February 9, 2011

Ron Sims’ Story: Providing Homes & Creating Opportunities for Future Generation

Cross posted from White House.gov

As every American knows, who we are is deeply influenced by how we grew up – and the influences that shaped us. I grew up in Spokane, Washington, which is in the eastern part of the state, and had the opportunity to attend what is now known as Central Washington University. My parents were engaged in the community, and in the weight of things, I am James and Lydia Sims’ son through and through. My values, my expressions, and what I care for are all reflective of that. I was one of those lucky children who experienced lots of love, and the benefit of good parenting – and it’s why I feel so strongly about giving future generations of kids the good homes and quality opportunities they need.

And at HUD, I’m in a position to help do that.  As Deputy Secretary, I see myself as clearing obstacles out of the way to let our talented staff do their jobs and affect change, particularly in traditionally underserved communities.  Through the Federal Housing Administration, for example, we help responsible first-time homebuyers get access to a mortgage.  For families who can’t afford a loan, HUD’s multifamily, tenant-based programs help them rent affordable housing.  Our homelessness programs provide shelter and supportive services to those who don’t otherwise have a roof over their heads.  A big part of our mission is helping what the Baptist tradition calls “the least, the last, and the lost.”

Our employees embody that determination to make a difference.  And under the leadership President Obama and  Secretary Donovan, our mission has expanded still further.  We’re no longer just a housing agency – we’re engaged in comprehensive community development to help rebuild so many areas harmed by the economic crisis.

Take the example of our Choice Neighborhoods initiative, which will transform areas of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of choice, opportunity, and hope by linking housing to transportation, public services, and access to jobs. But the heart of restoring vitality to our communities lies in schools and unlocking the potential of our young people, and HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods partnership – working with the Department of Education’s Promise Neighborhoods initiative – is one way we can start to do that.  Few things are more deeply linked to outcomes later in life than education, and with this partnership, we can enable young people from traditionally underserved populations to have a real opportunity at the American Dream.

Achieving that dream, and giving people from all races, backgrounds, and walks of life access to choice and opportunity, is not only what Black History Month is about – it’s what America is about.  To me, the celebration of Black History Month is a celebration of America as a grand experiment – how this country became the greatest in the world despite Americans sharing no common race or country of origin.

3 Responses to Ron Sims’ Story: Providing Homes & Creating Opportunities for Future Generation

  1. What future are we providing for our children? So many of our families who are attending our centers struggle with financial and economic challenges on a daily basis. Why do we always have the desire to provide for others, when here in our own backyard we have children who go to bed hungry?

  2. We operate seven child care centers here in Toledo. Toddlers Schools provides care for families who are economically challenged. Please find a way to balance the scales and provide funding to help us continue to serve the families in our area.
    check us out @ www. toddlersschools.com

  3. HUD underwriters….What are you thinking??

    Please allow me this time to discuss a situation I am and have been involved with respect to my client we will call “the buyer”. In recent months, I was approached by a young woman; “the buyer”, who was in the beginning process of buying her first home. She asked if I would sit with her to discuss the process and her situation specifically. We determined with the help of my lender, that she had some areas to work on before we could get an approval through the “automated underwriting system”.

    After the 75 day period, we would sit down and review the situation. Once together again, we determined that she was ready to start looking at homes and was “pre-approved”.

    The “Buyer” is a single mom with a great education, wonderful job as a social worker. She is raising two wonderful children that I had the opportunity of spending time with and she is and has been doing everything RIGHT. She was applying for a FHA/Plus loan which was underwritten by HUD and VHDA product.

    We visited approximately 10 homes and then returning to 2 of those 10 to possibly make an offer to purchase. “The Buyer” then informed me that her boss who had some rental property was having the tenant from one of homes leave because of economics and she would like to sell. We will call her “the seller”. I told the buyer that would have to treat this as a normal buy/sell arrangement and that she and I would have to visit the house to determine what we would offer if in fact she wanted the home. We did… she liked it… we made an offer.

    I negotiated with “the seller“on almost every issue including the commissions paid to me and my broker. On a number of occasions the deal almost fell through but with level minds and willing parties, we worked it out. We had the home inspections done and there were some items that needed addressing there as well and once again; the deal almost fell apart again but we were able to work it out. At this time, both parties had invested a lot of money both in inspections, items to repair, lender fees and more. Money that was saved for this occasion and the financial resources for “the buyer” were limited thus that is why she applied for the FHA/Plus loan. We now have satisfied all contingencies in the contract and 1 day before closing; the HUD underwriter said that “the buyer” could not close on this home because of and “identity of interest” issue. An Identity of Interest is any sales transaction between family or business relationships. Tell me please where this applies and what are we trying to prevent. She and her boss work for a non-profit…what is HUD worried about?
    The following is HUDS mission statement and this young lady and her family should be the perfect HUD poster family for doing the right thing and trying to create a great family dynamic.
    HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.

    Come on people in the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development… you got this one wrong and will not even give me the time to discuss why. Suggestions anyone???

    Thanks in advance..
    Preston Hall

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