Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary, and witnesses. I commend the cosponsors of this important legislation. Legislation transforming the way housing programs are run is long overdue. The current public housing laws do not sufficiently promote employment or social advancement.
The public housing issues and needs are much different in my home state of Wyoming than those in most other parts of America, since Wyoming is nearly 100 percent rural. Wyoming has one statistically urban area, Cheyenne, with a population of 50,006.
Individuals can only advance their lives financially and economically if they have adequate housing. I believe that people can advance even more if they own a home. I personally experienced this when I was mayor of Gillette, Wyoming and saw the importance of homeownership. When people own a home, they take a more active and responsible role in their families and communities. With ownership, comes pride and responsibility. With pride and responsibility come better communities. Individuals will also advance their lives financially if they have the incentives to do so. I am pleased to see S.462 has included opportunities for low-income tenants to be assisted in public housing homeownership and has provided the incentives, rather than disincentives for individuals to advance themselves through employment and a higher income.
I have always been one who believes that the best decisions are made at the level closest to the people it affects. S.462 will give more responsibility and flexibility to decision-making at the local level. In Wyoming local decision-making is especially important given the fact that everyone knows everyone. The people of Wyoming trust the decisions made by the locals because they know the people making the decisions.
I believe that S.462 is a good start in reforming
the public housing programs. It will help further the
HUD Mission to provide "a decent home and a suitable
living environment for every American family." It will
put the decision making authority back where it belongs
in the local governments and housing authorities
instead of a large federal bureaucracy that does not
realize the special needs of each community or state.
I look forward to finding more out about this bill from
the perspectives of the witnesses who are involved in
the various issues we will discuss today.
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