Asst. Sec. Mercedes Marquez to Leave HUD in May
Posted under Industry News on April 25, 2012
HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Mercedes Marquez has informed HUD field offices that she will step down from her post May 18, HUD officials have confirmed. At this time, no announcement on her replacement has been made.
Márquez came to HUD in 2009 as part of a housing “dream team” as the administration appointed some of the housing field’s best talent into its leadership posts. Having previously served as general manager of the Los Angeles Housing Department, Márquez is also an attorney who has specialized in public interest litigation including slumlord, fair housing, public housing, sexual harassment, employment discrimination, and constitutional issues cases.
During her time at HUD, she administered nearly $8 billion in programs designed to spur community development, affordable housing, as well as a variety of special needs assistance programs. One of the last projects Márquez will work on at HUD will be releasing enhancements to the Consolidated Plan that are expected to represent a major change in how communities will use the plan and, according to the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, “provide them [with] tools to achieve meaningful plans as the result of a priority-setting discussion.”
Look for Marquez’s article on changes to the Consolidated Plan to be published on Shelterforce.org in mid-May.
In a 2010 interview, Marquez told Shelterforce that on-the-ground stabilization efforts, particularly those implemented from the federal level, like NSP, had to be coupled—despite their manifest imperfections—with an aggressive upstream approach as well:
We have to be sober about how we got here. So much of it is where people were buying too much. We have to understand that having a legal piece of paper that says you’re the owner, when the conditions for you to remain an owner are so onerous, is that really homeownership? If you have equity in a property, if you can take out that home loan that’s going to help you buy the used car or that helps get your kid to college, that’s homeownership. If you can never build any equity, that’s a lease.
Honoring and helping our families do better is the American dream. What’s important is for people to have decent housing, and that their kids get to move on and get educated and get their dreams met. It doesn’t matter if you’re a renter or homeowner to do that.
Marquez’s departure from HUD marks the conclusion of her second turn at the agency, having first served as the senior counsel for civil rights and fair housing to HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo during President Clinton’s second term.