Outgoing Housing and Urban Development Secretary Carla A. Hills defended her record and her department yesterday, charging that Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.) demonstrated "total ignorance" or intentionally distorted the facts Monday when he said that HUD was "in a shambles."
Listing of accomplishments in a bitting letter to Proxmire, Hills said the chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Committee "has an obligation to the public to understand - not grandstand" in assessing HUD's performance.
At confirmation hearings Monday for Patricia Roberts Harris, named by president-elect Jimmy Carter to succeed Hills, Proxmire said HUD needed a secretary familiar with federal familiar with federal housing and urban policies, not another "brilliant lawyer" without a "track record" in the field. Hills, like Harris, had no experience in housing administration before being appointed HUD Secretary.
Proxmire called Hills and her predecessor, James T. Lynn, "failures" because HUD started only 41,000 units of subsidized housing last year, a fraction of the 600,000-a year goal Congress has set for the department.
Yessterday, Hills told Proxmire that "your saying that HUD is in shambles does not make it so.
The record demonstrate to the country."
She cited the department's record in reserving funds for new subsidized housing units (to be built in the future) its urban homesteading program and its complection of 1,091 flood-insurance rate studies as examples of HUD's successes since she became secretary in March 1975.