Industry Reacts to HUD Secretary Resignation

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C–“The HUD secretary had lost credibility among people in Washington, D.C. a long time ago,” Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, tells MHN. “His resignation has been long overdue and not at all unexpected.”Secretary Alphonso R. Jackson resigned this morning amidst intense speculation regarding his alleged involvement in giving lucrative housing contracts to friends. However, in his official statement, Jackson said he is leaving the post because he needed to devote more time to his family.“Regardless of the ethical issues, the operation and survival of HUD’s programs has also been in question in recent months. There have been questions about whether they have been carried out the way there were intended,” says Crowley.“Confidence in the secretary was lost back in 2004, after HUD’s failed response to Katrina. He is directly responsible for the Katrina stalemate,” says Crowley.Jackson’s resignation, effective April 18, also comes at a time when the Bush administration is increasingly relying on the department’s Federal Housing Administration to help with the foreclosure crises.“We hope they replace him with someone who can deal with the problems facing this industry today, as well as the problems plaguing HUD itself,” says Crowley.Meanwhile, the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), issued a statement much more favorable to Jackson. “MBA has appreciated the opportunity to work with Secretary Jackson on a variety of policy initiatives designed to build stronger communities and help existing and future homeowners,” chairman, Kieran P. Quinn, CMB, said in a statement. In the past few weeks, several Congressmen have been calling for Jackson’s resignation. The FBI has interviewed several of his employees, and two senior Democratic senators called on him to resign, saying the allegations of wrongdoing had undermined his leadership. Lawmakers have also raised concerns about accusations that Jackson had threatened to withdraw federal aid from the Philadelphia Housing Authority after its president refused to turn over a $2 million property to a politically connected developer.