AUSTIN (KXAN) — 50 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act, creating HUD as a Cabinet-level agency to oversee the newly funded housing programs.
On Wednesday at the LBJ Library, HUD Secretary Julián Castro delivered the keynote address to commemorate the historic legislative milestone.
“Although the idea was a decade in-the making, HUD came to life out of President Johnson’s vision for a Great Society, his declaration for a War on Poverty, and his belief in government’s power to right wrongs and expand opportunity for all,” said Castro in his address.
Castro also used East Austin as an example of why affordable housing is such an important issue the country is facing.
“He [LBJ] would see what we all see, but don’t like to talk about. He would look outside these doors across I-35 to East Austin. On the one hand, I bet he’d be amazed to see the changing landscape. New apartments next to new restaurants and growing businesses. But President Johnson would also ask the tough questions. What are we doing for the East Austinites who have lived there for generations? Can they afford rising rents? Will they be there to experience the rebirth of their neighborhood? And I’m not picking on Austin. This contradiction is an American reality today. On the one hand, we’re living in a Century of Cities – a time when people are falling in love with cities again.”