The observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is in full swing across the country. They include festive celebrations of ethnic foods, traditional dances and speeches about the history of AAPIs in the United States.
As an immigrant who had to learn a new language and culture, I appreciate the needs of the newly-arrived and those who struggle to make a life in the United States. Having worked for twenty years as a community organizer for AAPIs and other underserved communities before joining the Obama Administration, I have advocated for changes in federal, state and city governments to improve access for undeserved communities to essential government services. Now the tables are turned. As the Interagency Working Group representative for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at the White House Initiative on AAPIs, I am tasked with working with our HUD team to effectuate changes at HUD according to our agency plan. I am proud to say that HUD has undertaken significant steps under the leadership of Secretary Shaun Donovan to improve services for AAPIs. Here are some examples:
These changes and increased engagement with AAPI communities enable HUD to be a more responsive and effective agency in serving all populations. Of course, more needs to be done so we look forward to partnering with the various AAPI communities to help continue the progress made by the White House Initiative on AAPIs.
Francey Lim Youngberg serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Engagement at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.