U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro | Talks at Google

well good morning good morning everyone you don't have to say good morning back it's not class good morning everyone it's my pleasure to have the secretary with us and I wanted to remind everybody that this is a public event and there's members of the press in in the audience so folks who have questions be aware of that I thought we should start by welcoming you back to Palo Alto and Stanford all right yeah that's right first of all thank you Eric for having me it's great to be here at Google and I was telling you and some of the folks that every time I get back here and the weather is like this I wonder why I didn't stay in the first place I had a different question you graduated in 1996 96 so had you joined Google I'd have a lot nicer car in the fray for sure so anyway so you went from from Stanford so basically you grew up in Texas and you win antonio san antonio which surprisingly you went back to alright so I want to explore that San Antonio de prizing surprisingly right best place in the world oh that's good you went from and I'm joking obviously we went from you went from Stanford to Harvard right so how do you go from San Antonio Hispanic family you know to to Stanford to to Harvard is that why you ultimately you're one of the youngest political rising leaders in our country were the fastest rising political leaders did you know that you were going to become a political leader you know oddly enough it was at Stanford when I went to because I grew up my brother Joaquin and I have a twin brother Joaquin and he says the way to tell us apart is that I'm a minute uglier than he is I'm actually a minute older we went through the public schools of San Antonio and my mother had been very active in the old Chicano Movement the mexican-american civil rights movement of the late 60s and early 70s and we grew up mostly with my mother and my grandmother we both got scholarships to to get to Stanford we had never seen the campus it was the second time that we'd ever been on an airplane and I remember that we got there on I think it was Wednesday September 23rd 1992 because Stanford's on a quarter system they always start late when I got to Stanford it was the first time that I had ever really been away from San Antonio and I could see the city with different eyes I had gone to a school that a high school that was probably 85% mexican-american not very diverse obviously a much more diverse community people from all over the United States and over 3 dozen countries and I could compare what was good and what needed improvement in my community so you know the the what needed improvement was in the Bay Area you had a place that was had better education levels better income levels more innovative ready for the future in San Antonio it was a city of about a million people a wonderful place to raise a family a place where people of different backgrounds had generally gotten along well together and the way that I've always described it is it was a big city where if two people passed each other on the street downtown they still look each other in the eye there's not that disconnection that often happens as communities get bigger and bigger so my interest in politics and going into public service came out of how could you combine the best of that to have a community that was innovative and had good income levels and education levels ready for the future entrepreneurial but also had a good character to it but when you went to Harvard is you know and because at the time obviously you you were a fantastic student also a minority relative to the dominant white culture you would have easily gone and very very successful in the coconut conventional world corporate world what was it that made you go back you went back to San Antonio right to your hometown again you're incredibly young you're the youngest councilman you're the youngest mayor right you're elected you run you you lose narrowly you then win again and you're only like 32 right so 34 yeah and people set in listen to him he looks 22 so say there must be something in your sense of mission that you're trying to do because I had an inn in San Antonio you were seen as one of the most innovative mayor's in the country in an age where you're 20 years younger than everybody else yeah I mean what was burning inside me was that I felt very very blessed in my own life to have this great opportunity of going to college and going to law school I grew up with a grandmother who had dropped out in elementary school and she worked as a maid at cooking a babysitter her whole life and she raised my mother as a single parent and my mom actually had had the chance to go and graduate from high school and then go on to college and and I felt as though by going back to San Antonio that I could make a contribution in public service to make sure that that more people that were growing up like me could actually have the opportunity to go to college and then pursue their own American dream and that that's pretty much what drove me in my first two summers as you know the traditional thing in law school is that folks will go and be a summer associate somewhere so I actually after the first summer I actually went back to San Francisco and I was a summer associate at Baker & McKenzie which was sometimes referred to as the McDonald's at that time of law firms because they had something like 60 different offices all over the world and the second year my brother and I were taken Gump and at Vinson & Elkins back in Texas and then when we graduated from law school we both went back and were taken gum for a while before we just pursued our Public Service careers so at this point you're sufficiently successful as the mayor that you get on the sort of interesting national care your list that the sort of White House is working on and you get involved in in their programs and then you become one of the youngest appointments at the national level in the Obama administration a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development hey can you summarize for us what the problems in Housing and Urban Development are right because they strike me as