Department of Housing and Urban Development

Department of Housing and Urban Development Spending in Billions of Constant 2014 Dollars

The Department of Housing and Urban Development intervenes in housing and community activities that should be the responsibility of local governments and the private sector. Its public housing subsidies, rental assistance, and housing finance activities have proven to be costly and damaging to the economy. The department’s poor management and misguided policies have led to fraud, corruption, and waste.

The department will spent $42 billion in 2014, or about $341 for every U.S. household. It employs 8,700 workers and operates 127 subsidy programs.

Spending Cuts Summary
Downsize This!
  • HUD Scandals. The department has suffered many management failures, with corruption and cronyism a common occurrence in the executive suites.
  • Public Housing and Rental Subsidies. Public housing projects and federal vouchers for low-income renters have proven to be expensive failures.
  • Housing Finance and the 2008 Financial Crisis. Programs to subsidize home ownership have created large economic distortions and were an important cause of the recent financial crisis.
  • Community Development. The department disregards traditional federalism and spends taxpayer money on properly local and private activities such as museums and parking lots.

"[The Department of] Housing and Urban Development has done an enormous amount of harm. My god, if you think of the way in which they have destroyed parts of cities under the rubric of eliminating slums . . . there have been many more dwelling units torn down in the name of public housing than have been built."

Milton Friedman, Interview, Hoover Institution, February 10, 1999