The U.S. housing market has just suffered its most significant downturn in our nation's history. Millions of people have lost their homes and millions more are struggling to avoid foreclosure. Others who want to buy a home can't due to tighter credit standards.  Vacancy rates for rental properties are falling while rents themselves are on the rise.  Why has the main component of the American Dream become such a nightmare for so many families, and how will Federal policymakers respond?

On Tuesday, October 2, 2012 former U.S. Senator and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Mel Martinez will give the 13th Annual John T. Dunlop Lecture, presented by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge. 

At this year’s Dunlop Lecture, Senator Martinez will discuss America's housing policy and what lawmakers must consider as they chart a course for recovery. Martinez, who currently serves as Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commissionand Chairman of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, will share his views on tax and regulatory policy, what has worked with regard to advancing a homeownership agenda, what reforms and initiatives are required to address the new American landscape, and what poses an ongoing risk to the housing market and the overall U.S. economy. Martinez will give particular focus to developing safe and affordable multi-family workforce housing, and creating a stable environment for a broader number of people to secure home financing outside of government-sponsored entities.

Mel Martinez served as the 12th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush.  In 2003, he resigned his cabinet post to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Florida, where his election made him the first Cuban-American to serve in the U.S. Senate.  During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Martinez served as a member on numerous committees including Banking, Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Energy and Natural Resources, Commerce and the Special Committee on Aging.  Senator Martinezis also past Chairman of the Republican Party, and was the first Latino to serve as chair of a major political party in the U.S.

The Dunlop Lecture will take place on Tuesday, October 2 at 6pm, at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (48 Quincy Street, Cambridge).  The event is free and open to the public.  For more information, visit www.jchs.harvard.eduor call (617) 495-7908.