It's no secret that there's a shortage of affordable housing for individuals - across the nation as well as right here in the Northland.  And what to do about the problem is something that doesn't have an easy answer.

One thing that helps is the attention given to the issue by the federal government. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is charged with assisting local communities in a variety of ways, all with the aim of making affordable housing available for anyone who wants or needs it.

Each year, the City of Duluth receives almost $3 million in federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Those funds are allocated and put into use under the direction of the Community Development Committee, the Duluth City Council, and the Mayor.

There is also usually some form of community sampling to collect opinions, suggestions, and comment.

The concept of home ownership and 50 dollars
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This year, the City of Duluth has received an additional amount of federal money tied to the HUD funds.  Duluth will receive an additional $1.9 million in federal dollars from HUD.  That's over 50% more than usual.  These additional funds are part of the federal American Rescue Plan and they are an extra, one time only allocation.

To best allocate the combined $4.9 million in federal HUD funds, the City of Duluth is looking for input; this is where you can help.

The city has put together a 2023 Community Needs Assessment Survey to collect that data. There is a link to the survey on the cities website.

For it's part, the Department of Housing and Urban Development was created in 1965, established as a Cabinet Department.  It's mission is straight forward:

"The Department of Housing and Urban Development is the Federal agency responsible for national policy and programs that address America's housing needs, that improve and develop the Nation's communities, and enforce fair housing laws. HUD's business is helping create a decent home and suitable living environment for all Americans, and it has given America's communities a strong national voice at the Cabinet level. HUD plays a major role in supporting homeownership by underwriting homeownership for lower- and moderate-income families through its mortgage insurance programs."

Here are the major programs overseen by HUD:

  • Mortgage and loan insurance through the Federal Housing Administration
  • Community Development Block Grants to help communities with economic development, job opportunities, and housing rehabilitation
  • HOME Investment Partnership Block Grants to develop and support affordable housing for low income residents
  • Rental assistance in the form of Section 8 certificates or vouchers for low income households
  • Public or subsidized housing for low income individuals and families
  • Homeless assistance provided through local communities and faith-based and other nonprofit organizations
  • Fair housing public education and enforcement

You can learn more about the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the services and programs they administer on their website.

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