katrina, HUD became involved in disaster recovery in the Gulf Coast region. HUD works with other government agencies and private organizations, including community nonprofits and faith-based groups, to reach its goals.
The Community Development Block Grant program allocates federal grant money to communities to develop neighborhoods that have decent, affordable housing. These grants typically aid low- and middle-income residents so they can find suitable living environments near employers, supermarkets or public transportation. States, cities, towns, communities and organizations apply for these block grants or for loan guarantees to aid in development projects.
The Housing Choice Voucher program, colloquially called Section 8, allows very low-income, disabled or elderly citizens to choose a place to live regardless of whether the property exists as subsidized housing. The property must meet certain requirements, and applicants need to meet government standards to qualify.