HUD Represented the United States at the G7 Sustainable Urban Ministers’ Meeting
July 10, 2023 / Source: HUD
Secretary Fudge and Deputy Assistant Secretary Dr. Johnson addressed pressing global topics like carbon neutral, inclusive cities and digitization.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge traveled to Takamatsu, Japan to attend the G7 Sustainable Urban Ministers’ Meeting on July 8th and 9th. Leading the U.S. Delegation, the Secretary met with global leaders in housing, infrastructure, and city planning. The meetings focused on best practices for creating sustainable urban communities.
On Saturday, July 8th, the G7 Sustainable Urban Ministers’ Meeting commenced with an opening session, followed by dedicated sessions focusing on carbon-neutral cities, inclusivity, and digitalization. Both Secretary Fudge and HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research, Evaluation and Monitoring Dr. Calvin Johnson addressed the group.
- During the Carbon Neutral and Resilient Cities session, HUD shared information about the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program, The Biden-Harris administration’s commitment towards decarbonization, and HUD’s commitment to ensuring that housing is incorporated into infrastructure policies and priorities as a step towards a low-carbon future.
- During the Inclusive Cities session, HUD shared details on the Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Program and the many ways HUD works at both the state and local level to provide equal opportunity to Americans to afford and access homes.
- During the Digitization session, HUD shared the way we have made programs and funding more accessible to Americans through digitization, in addition to the Affordable Connectivity Program and HUD’s ConnectHomeUSA program.
The remarks, as prepared, for each session are available below:
Session One: Carbon Neutral and Resilient Cities
July 8, 2023
Distinguished Ministers, leaders, and delegates, as the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, it is my honor to participate in the G7 Ministerial Meeting on Urban Development.
My thanks to the city of Takamatsu, its leaders, and the government and people of Japan for hosting this convening.
As a former mayor, U.S. Congresswoman, and now the leader of the United States agency that is the voice of local leaders in our government, I am pleased we are starting with a conversation on carbon neutral and resilient cities.
The pathway to our carbon-neutral future runs directly through our world’s cities and municipalities.
Our cities are centers of innovation and hubs of economic growth. They are home to millions of hardworking people and, as such, are on the frontlines of some of our world’s most pressing challenges. Among them is our changing climate, increasing weather related disasters, and the challenges it brings.
President Joe Biden and the entire Biden-Harris Administration have taken an ambitious stance towards decarbonization. Our goal is to achieve net-zero emissions and a full clean energy economy by 2050.
Getting there will take significant investments, and incentives, to research and deploy clean energy innovations in every aspect of the United States economy. From public and private transportation to the power sector to our nation’s housing. It will also take working with leaders at every level of government, including those who lead our cities.
Through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, we strive to ensure housing, especially housing in underserved communities, is a part of the solution to secure a low-carbon future. We intend to do that as we lower housing costs and make resilient housing, more affordable.
One in three households in the United States is estimated to experience energy insecurity. It is estimated that one in three households in the United States experience energy insecurity. That means millions of people in the United States either cannot afford or do not have access to a reliable source of energy. Without that access, individuals and families are more likely to have to skip meals or forgo medical care, in order to heat their homes or keep their lights on.
The United States does not believe people should feel forced to live this way.
This year, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, for the first time ever, invests in energy efficiency, emission reductions, energy generation, healthy housing, and climate resilience strategies that will directly benefit low-and-moderate income people.
The Green and Resilient Retrofit Program, as it is called, provides financial assistance to owners and developers of low-and-moderate income multi-family housing that can be used to halve greenhouse gas emissions at their properties and reduce consumption by at least 25%.
Through inclusive and groundbreaking initiatives like the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program, we can face these challenges while directly impacting the quality of life for millions of Americans.
Session Two: Inclusive Cities
July 8, 2023
Distinguished Ministers, Leaders, and Delegates, it is a pleasure to be with you today.
Secretary Fudge has said it before, people living in poverty are born behind the starting line in life.
In the United States, longstanding racial inequities have caused persistent gaps in wealth, educational attainment, and prosperity.
Millions of Americans spend their entire lives trying to catch up to people who have advantages that are way beyond their reach.
Under President Biden’s leadership, urban policy in the United States has been centered on reducing those racial and economic disparities. To ensure a more level and just playing field.
A major aspect of that work includes increasing inclusivity in cities so people of all backgrounds can thrive.
More than half of the world’s population lives in cities. The proportion of city residents is only projected to grow. By 2050, it is estimated that 70% of all people will call our world’s cities home.
American cities represent the diversity and great promise of our nation. HUD is one of the few that remain at the heart of the American public – and it is not a role that we take lightly.
It is imperative that we ensure that cities are places where people have equitable access to social, economic, and political opportunity. Access to good paying jobs, sanitary and affordable homes, and where rights to live freely are guaranteed.
