In late 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced President Donald J. Trump’s appointment of Joseph P. Galvan as the Regional Administrator of HUD’s Midwest Regional Office.
Galvan served in the same capacity in President George W. Bush’s administration from 2001 to January 2009. A Mexican American, Galvan is one of 10 HUD Regional Administrators appointed across the United States, and is responsible for the oversight and delivery of HUD programs and services across Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. He studied to be a Jesuit priest early in his career, then turned his attention to housing, public affairs, and urban planning in college.
Corp! asked Galvan about his inspiration for working in housing and about the December 2017 announcement of $2.4 million in HUD funding to help Michigan families.
Corp!: Where did you grow up?
Joseph Galvan: In Chicago’s near south side in the Chinatown neighborhood. I went to a Catholic high school in a Polish Lithuanian neighborhood called Bridgeport.
Corp!: What was your first job and what did you learn from it?
JG: My first unpaid job was working with my dad. He was a janitor. He worked in a local grammar school and that is where I learned to love to read. He would take me [to work] when I was growing up and I would sneak off to the school library and read all these books. My first paid job was when I was in high school. I was 16 and worked for the Vienna Sausage Company and delicatessen. In the deli, there were three ladies and a manager. They were all [Jewish] survivors of the Holocaust. They taught me a lot about working hard and the value of life.
Corp!: Who was your mentor?
JG: My dad. He was physically handicapped, but never let it stand in the way of providing for his family. He taught me the values of faith, family and country.
Corp!: What brought you back to HUD?
JG: I have always been attracted to housing. I remember taking the bus [growing up] and looking at places in Chicago and thinking about how people could live in these areas. I love this job because you can effectuate change. One of the biggest reasons I came back was to be able to work under HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson.
Corp!: What goals do you hope to accomplish?
JG: I know Secretary Carson is [asking] how do we lift people out of poverty, how do we move people forward? Through the EnVision Centers, we will … make change. (Editor’s note: Announced in Detroit by Carson in early December, EnVision Centers is a new initiative designed to help HUD-assisted households. According to a press release, through results-driven partnerships with federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, corporations, public housing authorities, and housing finance agencies, EnVision Centers will leverage public-private resources for maximum community impact.)
Corp!: Tell us about the $2.4 million in HUD funding to Michigan.
JG: HUD marked the 25th anniversary of the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program by awarding $75 million nationally, including nearly $2.4 million to Michigan to continue helping public housing residents and those participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program to further their education and find good jobs. Family Self-Sufficiency funding is critical in our effort to empower HUD assisted residents by giving them a hand up towards independence and an opportunity to reach their full potential.
(Editor’s note: According to the HUD website, the FSS Program helps local Public Housing Authorities to hire Service Coordinators who work directly with residents to connect them with programs and services that already exist in the local community. The program aims to help participating families find jobs, increase earned income, reduce or eliminate the need for rental and/or welfare assistance, and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.)