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What Would You Tell Michelle Obama About HUD?

By Ed O'Keefe

Ahead of Michelle Obama's appearance at the Department of Housing and Urban Development yesterday, The Eye asked some staffers what they would tell the first lady about HUD if given the chance. Watch the answers above.

And keep an Eye out for The Eye at the first lady's other upcoming visits, because he plans to ask the same question of the rank-and-file at her other stops.

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 5, 2009; 7:56 AM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments, Video Report, Workplace Issues  
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while i am a firm believer in taking care of the low income i do not believe that they should be given the same or more than people who have worked hard for the little that they have and are working hard to keep. i hope you will take a second and third look at the program that buys over a 100.000 dollar homes and changes the whole dynamic of neighborhoods in a very negative way putting the burden on people who are struggling themselves and creating at lot of animosity.

Posted by: christianfam | February 5, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I would say that if you're black and you have multiple children by multiple men, you're more likely than other deserving people to get HUD/Section 8/Low-Income Housing assistance.

Posted by: twbarr25 | February 5, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I can speak from my own experience. I have been trying to buy a house since last April/08, Prices are low and affordable for my budget. First, I have to fight with mortgage brokers. They will tell me, banks don't follow all the programs HUD offer. I am talking about a program, named Streamline 203K, which allows to borrow money for repairs up to $35,000. I will tell everyone, who wants to listen. I have tried hard to find one who do it.

First, mortgage brokers, then Appraisers which tell you "OH!, not this house won't qualify for an FHA loan". I have read what are the requirements, "house must be in sound conditions". What happen is that must houses needs some cosmetic repairs, some windows,carpets, etc. but the value is there. I am willing to live in one of them "AS IS", because it any of them is a Palace compare with my small very destroy trailer, I'm living paying lot rent. Any money I invest here is not worthy. Not one will give more than $2,000, and that's my best optimistic idea.
Then, Realtors prefers Investors because they buy several houses CASH.
Why to have an organization who guaranty loans to banks, so they can make profits and do what they want?
Last, but not least.
It's very stupid to think that giving money to banks will solve our problems. Money have to be used to cover unemployment.

Posted by: vh2007 | February 5, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I would tell her that HUD helps to destroy solidly middle class neighborhoods. They have different values and antisocial behaviors. The section 8s and other social welfare program recipients don't assimilate into the culture of the neighborhood, they bring their ghetto mentality to the new neighborhood. The streets of the community become filled with liter, everything that is valuable in the stores become locked up behind glass, there are more robberies, and property vandalism.
They don't participate in neighborhood events such as neighborhood clean up, caps,LSC and neighborhood watch. They only want to take from the community without putting anything in it. It may not actually be the recipitants themselves who cause all the problems, but their friends and family back in the 'hood who come to "kick it" with them cause problems as well. So when a community is getting these people they are also getting all the people are associated with them too and their associates usually aren't upstanding model citizens.

Posted by: futuredoc | February 5, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

vh2007 Said:
"It's very stupid to think that giving money to banks will solve our problems. Money have to be used to cover unemployment. "

When times are good, businesses create jobs. When times are bad for a business, they will lay people off. If a business cannot get a loan from banks to keep operating, the business will fail and all get laid off.

Money covering unemployment does not address the root cause of banks not lending so giving money to banks to lend to businesses is the only way to keep more people from being laid off and creating jobs for those that are laid-off.

Posted by: ahashburn | February 5, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree with twbarr HUD is not for anyone but low income single black mothers and seniors with sprinkles of Hispanics here and there. There needs to be term restrictions, there are so many people who need housing but can't get it because people use the program for generations. They pass it down from generation to generation like a family heirloom. They have to be kicked out.

HUD needs to provide assimilation training before they release them into the communities.

Posted by: futuredoc | February 5, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

HUD housing is for anyone that qualifies! U guys are assuming public or section 8 housing is just occupied by black or Hispanics. But, who do u think is living in those homes in white areas?? Whites, u are just going by white the media has presented to u. I'm sure some of the whites in the trailer parks are using section 8 certificates.

Posted by: bobby20 | February 5, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Forget something...
I have dealt with three mortgage brokers who gave me a prequalification letter and when I found a property in the time that the letter was still approved, they didn't want to answer my emails or phone calls.
I have sent letters to HUD asking for a change in politics. It makes no sense, to give so much power to financial institutions. Maybe, some day, someone will change mentality to all these bureaucrats. Until then, we poor's of the world, will be in trouble

Posted by: vh2007 | February 5, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

HUD is not just for poor blacks and hispanics. If you saw all of the person's on section 8 you would know that most section 8 individuals are white. HUD does have a part but, under Republican administrations it is usually gutted and used for the wrong purposes. So if used properly HUD could be the one agency that would have the capability to get the economy jump started from the housing end. So when you look at Section 8 programs just remember that their are more white persons on section than blacks, hispanics, and asians combined.

Posted by: michael1963 | February 5, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

All Sec 8 people are not Black. All the Black who are on sec 8 are not low class, anti social, criminals.
Sec 8 can't passed down from generation to generation like an inheritance.

If HUD really is to be effective it should be used to help more low income people become homeowners in urban areas.

Urban areas are jacked up because the people who live there don't anything there.
All the owners of the homes and the stores live somewhere else.

The people living there have no incentive to keep it up because they don't own it.
The owner don't live there. They'll do just enough to keep the property in standard condition, so they keep getting subsidized.

Being a lifelong Sec 8 tenant will only help the property owner get rich.
The tenants are not getting wealthy by being on Sec 8.

HUD needs to help responsible working class people become homeowners.

