Dedicated to empowering the Hispanic community and bridging disparities in housing, procurement, and hiring practices
As we approach the end of Hispanic Heritage Month 2023, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) officially announces its Inaugural Latino Task Force. This task force is part of a larger initiative across the Federal Government to enhance educational and economic opportunities for Hispanics and Latinos.
“It is my honor to serve alongside talented, unique, and hard-working public servants of all backgrounds, including the Latino community” HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “I am in awe of the work our Hispanic colleagues have done to create the inaugural Latino Task Force, a group that will bring us closer to accomplishing our agency’s pledge to equity, inclusion, and diversity.”
The Task Force will assemble career and political staff from all corners of the agency to promote economic opportunities for the Hispanic community, drive new policy initiatives to advance equity for the Hispanic community, and create a more inclusive Department through language access, procurement, and hiring. The Task Force was created in response to the Executive Order on the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics, announced in September 2021.
“As leaders of this Department, we have an incredible opportunity to shape how housing policies affect the Latino community across the country,” said Elizabeth de Leon Bhargava, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Administration. “If we want to see a meaningful impact on policies, there need to be people at the table with the lived experience that can influence those decisions.”
Over 20 HUD employees participated in the Task Force’s inaugural meeting, led by Assistant Secretary Bhargava, the highest-ranking Latina leader at HUD. Together, this group aims to achieve the following goals:
- Workforce Development and Economic Success
- Highlight and uplift current HUD policies affecting the Latino community.
- Identify improvement opportunities in HUD policies and communications.
- Federal Procurement and Economic Opportunity
- Lower barriers to entry for procurement opportunities.
- Federal Workforce Opportunity
- Identify ways to bolster Latino hiring at HUD.
- Increase access to HUD opportunities by ensuring Spanish language access across the Department’s applications and policies.
The U.S. Hispanic population stands at 62.1 million, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. This means Hispanics account for 19 percent of all Americans – the largest ethnic-racial minority group in the country. Research shows that Hispanics experience severely inadequate housing at double the rate of non-Hispanics. In the 2019 “Worst Case Housing Needs” report to Congress, HUD found that between 2017 and 2019, nearly 25 percent of Hispanic households met the criteria for worst needs, either paying more than one-half of income toward housing costs, living in severely inadequate conditions, or both.
Despite progress, representation of Hispanics in the federal workforce is still lacking. Participation rates for Hispanics in the Civilian Labor Force (CLF) for HUD stands at nearly 9 percent, representing only 706 total employees who identify as Latino or Hispanic.
For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s initiatives to advance opportunity, equity, and inclusion for Hispanic Americans, see here.