Jackson Takes a Final Bow at HUD
He gave himself a couple of weeks to clean out his desk, clear out of his office and say his final goodbyes to his staff. After that, Alphonso Jackson will probably be looking for something a little less in the public eye…at least for a while.
Jackson gave notice on Monday of his intention to step down as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The official press conference came in the afternoon. However, like on so many occasions the press got wind of the announcement before it happened and started writing about it ahead of time.
For President Bush this is a pretty significant blow, since Jackson was helping to spearhead the Administration’s efforts to increase homeownership nationwide, as well as dealing with the mortgage crisis which has befallen this country.
The official release put out by HUD Monday addresses all of the positive accomplishments and impact Jackson has made while in office. One of the biggest projects Jackson was working on with HUD was the modernization of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), an agency that insures home loans for approved lenders against borrower default.
This project allows for a greater number of mortgages at higher loan limits to be sold on the secondary market, providing FHA insured loans to potential home buyers in more costly areas of the country. This will be a good thing in places like Southern California, for example.
The crux of the media stories, on the other hand, go to how some Democrats on Capitol Hill have strived to push Jackson out of office amid allegations of criminal behavior through political favoritism toward his friends in awarding HUD contracts.
Jackson has also been chastised for public comments he has made that have infuriated members of Congress up on the Hill.
The 13th HUD secretary since the agency was established in 1965, Jackson announced his official last day on the job as April 18. No potential replacement has been announced as of yet. HUD oversees a $35 billion annual budget and employs 9,200 workers.
But despite Jackson’s best intentions, and all of his hard work to promote homeownership, the bottom line is that given the present economic environment, many homes that were insured against foreclosure by the FHA are now sitting in HUD’s portfolio. These “HUD homes,” like any homes that go back to a lender who forecloses, are a good potential pool of resources for investors and wannabe homebuyers looking to purchase bargain real estate.