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HUD Secretary visits Kansas City to talk American Jobs Plan, funding for housing

HUD Secretary in KC
Posted at 3:56 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 18:21:30-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Wednesday, Marcia Fudge, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary visited Kansas City, Missouri, to discuss affordable housing.

Fudge said she wants folks to hold her accountable for HUD's work.

"For me, a foundation is infrastructure," Fudge said. "I don't know how you would suggest that a person having a decent place to live isn't a foundation. It is a foundation."

Fudge is pushing President Joe Biden's $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, which would include billions for infrastructure. She said infrastructure absolutely includes housing.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a president to say, 'not only am I going to put $40 billion in it to get rid of mold, to get rid of lead, et cetera,'" Fudge said. "And bring it up to a place that makes you feel good about going home, but we're going to put $200 billion more to make sure you have the opportunity to buy a home."

Republican and Democratic lawmakers do not agree with how much money is in the plan.

"We have to pass the jobs bill," Fudge said. "The jobs bill is going to create two million new homes and rehabilitate another 500,000."

Fudge's optimism is a sign of hope for many people in low-income housing who feel their rights have been ignored.

"We want to be comfortable, live comfortable. Live clean and just enjoy our life," Sylvester Ellis, resident of Gabriel Tower in KCMO said.

Ellis and about a dozen others with KC Tenants showed up to Fudge's news conference.

The tenant union leader at Gabriel Tower, James "Pappy" Stone, was able to talk with Fudge face-to-face about their fair share of housing issues.

He said the living conditions at Gabriel Tower is an example of what is being done wrong.

"I was telling her how Millennia has been treating us over there and trying to find out where the funds are going," Pappy said. "She said she'd do an investigation and she agreed to meet with us so we can, as a whole, let her know our concerns and what's been going on over there."

41 Action News has reported on Millennia, the company who runs Gabriel Tower, for its many health code violations over the years.

Pappy said he feels that help is finally on the way.

"She seems very sincere," he said.