sort of overwhelming oh yeah I mean it's fair to say that they are very very significant they're massive I saw this both as a mayor and now even more so as HUD secretary to begin with we have a rental affordability crisis out there a few months ago the national Low Income Housing Coalition put out a piercing study that said basically that there isn't a single community in the United States of any size where if you're working full-time minimum wage you can afford the rent on a two-bedroom apartment and very very few places where you can afford the rent on even a one-bedroom apartment so how do people make it how do they get bond well what they're what's it's what folks are doing right now is that you have an unprecedented number of families who are paying more than a third of their income in rent rent is taking up eating up more and more of their income or they're doubling up or of course in in our country we still do have a significant challenge with homelessness although the president has shown great leadership on that homelessness since 2010 has been trending downward there are cities where it's going in the opposite direction but in general it has been going down and so you have that affordability crisis the homeownership rate in the United States right now is it a four decade low obviously we went through the housing crisis and if the story ten years ago in 2005 was that it was too easy to get a home loan the story today is that oftentimes for middle-class families for folks who have an average credit score but who would be responsible they can't get a home loan to tough and lending to minority communities is at a 13 or 14 year low so you combine those two things of less homeownership more people competing in the rental market and it adds up to a massive challenge in terms of affordability and Housing Opportunity and and so what are the solutions that you would like to see my understanding of sort of the HUD that you've inherited is because you have a Republican Congress there's not much that can be changed in a sense of financial allocation the rules that you've been given in the few years that you've been able to be HUD in other words your your degrees of freedom of fixing this are lower than it might appear to an outsider because you can't get the money moved around and things like that yeah I mean let's start with a baseline of we need more resources to be invested in affordable housing and because you have a fairly conservative Congress we're not getting the kind of resources that to meet that demand demand also at HUD HUD as a department has been more and more stressed or burdened over time to give you an example of that the day that Reagan walked into the Oval Office in January of 1981 HUD had over 16,000 employees today it has about 8,000 employees so it's been cut in half so this idea that you hear that people think that that every department of the federal government is just run amuck and it's growing and that's not true so that's a baseline however there that doesn't mean that we're powerless that means that we do have to be more innovative it means that you have to make the resources stretch further it also means frankly and I saw this as a mayor that at the state level and at the local level that what ends up happening is that states and localities end up taking up more of the slack there's a there's a large amount of public housing often very old in America do you manage that or is it managed by the cities and states with money that you give them it's managed by Paul like housing authorities and there are over 3,000 public housing authorities out there from public housing authorities that are rural and very small to a housing authority like San Francisco or Chicago that that have thousands and thousands of units under their jurisdiction but it's it's federal money because one of those things I wanted to explore part of why you're here is we you suggested and we have entered into a partnership with a number of other companies to try to get I would just just describe I'm gonna use the word public housing cuz I don't have better describe it connected right so can we sort of go through why that's important why isn't it obviously already occurring you know what are the roadblocks right why have you made this I think this is one of your signature campaigns in the White House yeah you know I I got the call from President Obama asking whether I'd be interested in this role on April 16 2014 and and I remember that because it's not every day that the president calls you asking if you want a job unless some of y'all have that experience I don't and the first thing that I thought about was what we could do to help and let me be very explicit I don't believe that that helping is a dirty word but if you do it right in government that that's something that's positive but how we could help folks who live in public housing where the the median household income is about $12,500 how we could help them become more upward within mobile and get out of public health how does somebody live on $12,500 well I mean they're getting a very significant subsidy of their housing costs oftentimes maybe other subsidies that includes also senior citizens who are on Social Security and so you know and and I believe that that basically that brain power is the new currency of success in the 21st century global economy and that for America to be as competitive as possible we need to ensure that everyone up and down the income scale and particularly our young people have 21st century tools to compete in the job market and that over half of the folks who are low-income and the vast majority of people who live in public housing don't have internet access or in some cases the community is wired or in theory they could have it but then they can't afford it so either way they're not reaping the benefits of being connected right now so connect home there's a pilot project to connect 28 communities 27 cities and one tribal community of folks who live in public housing to the internet and we're very proud of that effort very proud of Google fiber's role in the effort you all have been fantastic and at the end of the day we want to do two things number