Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Marcia Fudge recently participated in a digital event hosted by the Clinton Foundation, and described in a conversation with former President Bill Clinton her belief in the growing importance of aging in place.
The event, “Affordable Housing: Access and Innovation,” discussed the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to close the racial wealth gap, address climate change, and advance equity through affordable housing through initiatives spearheaded at HUD under Fudge’s leadership as secretary.
The aging in place comment came from a part of the discussion where President Clinton mentioned a potential ability to create more commonality in communities by building additional affordable housing complexes that could feature a higher number of different economic and racial communities living together.
“One of the things I think that those of us who support you should do in communities throughout America is volunteer to ask our fellow citizens to support our building, and living together more,” the former president told the secretary. “Because we want all these kids to go into the same schools [and] to have the same opportunities. And I think that every example we can create of that makes it very hard, or at least much harder to downgrade the value of Black people’s or Brown people’s homes or anybody else’s, [who] seem to be out of the mainstream of American economics.”
Such community integration may also encourage more people to want to invest in their communities, Secretary Fudge said, since disadvantaged communities do not often see the same level of investment in things like housing, education or public services.
“Right now, when you have communities that are solely disadvantaged then you don’t see the same kind of investment in schools,” Fudge said. “[That’s] because most education is funded by property taxes. So, […] you don’t see the same investment in roads, in police and fire, or in just overall care, because they are communities that people tend to forget. So when you integrate communities, then you find not only the value of homes coming up, but the value of people increasing because everybody in that community now has the same goal.”
There is enough general commonality in the goals of most people that needs to be accentuated, Fudge said, and that includes the importance of taking care of seniors.
“Everybody wants to take care of their parents, but nobody wants to pay extra taxes to do it,” she says. “Nobody wants to let you build an accessory dwelling unit so that you can take care of your aging father, we have to talk about all of those things. And as I get older, of course, aging in place becomes very important. But if I put all of those people into one community, then I think we can really see what the American dream is.”
Watch the discussion at the Clinton Foundation’s YouTube channel.