Deborah Barfield Berry and Romina Ruiz-Goiriena profile Marcia Fudge, who was recently approved by Congress to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). With the nation “facing the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression,” HUD, and Fudge, face intense pressure to implement policies and programs that will stabilize the housing market, address historical inequities, and expand opportunities for affordable housing.
Raised by a labor organizer mom, Fudge grew up steeped in a tradition of civic responsibility and hard work. “She was the first woman and first Black person elected mayor” of Warrensville Heights, a predominantly Black town near Cleveland. After gaining a seat in the House of Representatives in 2008, Fudge was elected chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus and has “served on the Agriculture, Education and Labor and the House Administration committees, where she championed expanding access to food nutrition, addressing education disparities and protecting voting rights.” As the representative of a district where one in four constituents live in poverty, Fudge knows the importance of programs that support working families and school-aged children. “Last year, Fudge pushed to include a measure in a COVID-19 relief bill that allows students eligible for free or reduced lunch to have meals through SNAP while attending school online.”
Despite some concern about her lack of experience in housing policy, Fudge was confirmed by the Senate in a 66-34 vote. Supporters like Peter Lawson Jones, a former high school classmate and longtime Ohio politician, have full confidence that “constituents of HUD will find that they have a champion that’s on their side.”