one we want to ensure that folks get that access they get connected and secondly we want to be able to measure what difference that makes in their lives because you all know it's not enough to just connect them we need to get more rigorous about being able to demonstrate the impact in their lives that that makes and ultimately the the long-term goal is that we see more of those kids who are going to be connected that do better on their third grade math and reading tests that are more likely to graduate from high school that are more likely to go into on to college and and hopefully into companies like Google and others and to reach their dreams and that that connection will have been one small part of that well what I remember when when you first called on this was the the observation that many of these housing units are reasonably dense they're reasonably vertical and so they're particularly amenable to a shared service running a fiber line but you can serve it's very many very very many many people very very efficiently it's sort of a no-brainer as a public act for corporations and you guys to sort of make this happen to be a benefits are very quick absolutely and and as you all know your partnering with with connect home in several cities and by the way I want to say a big thank you to Google Fiber today we learned that they're going to be connecting the residents in Kansas City the public housing residents that they're serving to gigabit service for free which is a great victory for that community and we're very very proud of this and you know once you get the simple rule about fiber is once you've got it in place it's just a godsend right because the bandwidth is there the service is there you just have to get these things wired and one of our biggest projects is making sure that the sort of local regulatory municipal barriers that get in the way of doing that right for whatever historic reason are sort of eliminated and your your organization has helped out throughout the cities we're now up to let's see 20 additional six cities in six metro areas that we're now designing for we're very operational in Kansas City and in Provo and in Austin right so it really is working and our strategy is of course a you know a national strategy where we're in this for the long run do you think what I can never tell with with programs like connect home is is is it likely to become a truly national program over a decade in other words that it looks to us like this is going to be hugely successful in the 30 or so but but there's a lot more than 30 how do we get to a thousand and three thousand I believe that it will scale and my goal is that by the time we walk out of there on January 20th of 2017 I would like for us to be able to say that we have commitments so that every single household in public housing will be connected I do believe that that can happen you have a number of partners who have been committed to connect home and I know that we and others will keep prodding everybody to try and get there and then after that you know there's how to assisted housing that's mixed income housing and so there there there's a base that we're working from and I think the drive to grow it and so I am confident that it'll be it'll become much stronger than than 28 communities let me also just say Eric that you know and I saw this as mayor when we started thinking about Google Fiber there in San Antonio that you can see these fascinating issues that present themselves with sort of the new economy in the old economy and how that interacts with public lawmaking at the local level the state level and the federal level and the use of polls parens for example and the battles that you all have had in different communities around that is a very good example of that Tesla and its battle with the car dealers and state legislatures you all know this one of course usually you have to go through a dealership at the state level to sell a car and in many places Tesla can only have a car they're like it's almost like a showpiece like a museum you can only go see it they can't even set up a sale another one is uber and lyft and all the issues surrounding that and regulation at the local at the local level and then these craft brewers and their ability to distribute versus the beer distributors so what you see is this fascinating intersection of the new economy and disruptive technologies and I think the the way that local government state government and federal government is sort of doing a head spinning and trying to figure out how to respond I think maybe the best thing that comes from the work that you all do and others do is helping to educate public policymakers on how we should take in these things as they change and understand systems differently and not be afraid to regulate in a different way or in some cases not regulate at all because things have changed well we would certainly take the position more that allowing a space for innovation right is key because innovation is how companies are formed jobs are created wealth is created and you could imagine there are plenty of problems in cities that could be solved if the if the space were to the legal space allowed for a local innovator right to create a company to solve this particular problem when I was much younger there was a fear about strong mayor's and in the last couple of decades there's been a sort of view that the government was relatively dysfunctional unless you had a strong mayor and we went through a period of what I would argue as strong mayor I would argue were a strong mayor in the internal politics of these cities why is the mayor and it's a simple question but why is the mayor's power important and how is it exercised because those cities can be understood as the innovation engines now in America well it's important because leadership at the top I think whether it's in a company or at one of these levels of government where the leader is focused is oftentimes what's going to move the organization and where the attention of the organization is and the position of mayor is important and a mayor has strengths or doesn't have strengths I think basically by a couple of things number one