Posted by: solidonious | February 5, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion the Voucher Program is not working. While cities are tearing down the projects and replacing them with upscale condos that the forman people that use to live on that site, now cannot afford to do so. That is when the Vouchers come into play. Most of the tenants have lived in projects all their lives, no nothing about keeping up a house, never had to cut grass, never had to pick up trash. these people, it sad to say are bring down establish neighborhoods where most of the residents are either retired or still holding down full time jobs, with their project mentiality. The once quite communities are now a constant noice, partying, and yes more police are now called to the areas. The children are constantly hollering, crying running in other people yards, and stealing.That saying "you can take the person out of the getto, but you can't take the getto out of the person". It is sad when you have worked hard for your homes, aquired a few nice things in life, and then, BAM!! The value of your home is going down because of what? because the new people care less about what they have. You can't keep placing these people in establish communities. This is really hurting a portion of middle class hard working people who only want to have the American dream like everyone else. But it is not happening now, because someone thought up this bright idea intregrating these people in neighborhoods and they would do fine. IT IS NOT WORKING!

Posted by: Chrisjj1948 | February 5, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I would have asked LAWYER Mrs O that in the Supreme law of the land the Constitution WHERE O WHERE is the Federal Government to be ALLOWED to be INVOLVED AT ALL in providing for/helping/financing Americans residences....

The utterly Soviet socialist premise and actions of government housing is as disengenous and dangerous as our First Lady "educating" our youth on governments role in providing for others based on stealing from others(redistribution).

The nationalizing of the banks and the collapse of the dollar/economy will result in the Govt owning everything and everybody.

Thanks for the socialist "help"

a former condo owner whose neighbors and units gradually became Sec 8 and my equity vanished and got nothing....

Posted by: ChrisBieber | February 6, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

The comments posted to this article are very mean and hateful. I understand everyone has an opinion about this white house, but people "it's not that serious" to be so mean spirited. As an employee of the Federal government, I would have considered it an honor to have the first lady come to my Agency to thank us the workforce for the work that we do and even with time being extremely hard financially for so many, I view her appearance as one of great sincereity. I don't understand the venom of folks. And if some of these comments are made from employees from HUD, shame on you! and it speak badly to the management of that workforce to have employee voice this can kind of contempt for the new administration. Washington, is Washington, like it or not, Obama is here and I think he is the change this country needs. Give him, his wife and the administration time to change and repair some of the damage created by the last administration. We would not be in this boat right now, if not for Bush 43 and Cheney. You talk about real evil. You think they care about what is happening to the folks today, they are resting comfortably and very well off financially. They don't have to worry about their house being foreclosed on, no food on their table, no lights, car repossessed, children on the street and hold family in shelters. Some of you really do need think and thank your higher power of faith, that you may have those things. "If you don't have nothing good to say about someone, they don't say nothing at all."

Posted by: MDPK5545 | February 6, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I would tell Michelle Obama that it's never too late for an apology and by that I mean..."For the first time in her life she's proud of her country". Her (Fruedian) slip will stick in my heart & my mind forever.I don't think that Joy & Whoppi and Barbara got it smoothed over on their talk-show. There's a double standard on what should be said sans criticism for the whites & the blacks. Who does she think she is? So far, she's not earned my respect or admiration.

Posted by: Stilllearninafteralltheseyears | February 6, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

One more thought: Michelle dear, this is not Bedford Falls and Barack/Barry is not Jimmy Stewart.

For what it's worth, there were and are many. many things to be proud about these United States of America .... even before Barry got the Democratic nomination. How about you trying to come up with an idea/approach that would make every color, creed, nationality, & political group 'proud'.

Try to keep in mind that there are too many people wanting to ride in the wagon and not enough wanting to help pull it.

Posted by: Stilllearninafteralltheseyears | February 6, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I am disgusted and disappointed by most of these postings. First, I am a white, 67-year old, very middle class woman who has lived in homes I owned in several urban neighborhoods for 40 years. Section 8 renters have been my neighbors. Perhaps some folks only notice the ones who are conspicuous by their bad behaviors, then stereotype the whole group as the same! I've had irresponsible and noxious homeowning neighbors and lovely renting (including Sec. 8) neighbors, as well as the obverse -- and each variety can come in any skin color or from any national origin.

What I'd like our dynamite First Lady to know is that, since affordable and decent housing for all is a priority if we want stronger families, she should encourage the President to name an amazing high-profile administrator as the new Secretary of HUD. For decades HUD has been a "third-tier" Cabinet post of little import. By neglect we have reaped a HUD whose books even GAO can't decipher, whose wasteful spending and inefficiency rival FEMA's, and whose programs are red-tape nightmares (see comments above). Let's give this department new high expectations, spotlighted attention, and a good kick in the pants!

Posted by: emmacate | February 7, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

The Omaha, NE Section 8 Housing Voucher Choice Program through the Omaha Housing Authority (OHA) does not assure one has a livable employment wage nor give transitionary periods when exorbitantly increasing one's rental obligation (example: $o to $422.00) when one reports making minimim or near minimum wages. Even though, there are 4 or 5 restrictive and outdated deductions allowed, there is no consideration for Economic Hardship Exemptions (short term & long term), which is criteria cited in their own OHA policies. A few years ago, Omaha was considered the 3rd largest poverty-stricken city nationwide. I am sure this ranking has not changed, since regulatory terms have not changed. Would very much like to see the Office of Management & Budget look not only into Omaha's housing programs, but in all of the severely poverty-stricken cities nationwide, to update the federal Housing and Urban Development (H.U.D.) and local OHA regulations to assist low-income persons in affordable housing. These regulations need to be brought up to modern situations to keep people from becoming destitute; but, to help encourage them to be productive, responsible and self-sufficient citizens.

Posted by: lblack2 | February 8, 2009 3:51 AM | Report abuse

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