Bowie State University
3:48 P.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everyone! Good afternoon. Please, have a seat. Please, have a seat.
CaShawn and Lewis, I want to thank you for that introduction and for just how you are inspiring so many folks.
We were talking backstage, and the two of them really have worked so hard to do what we all do — right? — which is we want to work hard, we’re prepared to work hard. And we want to know that there will be a return on that and that the system will support hard work to allow people to attain and realize their dreams.
And the two of you are real role models for the importance of this approach and the work we’re going to talk about today. And I want to thank you for that and having the courage to be on a stage and talk in front of so many people about what you both are doing. I know you’re going to get that home very soon. So congratulations to you both. (Applause.) Thank you.
So, it is good to be back in Maryland. And it is good to be with former Majority Leader, Congressman Steny Hoyer. Steny, I want to thank you always. (Applause.) I have shared many a stage and walked many a block with Steny Hoyer. He is always fighting for the people in Maryland. It is so good to be back with you.
And to the leaders of Bowie State, I want to thank you. Madam President, I want to thank you for the warm welcome. Where is she? There you are. (Applause.) I want to thank you for the warm welcome and all the work you are doing for the future of America here at Bowie State. Thank you for that.
And I want to thank all of the folks who are part of the HomeFree-USA program, because you’re doing the work on the ground every day. Thank you. (Applause.)
So, our Secretary, Marcia Fudge, wanted to be here today to talk about the incredible work that the Department of Housing and Urban Development — the work they have been doing to expand access to housing on a number of levels, including expanding access to counseling to help people know how to be on a track to actually get a home and keep a home.
And the work that she has done as the Secretary of HUD has been extraordinary. Her work is the work that is about making sure that more Americans have and can receive trustworthy advice on how to buy a home, how to lower their rent, and plan their financial future.
So in her absence, about her I must say she is a former mayor, a former member of Congress. And now as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia Fudge has been a true champion for the families and homeowners of America. And so, let us give her a round of applause — (applause) — because we do rely on her leadership and partnership.
So, today I will begin with a very brief and short story.
So, for most of my childhood, our family rented. And then there was this one afternoon where my mother — our mother — called my sister Maya and me in. We were in high school at the time. And she called us into the kitchen, and she showed us this photograph. And it was a picture of a one-story, dark grey house with a shingled roof and a beautiful lawn.
And mommy, which is what we called her, was telling us that after her years of saving, she was ready to become a homeowner. And I remember that day so vividly. Our mother was so excited. And we were, therefore, so excited because our mother was so excited about what this meant in terms of not only a symbol of her hard work, but what it means to be able to have that symbol of pride in yourself, knowing also what it means in terms of what you can do for your family. I remember that so well.
And so, not only for my mother, but for millions of people across our nation, that’s what that means.
Homeownership is an essential part of the American Dream. For so many people, a home is more than simply a house. It is community — the community that comes from block parties, from cookouts, from lending a cup of sugar to the person who lives next door. A home represents financial security, the opportunity to build wealth and equity that can help put your child through college, afford retirement, create intergenerational wealth within your family. That’s what all of this represents. It is so much bigger than a piece of property.
And for so many people, then, it is about what they can do to create a foundation for a better future for themselves, for their family, and for their community.
For years, as you have learned, I have been meeting and talking with homeowners about their dreams and about the challenges that they face to become or be a homeowner. As you’ve heard, when I was attorney general of California, I met with so many families who at the time were weeks away from losing their homes. I traveled up and down the state of California meeting with these families.
And, you see, the folks that I met with for the most part were folks who had trusted the system and the financial services system — trusted that they would be treated fairly by these systems, by the big banks, but who instead were victimized by predatory lending practices.
And so, being attorney general, I held the banks accountable, as did many of our partners around the country. And for California, we were able to secure $20 billion for the homeowners of California, inclu- — (applause) — yes, for them — including millions of dollars for financial literacy clinics and fraud education programs to teach people how to fight against fraud and to avoid fraud.