whether they have the votes with the people they serve with on the city council to actually get something done because at the end of the day that's the body that makes policy decisions and whether they're effective in the organization in getting that organization to execute well and and those two things I think really would add up to whether someone is successful or not successful in that but I think for our audience here people are are often very very confused about why problems engineers often get confused about politics because engineers are rational and politics is often irrational it's is that a comment about the 2016 election cycle we're going to get to that I'm gonna I'm gonna compare you to Marco Rubio the not wearing boots to do if we talk about if we're talking about the Bay Area you've got enormous wealth enormous creativity many people would say that the financial results for the stock market for last year have largely been tech driven right there's a lot of reasons that this to think that this is the this area in particular as a jewel and yet we have these crippling housing problems and crippling transportation problems and I don't need to tell anyone here in the audience how difficult this has become why are these problems not fixable in other words it's pretty obvious to me that if you had a bunch of people room and said we've got lots of smart people coming in we got lots of people who are being dislocated in the housing we need more affordable housing we need more of this more of that and so forth why does it not work that way well it doesn't work that way for I mean I agree with you that you know it ought to be able to work that way and I do think that we can get closer than we are but let's just take the issue of housing in San Francisco right I imagine there are a lot of folks in this room that are dealing with that and or in any other city that that is a hot market it doesn't work in a linear fashion because people who represent different areas and different interests get pressure then sometimes they listen to that pressure in a proportionate way and sometimes they listen to that pressure in a disproportionate way why can't we build affordable housing or more housing in a lot of places because you get a lot of NIMBYism I mean I saw this every other week when we did Sonnen cases in San Antonio and somebody would come in and they wanted to create more density and then you'd have all these folks line up in front of the City Council and say no no way you know keep this and I'm gonna vote against you if you vote for this and for that elected official making that one decision right and not oftentimes not putting it all together because they all add up you know are you gonna are you gonna make 200 people angry and and for what in their mind do you think that the higher levels of guard the state or federal government should play a more directive role to support growth and development of for example housing in general transportation in general affordable housing or are you more in favor of letting the local authorities mayor's primarily sort this out with the concomitant issues that you're well a familiar with you know let me say that I do believe that there are a lot of places where we're mayors and councils and County Commission's are doing innovative work and good work and creating more affordable housing opportunities but you always have that political reality to that sometimes cuts against that grain the generally the posture has been to deliver resources to local communities and as much as possible to let those local communities determine how they're going to spark greater housing opportunity the best example of this are two of our bread-and-butter programs which are Community Development Block Grants it's a forty one-year-old program now CDBG and home funding which started in 1992 and these are block grants to to to local communities and States that gives them a lot of flexibility on how they use this money so you might have one community that is is using that money mostly to rehab elderly housing and another that is using that as gap financing to create more affordable housing but it runs the gamut now let me give you an example of something that I'm telling mayor is more and more these days we're saying because CDBG is often the largest allocation of money that they get cities get from HUD we're saying look what we see out there is that we need more housing we mean we need more affordable housing and at the same time only about 29 percent of CDBG money is being used directly for housing they're using it for infrastructure projects because it's flexible is it I'm saying mayor X or Y or Z you know that you have an affordability issue in your in your city and at the same time you're doling out you know 1 million dollars here for this project for another project instead of using those resources in a focused way on housing and and so to get back to one of my original point yes we need more resources that's definitely a big part of the story but but we also need to be as smart as possible about the resources that are there and that we do have I think as we as we sort of finish and move to audience questions I do want to talk to you what about the political landscape you're often mentioned as a very significant future leader in the Democratic side you are had been in fact compared to Marco Rubio I've never quite understood in a Hispanic context the politics on Hispanic side presumably a Hispanic candidate would be in favor of immigration legalization and so forth and so on can you sort of dissect what's going on and for somebody who's not Hispanic you've explained how do the politics work it's a good question you know and my perspective on it was first informed of course by growing up in a city that was 60% Hispanic mostly mexican-american and now having served as mayor and then now at a national level getting to visit communities like Florida and like Northern Virginia that that are Hispanic but very diverse people from all over Latin America and the Hispanic community generally leans Democratic in 2012 you know everyone knows that about just over 70 percent voted for President Obama at the same time there are