HUD Secretary Martinez Will Visit Yale as a Chubb Fellow

Mel Martinez, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, will visit Yale University as a Chubb Fellow, with a lecture scheduled for April 15 at Luce Hall Auditorium, 34 Hillhouse Avenue, at 4:30 p.m.

The Chubb Fellowship will honor Martinez for his work in the public and private sectors, his active involvement in community activities and his understanding of the work of faith-based social service agencies. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Martinez is the nation’s 12th secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and took his oath of office on January 24, 2001. In nominating Martinez, President George W. Bush said: “Since leaving his Cuban homeland as a boy, Mel Martinez has been the embodiment of the American dream and has had great success in helping the people of his community obtain affordable housing and urban services.”

Martinez oversees the federal agency that creates opportunities for homeownership; helps create, rehabilitate and maintain the nation’s affordable housing; provides housing assistance for low-income persons; helps the homeless; and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. HUD works with local communities to help them meet their development needs, and Martinez has taken a leadership role in the national dialogue on growth management issues.

Under the leadership of Secretary Martinez, HUD is expanding homeownership opportunities, particularly for minority and low-income families, through budget initiatives and partnerships with community-based housing providers. Martinez has undertaken a comprehensive process to empower and protect homebuyers, and is working to simplify the homebuying process and reduce its cost to consumers.

Martinez is also working to ensure that HUD improves the quality and availability of public housing. His plan to stimulate affordable housing production by increasing FHA multifamily loan limits represents the first such increase in a decade.

Since assuming office, Martinez has also reactivated the Interagency Council on the Homeless and the joint homeless task force in an effort to end chronic homelessness.

Prior to his HUD appointment, Martinez was the elected chairman of Orange County, Florida, in Orlando, and served on the Governor’s Growth Management Study Commission. He previously served as president of the Orlando Utilities Commission, on the board of directors of a community bank and as chairman of the Orlando Housing Authority.

Born October 23, 1946, in Sagua La Grande, Cuba, Martinez and 14,000 other children fled to America as part of a Catholic humanitarian effort called Operation Pedro Pan in 1962. Catholic charitable groups provided Martinez, who was alone and spoke virtually no English, a temporary home at two youth facilities. He subsequently lived with two foster families, with whom he remains close. He was reunited with his family in Orlando in 1966.

Martinez graduated from Florida State University College of Law in 1973. During his 25 years of law practice in Orlando, he was actively involved in community activities. He served as vice president of the Board of Catholic Charities of the Orlando Diocese and has a deep appreciation for the work of faith-based social service agencies going back to his arrival in America almost 40 years ago. He and his wife Kitty have three children.

The Chubb Fellowship is devoted to encouraging and aiding Yale students interested in the operations of government, culture and public service. Established in 1936 through the generosity of Hendon Chubb (Yale 1895), the program is based in Timothy Dwight College. Each year three or four distinguished men and women have been appointed as Visiting Chubb Fellows. Chubb Fellows spend their time at Yale in close, informal contact with students, and deliver a public lecture. Among former Chubb Fellows have been Presidents George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter; authors Octavio Paz and Toni Morrison; Gov. Christine Todd Whitman; and journalist Walter Cronkite.

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