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The United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development heads the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a government agency that is concerned with issues related to housing in the United States. This agency was created in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson, as an outgrowth of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, which had been established in 1947. While many Americans are most familiar with the agency in the form of HUD assistance to low-income renters, the scope of this government agency is actually much broader.
Because the Department of Housing and Urban Development is a Cabinet-level agency, the secretary is also a member of the presidential Cabinet. Like other members of the group, he or she is appointed by the president and confirmed with a hearing in the Senate. As long as the US Secretary of Housing and Urban development is not an acting secretary or a non-natural citizen, he or she is 13th in line for succession to the presidency of the United States.
As a member of the Cabinet, the US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is responsible for keeping the president informed about issues that may affect the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He or she also discusses policy with the president, typically working together with him or her to create policies, mandates, and laws that will promote the goals of the department. The secretary also meets with government officials to discuss policy issues and proposed legislation which could impact the Department's functions.
In the department, the secretary deals with issues like access to housing without discrimination for all Americans, community development, and affordable housing. HUD also considers home ownership to be a priority for Americans, dedicating funds to loan programs and other forms of support for low-income and first-time home buyers and writing policies which promote home ownership.
One of the more remarkable people to serve as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was Robert C. Weaver, who became the first black member of the Cabinet when he was appointed in 1966. In the turbulent times of the 1960s, Weaver's ability to cross the color barrier was quite remarkable, and it laid the groundwork for the future inclusion of minorities in the president's Cabinet.