pockets of Hispanics particularly in places like Florida and Cuban Americans and especially the older generation of Cuban Americans and in some places of Texas that have leaned Republican and so what you have in Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz you know I think are two good examples of folks from a Hispanic community that generally had leaned Republican that is changing in fact 2012 was a breakthrough year because the president actually won more than 50 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida and a large percentage of the cuban-american vote but I think that often there's this disconnect in the media centers of the United States and I'm thinking especially of New York I don't think that that they get oftentimes the diversity of the Hispanic community in and of itself whether that's culturally or politically I also think it's true that the Democratic Party can't you know cannot forever just count on getting the Hispanic vote I have seen that in Texas you know I saw when George Bush ran for governor in 94 98 and when he ran for president popular yeah I mean he got about about 40 percent of the vote so it's possible the problem that Republicans have is not the personalities because they have Cruz and Rubio and they have susana Martinez and Governor Sandoval of Nevada the problem is their politics is their policies they've gone crazy on immigration they've gone way out there to the right on tax policy on education policy on just about all the bread-and-butter issues the kitchen table issues that matter to the Hispanic community their way to the right and I don't see from here to November that they're gonna be able to get back in to the middle zone that I think would make most Hispanics comfortable with them even if they had somebody like Marco Rubio running at the top of the ticket no political conversation is is finished without bringing up Donald Trump's name so so one theory of what's going on goes something like this that many many people have not seen economic growth over the last decade this is well-established mathematically and there are there are many theories as to why this growth and success has not occurred one would be immigrants taking your jobs anti-muslim feelings all those sorts of things that could be argued as a is a Trump position another one would be it's the banks and the elites and the so forth and that would be sort of a Sanders position people have making these arguments and and and the core point in this argument is that the elites which most of us travel with missed this anger and that the anger is not just exemplified by Trump but exemplified by all of the candidates who are non-traditional right they've gone mainstream candidates of which there are in both parties do you agree with that I mean you're a person who's lived in both worlds right you grew up sure you grew up in in a tough environment you're now and you went to the best schools and so forth do you believe the elites miss this do you believe that there is a gap between should we say the common person the common common person's experience which is exemplified by this rather odd politics as the elite like/subscribe it and the elites I believe that that grat that that gap is growing and I see I definitely believe that there's a strong frustration there I've you madly disagree with what Trump has put forward as the solution and I do agree with those who have said that that basically it's this boogeyman or shiny object politics of sort of redirecting people's anger I believe what we need to do more of is what the president has focused on these last several years which is you know a plan for universal pre-k so people get started strong and are able to graduate and go on and reach their dreams that we make Community College free those first two years and make college more affordable and reduce student debt so that folks can get on with prospering in their lives that we make homeownership for responsible families more accessible so yeah at the end of the day what we need to do is to get back to the blueprint that gave us a strong middle class in the United States and that's what the president has been trying to do and that's what I believe that that Secretary Clinton would do as well if she won't even Dorst maybe we should move to questions from the audience as well as we have some submitted questions which we call the dory so we can start with one if there's a mic here as well the let's see if I have my list here the most attractive internet access option for and I'm reading this from a submitted question for disadvantaged families is prepaid mobile broadband what are the fundamental reasons for its extremely high cost in the u.s. in my country of origin this person is not a u.s. person it costs less than a tenth of what it does here in other words why does prepaid why does mobile broadband cost so much number one I have a feeling they're probably three dozen people that can answer that question better than I can in this room however I mean let me say that that I'll give you a good example from my hometown of of I think you know again to go back to this issue of of the regulatory environment and how we can undo some of that in order to make access more affordable san antonio is one of a number of cities that has a municipal utility we own a municipal utility and at some point in the early 90s or mid 90s they went out and they built a fiber network the municipal utility did and they built this fiber network throughout the city or throughout their service area in the late 1990s the Texas Legislature passed the statute that said that cities that own that kind of fiber network could not provide use it to provide Internet access to homes to their citizens they could use it for very really you know limited number of things and only for certain educational institutions like universities and libraries so you have this community and it's not the only one that is sitting on this fiber network it's not able to use it to provide cheaper good Internet service now that you you could undo that statute to allow them to contract with a company to go in there and run that network but I think that we need to find more ways that