Secretary Julián Castro Comes to Town

May 29, 2015
EC from DC

Secretary Julián Castro Comes to Town

 

Cris Medina, Executive Director of Guadalupe Center, Secretary Julián Castro, and
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II

 


Yesterday, I was honored to welcome Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julián Castro to Kansas City, Missouri. As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, it was my pleasure to invite Secretary Castro to see firsthand the significant housing work being done in Missouri’s Fifth District and to highlight the continued need for HUD support in future housing endeavors. As I have shared with you before, I would not be where I am today without the benefit of a hand up — not a hand out — of poverty. Public housing helped my family when we were doing all we could to help ourselves.

As HUD celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, it is time to look back at the dividends that place-based investment can yield. Nowhere is this more evident than at Posada Del Sol and Villa Del Sol, in Kansas City, Missouri, where families and seniors can find an affordable, accessible, welcoming place to live. Westside Housing Organization, Inc., the manager of Posada Del Sol, is a private, not-for-profit corporation founded in 1973 by neighborhood residents who wanted the City to improve the physical conditions of their neighborhood and save houses from being torn down for highway construction. Today, Westside Housing is one of the oldest and most respected community development corporations (CDC) in Kansas City, Missouri. It is the only CDC in Kansas City, Missouri that includes a significant focus on serving the Latino community, advocating on a range of social, political and housing issues.

Congressman Cleaver and Secretary Castro walk down West Pennway Terrace
alongside the Villa Del Sol Townhomes, as they discuss housing policy

 


Four walls and a roof add up to much more than the sum of their parts. The residents here have a place to call their own, to build up their somebodiness. Without that, life can be very bitter indeed. Both Posada Del Sol and Villa Del Sol provide affordable housing for elderly and disabled persons. We had a chance to meet with many residents, my constituents, and talk about what is most important to them. It is important to me to keep fighting for full funding for HUD programs like Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202 Program), which have made such a difference here in Missouri’s Fifth District, and around the country. Both Secretary Castro and I believe that we need to move past the damaging and dangerous sequester, which keeps us from making the investments our communities need so much.

Even as we look back, we look to the future to see what we can do to lessen income inequality, increase energy efficiency at home, bridge the digital divide in every neighborhood, and expand access to housing for all. As neighborhoods change and develop, it is important to preserve affordable housing options.

On our tour, we visited Villa Del Sol and Posada Del Sol Apartments. The tour was the latest stop on Secretary Castro's Opportunity and Investment Community Tour, which spans across the country to gain a better understanding of housing and urban development issues facing American communities. Secretary Castro believes that no American should be limited by their zip code. Through place-based efforts, HUD has made significant progress in building communities of opportunity across the nation. As communities wrestle with economic inequality, HUD remains committed to investing in initiatives that are proven to help families find pathways out of poverty. I could not agree more. Through community development investments, affordable housing and skills training, we must all work to ensure that Missouri’s Fifth District, and all Americans living in low-income neighborhoods have the opportunity to thrive.
 

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