As attorney general, I also drafted and helped pass what we named the Homeowner Bill of Rights, which was the first bill of its kind in the nation to protect families from deceptive practices and from disclosure in a way that — well, to get them disclosure in a way that they would know what was happening with their future.
And so, then, years later, and now as Vice President, this is the work we continue.
Now, most of you — Steny, you remember — we came into office, Joe Biden and I, and started this — these last two years, but we started at the height of the pandemic when we came into office.
And so let’s remember that, at the time, millions of Americans had lost their jobs and fallen behind on their rent or mortgage payments. But President Biden and I understood what was going on behind the scenes, how that had happened. We understood that people, through no fault of their own, were on the brink of eviction or foreclosure. And so we took action, and we helped more than 8 million households pay rent. And we also put a pause on mortgage payments for nearly 3 million more individuals. (Applause.)
And that brings us to today, where we are here to make an announcement about how we can help more people in connection with their ability to be a homeowner.
So here’s how it works:
So let’s say that you dream of buying a home like so many hardworking people, and you have a steady job, and you work hard and you work good, but your credit score could be a little bit better. So even though you’ve been saving, you still do not have enough for a 10 or 20 percent down payment — as part of that scenario, right? You’re working hard, you have a dream, but you don’t have enough of that 10 or 20 percent down payment. Well, if you went to a bank, and if your credit score weren’t perfect — if you went to a bank, it’s unlikely they would approve you for a home loan.
Well, you see, that’s not only a problem for that individual, that presents a problem for our nation. And I’m going to tell you why.
We know that when we increase home ownership, it strengthens communities and it strengthens our economy. Homeowners are more likely to put down roots. Studies have shown homeowners are more likely to volunteer for local charities, to vote in local elections, to start a small business.
And understanding, then, that whole dynamic, 90 years ago — about 90 years ago, our nation created the FHA loan program. FHA loans were created to help lower-income families buy homes. And the way that it works is by insuring those loans against default. Because, arguably, we’re talking about folks that might be higher risk on the books.
And so, last year, millions of homebuyers used an FHA loan, and we’re talking about folks who are nurses, who are students, who are car mechanics, or small-business owners. They’re the folks you know. Eighty percent are also first-time homeowners.
So it has been a very helpful program, the FHA loan process. But we also realized, after talking to folks, it’s time for an upgrade. Because we have been traveling around the country, and we’ve been talking with folks. And for too many, what we realize is the monthly cost of an FHA loan is still too high.
That is why today I am proud to announce that starting on March 20th, we are reducing mortgage insurance payments for all new FHA homeowners by nearly 40 percent. (Applause.)
And what this means is: On average, homeowners will pay at least $800 a year less on their mortgage, and that’s 800 more dollars in your pocket for household expenses. (Applause.)
We expect that with this new approach, more than 850,000 Americans a year will benefit from this discount. Many will be first-time homebuyers.
And so this is part of our broader strategy. Every day, Joe Biden and I talk about and work together with our partners, like former leader Hoyer — current leader Hoyer — to lower the cost for the people of our nation, because you are a leader.
For working families, we have reduced heating and electricity bills so folks have more money in their pocket to buy things like school supplies, replace the dishwasher, or take a family vacation.
For seniors, we capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month so our seniors don’t have to choose between filling a doctor’s prescription or paying for groceries. (Applause.)
And for millions of students and parents and small-business owners, we cut the cost of high-speed Internet bills by $30 a month to make sure that we connect folks with the essential technology of the 21st century.
And so this work we do — this work we do, understanding we have to see people in their whole selves, and all of the facets that are part of every person that must be seen and addressed, we do this work because we know that when we lower costs for working people, when working people can buy a home, when working people can thrive, our nation thrives.
So, in conclusion, I’ll say: Together, let us continue to create opportunity and to invest in the ability of all Americans to realize their dreams.
May God bless you, and may God bless America. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 4:01 P.M. EST