we can lower the cost was this just an industry lobbying effort that I mean it sounds to me like you have a municipal asset and people you can't use it yeah it's a company that shall go unnamed right now but of course it was a lot no no it was not Google but there was lobbying at the state level to pass that kind of law and that's a good example to me of that that we're not maximizing our potential sometimes next question is FCC defines broadband as 25 megabits giving close to 10 billion dollars of carriers to speed up deployment of Internet service to rural America ISPs are considered regional monopolies by many in other words this questioner some states are trying to be a municipal broadband yeah can you make sense of this yeah I mean to go to this point from my experience in San Antonio it did that at least that case did not make a lot of sense you know I believe that we need all hands on deck to your knowledge is it still under this restriction it is sure yeah so when I was mayor i sat on the CPS Energy Board that has not changed and it's not the only community I remember reading back then of other communities in the United States not many had a network that as was as developed as San Antonio's but there are some I just think that we need all hands on deck in terms of trying to make it more accessible and more affordable for folks to get access and I'm reading yes sir we have question if you found yourself to be the vice president of the United States a year from now hey how would you feel about the opportunity and B what are some of the things you would yeah now I appreciate the question and the confidence that you have in me but and thank you however I'm trying to do a good job at HUD and you know just I've seen many times in life that the best way to make sure that you have a good future is not to forget about your present what's in front of you right now and so I'm trying to do a great job at HUD and then whatever the future brings we'll see yes sir hey thank you very much for being here so at a Cal shirt yeah it might be house it's thinking about taking it off I'll be fine y'all beat maybe well the other day was it Navy it was no Air Force either way yeah it's a great game point is um so my question is that you mentioned a little bit earlier that sometimes cities you know they have large funds allocated them for urban development projects and housing but a lot of times they don't use it for housing and so I know that a lot of times the federal government has requirements for states and cities that once they meet those requirements then they get the money and it's generally for a purpose like urban development but sometimes they can use it for other things I was wondering if your department has considered putting those requirements also on the money once you get it here's what you have to do say you know maybe for ten years you have to use this for housing and then that would put a sizable dent in the problem No thank you very much for the question yeah so we do have a decent amount of money that is more restricted in terms of that it has to be used for housing a lot of that money doesn't flow directly to cities it goes to these public housing authorities or states also the Treasury has a very important and significant program the low-income housing tax credit they administer it Treasury does that goes to states and then the state's distribute those low-income housing tax credits to local communities and that's just for affordable housing so you know I don't wanna give the impression that there's not any resources that are in fact most of the resources are more restricted however the two big block grant programs so to speak are a little less so and especially I really thinking about Community Development Block Grants because home it is shaped a little bit more for housing thank you yes ma'am thank you so much for joining us today and for everything you do with hadn't really appreciate all the efforts you've made to help people nationally but so many of the communities that you are serving do initiatives that connect home our underserved communities especially minority ones and we've talked about Google Fiber in the role that that complaint connecting these communities but the other hand of our business that affects them is also mobile knowing that diverse communities are more likely to buy a smartphone than any other demographic Latinos in particular and I'm curious to hear your thoughts because we many tech companies are so quick to look to other countries where we see a need looking at the next billion users something I know Eric is particularly passionate about and often many of us who come from communities like these think about the need to look in our neighborhoods here when I think of innovation and thinking about how can we possibly understand what it means to come from a family that makes $12,500 that family probably has a smartphone or hopes to have one as their first means of community connecting to the web so knowing all that what are your thoughts on the responsibilities we have as Googlers to better understand these communities and develop for them you know it's a wonderful question and I know that you all are doing some fantastic work in the Mission District and other places to try and help communities maximize their potential and I believe that that there's a tremendous amount of low-hanging fruit out there and so many young people that are growing up that have the potential to be like y'all here Googlers and folks who've graduated from college and you know reach your dreams or reaching your dreams and and so how we figure out ways to scale being able to improve their circumstances and their trajectory is fantastically important and so I'm glad that you all are part of that you bring up an issue that I think you know leads to a real irony which is that especially for low-income communities in public housing and communities of color that too often times are low income they overuse technology in many ways you know have a smartphone use apps like Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and so you see that that both that there is a market there that probably is is being under tapped a lot of