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HUD is an acronym for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a government agency that was established in 1965. President Lyndon B. Johnson established HUD as part of an effort to combat poverty. Through its federal policies and programs, the agency ensures that all individuals in urban areas have access to quality housing that is inclusive and affordable.

Because it’s a cabinet-level federal agency, HUD is run by a secretary, who is appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. Among other responsibilities, the HUD Secretary supervises the Federal Housing Administration and manages public programs that aid in community development and provide citizens with rental assistance.

Through the FHA, HUD helps home buyers who don’t qualify for conventional loans obtain affordable mortgages. The FHA’s mortgage insurance program offers low-income home buyers, or those with bad credit, the ability to qualify for FHA loans, which are secured by the government.