To get there, the United States has prioritized building more affordable, safe, and energy-efficient homes in every community.
HUD has provided historic amounts of funding to help State and local governments, tribal communities, and under-resourced communities ensure housing needs are considered as part of their larger infrastructure investment plans.
These investments are critical. It ensures we are including affordable housing as part of nationwide accessibility efforts.
In communities this looks like accessible transportation, water systems, or high-speed internet accessibility, these infrastructure investments help revitalize communities.
In many American neighborhoods, there are laws that restrict the types of homes that can be built on residential lots. That often means affordable housing options are limited in areas where there is broader access to good schools, healthy food options, and healthy air, and affordable housing is overrepresented in areas with pollutants and health hazards.
To promote inclusion in cities, the United States government is working to reform these exclusionary policies.
At the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, we are tasked with enforcing American laws that prohibit discrimination in housing.
This year, we proposed changes to the way we carry out a requirement under that law that obliges communities who receive our funding to proactively address housing discrimination and segregation.
We advance housing affordability through programs like the HOME Investments Partnerships, the largest federal block grant to state and local governments to produce low-income affordable housing, and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.
In addition, the federal government is making investments in our nation’s infrastructure that will improve public transportation, make cities more walkable and bike-friendly, and create healthy and inclusive environments.
HUD’s Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Program, for example, is part of an interagency initiative among the Departments of Transportation, HUD, Energy, Commerce, and Agriculture, as well as the General Services Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.
This program reaches every community across the country by allowing jurisdictions to appropriate funding in robust and cohesive ways by specifically prioritizing the development of accessible housing near accessible transportation.
When we approach urban development with intersectionality in mind, we provide our cities and communities the opportunity to do the same.
By improving coordination between the public and private sectors, through all levels of government, we reaffirm our support of a holistic and regional approach to housing and transportation.
In all, under the leadership of President Biden, the United States has taken a whole-of-government approach to addressing racial and economic inequity and promoting inclusion in our communities.
We cannot do this work without our inter-governmental partners, state and local leaders, or the support of the private and philanthropic partners who are equally committed to ensuring our nation is one where everyone can thrive.
Session Three: Digitization
July 8, 2023
Distinguished Ministers, Leaders, and Delegates: millions of people in the United States interact with federal systems and programs every day.
Our system is sprawling and robust, and as such, the customer experience and service delivery can vary by agency, program, and time of year.
To address this, President Biden has charged the federal government to implement upgrades that will improve customer experiences.
- Making passport renewal services available online through the State Department.
- Allowing people to file and pay their taxes online through the Treasury Department,
- Access public benefits like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, women, children, and infant assistance, and workers’ compensation.
At HUD, we are committed to ensuring that are leveraging digital opportunities as much as possible.
Homeownership or affording accessible housing can be a challenge for millions of Americans. Whether it is navigating intimidating processes or getting relevant information as quickly as possible – HUD uses digitization to propel accessibility efforts to ensure the people we serve have access to the tools they need.
This includes our robust repository of datasets, research, and market reports on our huduser.gov website. These datasets allow our agency to utilize accurate information as we implement our key programs and administer grants.
We offer internal and external training and webinars to ensure professionals and the public can access relevant guidance and engage with our team.
Additionally, information about our critical funding and grant opportunities can be found online. The ability to disseminate information through digital platforms allows us to get our work on the ground as quickly as possible.
Digitalization guides our site planning and disaster mitigation work. Tools like digital mapping and climate analyses help us improve building technology and streamline construction. Smart thermostats and utility monitors allow us to increase energy efficiency as we rebuild. And digital reporting mechanisms and surveys ensure we can accurately and actively access the progress of our programs.
While these efforts certainly propel us towards a more equitable America, we also understand that in the United States, a person’s socioeconomic status can determine their ability to access digital tools.
To address this, the federal government is taking concrete steps to increase connectivity, especially for people with low incomes, those who live in assisted housing and residents of rural communities.
One of our biggest efforts in combatting digital disparity is the Affordable Connectivity Program led by the Federal Communications Commission. This program is a direct result of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which invests $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.
Under the guidelines of this program, all households who receive HUD assistance qualify, and with intentional efforts agencywide to streamline the application process, we have been able to help ensure that everyone can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more.
With continued support from the Biden-Harris Administration, HUD provides funding to targeted areas for connectivity improvements.
This funding goes towards broadband access in rural, tribal, and senior communities through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program and the Digital Equity Act programs.
A program close to the heart of HUD is ConnectHomeUSA or CHUSA. Through CHUSA, community leaders, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and private industry come together to produce locally tailored solutions for narrowing the digital divide for HUD-assisted residents living in CHUSA-designated communities across the country.
These initiatives allow us to better serve the American people and promote standards of living that match the quickly growing digital world we are living in.