times and that the private sector I think needs to gear itself even more toward and focus on I think there's a responsibility there to enhance the number of folks who come from those communities who were able to participate in in the success of companies and I also believe that that in this 21st century that is you look around the globe that that the United States finds itself in this unprecedented competition for for talent and brainpower with with nations around the world that that are producing tons of young people that are intelligent and talented and tech savvy and and we need to do our part to make sure that we don't let any of that potential go to waste and so you know I applaud you all for what you're doing and I hope that more of that will happen and that Silicon Valley continues to become more diverse and I think that's gonna be good not just for any one company or for the industry but for the United States in making us more globally competitive in this 21st century diversity is a clear strength use the common message here another question from our electronic audience homelessness in our cities is reaching epidemic levels in San Francisco streets are lined with tents and underpasses are filled with them why isn't a homelessness a federal issue these are citizens of the United States the federal government and not City should take full responsibility for their welfare actually the homelessness very much is a federal issue so in 2010 the president laid out a blueprint for ending homelessness in the United States called opening doors and it was significant because it was the first presidential plan that didn't just say we want to reduce homelessness it said we want to end homelessness and the first part of that was ending veteran homelessness and so since 2010 veteran homelessness has has gone down by 36 percent overall homelessness has been reduced by 11 percent and with about a 17 percent reduction in in family homelessness we've also seen a reduction in chronic homelessness so delivers billions of dollars of resources into what are called Continuum's of care that are locally based partnerships of nonprofits and governmental entities that that deal with homelessness and and try and drive down those numbers however even though we have seen that progress it is very clear that especially in these West Coast communities Seattle Portland San Francisco Los Angeles that you have seen a spike in the last 18 months two years especially in unsheltered homeless people living on the streets so about five weeks ago I joined the mayors of of Seattle Portland San Francisco and LA in Portland to talk about how we could be helpful you know we wanted to be proactive at HUD and help them as they address trying to get the the growth in homelessness under control because we very much recognize that but we do have a role to play we are playing that role and not just with money but also helping them strategize and getting a good system in place to drive down those numbers yes sir um so thank you so much for being here and for the work you're doing my question actually speaks almost exactly to the previous question but um there was a lot of news coverage recently about Utah's homelessness address program to address homelessness I think it was even covered on The Daily Show and they described it as basically their strategy is to provide homes to the homeless and they have seen a lot of success they say there are fewer than 300 homeless people in the state of Utah at this point and I haven't heard a lot of comparisons being drawn from the Utah program to federal programs and I guess I'm just wondering if you could talk about any lessons that you think that could be learned from that specific program and and maybe why those lessons haven't been applied yeah so what what you're mentioning is something called housing first so if you all think about public policy a lot of times and especially as it leans sort of center-right the idea that we have is that okay you show that you can take responsibility and then we're gonna give you opportunity housing first flip that on its head it used to be that we would have homeless folks you know stay a certain number of night in a shelter start going to an addiction counselor if they have an addiction or start trying to look for a job if they're out of obviously if they're homeless they're probably out of a job it flipped that on its head and said no you know what first we're gonna put you in permanent housing with support so somebody that will help you try and find a job help you address an addiction or other issue but we're gonna give you the opportunity first and then stabilize you so that you can take that responsibility and there's a real lesson in that that we're trying to figure out okay where where else does that apply and this the cities that have been most successful in driving down their homelessness numbers have been those cities that have been strongest with housing first as a follow-up do you I imagine these are people where life just doesn't work so there they have an addiction problem they have a very health problem it's a woman with children without them without a provider husband and are a bad bad domestic situation do you think that housing first is a necessary precondition to solving those problems because often my understanding these people is that they have compound problems right no credit criminal history drug problem you know whatever yeah I would say that that's shown itself to be the most effective because having housing stabilizes the individual or the family so that they can then go address those other issues versus you know that they're having to sleep in a shelter or transitional living facility and kind of address it address their issues during during the day and and worrying about where they're gonna sleep at night it's not as effective that way that's what the research has shown Salt Lake City and Utah in general have been excellent in that regard and and so of another number of other communities and states in fact on Veterans Day I was at the War Memorial in Virginia in Richmond with Terry McAuliffe celebrating that Virginia had become the first state they called themselves a Commonwealth yeah I guess to effectively end veteran homelessness can you just follow up real fast and say then how is the federal government pushing given that we've seen that that's more successful to apply that everywhere yeah so I mean that is what we're what we're recommending for communities all the time to do and with our continuum of care funding we have favored that approach basically they essentially incentivize Continuum's of care around the nation to go with a housing first model and so we expect that in the years to come as they get stronger at implementing that that we're gonna see similar success let me just very quickly go back to the question of San Francisco in LA and some of these these communities that have high growth in unsheltered populations you know there's still a need for transitional living in shelters and especially in communities that have an onslaught of folks living on the streets the fact is you're not going to find all of them permanent housing right away so you need an effective way to deal with that one effective way an example of that is something called a navigation Center in San Francisco that I visited a couple months ago it is transitional living but they do things a little bit differently than most places for instance they let people go in as couples into the shelter and they let folks take their pets and maybe most importantly they still have an eye toward getting folks to permanent housing but they recognize that that's not going to happen right away ma'am you'll have the honor of the last question great thank you so much as you know we are facing a crisis of extreme proportions around affordable housing here in the Bay Area and as is the case all across the country and yet this is an issue that is not risen to an issue of national debate how do we get this issue that is part of a national debate how do we get this issue to be translated from one that people see is an individual issue and individual responsibility to one that is fundamental to our communities our infrastructure how we get to work how we go home at night and do our homework how we stay healthy all aspects of our life are related to this issue of having a great home and yet this is not an issue that has adequate resources and we are facing a very extreme situation here I'm part of organizations that are doing affordable housing advocacy in the Bay Area we're facing an uphill battle and yet the solutions are clear we need more resources flowing can you speak to some of those issues and thank you so very much well thank you for the work that you and the organization are doing I mean if we were to go and look at the transcripts of the 2016 debate so far I don't think we'd find a single mention about housing I don't even think we'd find a mention about education so far and so there is a there's a disjunction between what's being focused on and what and the issues that intimately impact the health or the well-being and the forward trajectory of families and to your question of okay well how do we get this on the radar screen I wish I had a better answer than just to say that with regard to housing specifically people here affordable housing and they think oh that's poor people but the fact is that more and more middle-class families these days are dealing with the issue of paying more than a third of their income in rent and so that issue is affecting so many more people on the spectrum and folks that vote and so it like anything it depends on the activism of everyday Americans to put that on the radar screen of people running for City Council and mayor where a lot of the action on these things happen to state legislators and of course federal candidates I think you all see why I wanted secretary Castro to come I just I've not met very many political leaders today who have the kind of future scale that you will have and the impact that you're going to have on America I'm very proud to be American and I'm very proud that you're going to be one of our great future and of course current leaders thank you so much for being here thanks a lot

11 thoughts on “U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro | Talks at Google

  1. People sell drugs, steal, prostitute, and other illegal crimes. That is how they make it. The week we moved in here a teenage girl killed another in front of our house. Solution to politicians is to impreach them from their elected offices, based on The Bill Of Rights and Constitution. Remember the French Revolution, off with their heads. Crazy but desperate, you can never stop people from living like human beings. That is a crime!

  2. Help VBCDC has been mistreating me. I am on hud. VBCDC is Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation. I rent from them through HUD. I have epilepsy and hypoglycemia as well as being 59. The maintenance men have been harrassing me over everything. If they fix things they come into my home and halfway fix things. Now the refridgerator is been broke for two months the electrical is bad so it shorts out appliances. Help! Ms. Casin 757 385 5756.

  3. If you'll take the time to do a little research about this radical Julian, his twin brother and his chit stirring La Raza mother whom all want to keep the borders wide open, want Sanctuary Cities and for all of us taxpayers to pay for all of their illegal chit!Obama's named this fraud as Sec. of HUD for a purpose and keep in mind, this guy is already "up to his ears" in corruption pulling off all kinds of illegal chit in San Antonio, both him and his corrupt brother!!

  4. American needs to invest in their current citizens, not take in more people to share the pie with!  The American dream is a lie, look at the unemployment rates, we're sinking in debt, we need reality not hold onto a debt-trap dream.

  5. Son now HUD political cocksuckers want to change the demographics of suburban neighborhoods and turn them into section 8 shit holes. I guess too many white, upper middle class Republican's in those areas and that cannot be tolerated! Got to get more deadbeat entitlement Democrat voters in those areas. HUD only creates crime ridden toilets!

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