Bush poised to tap woman from Randallstown for HUD

Would oversee fairness, equality in housing

March 29, 2002|By David L. Greene | David L. Greene,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

WASHINGTON - President Bush is set to nominate a Randallstown woman who runs a nonprofit that seeks affordable housing for seniors to a top post at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the White House announced yesterday.

Carolyn Y. Peoples, 56, a Baltimore County native, would become assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity if confirmed by the Senate. She said in an interview last night that the toughest task awaiting her is to address a "backlog" of complaints from people around the country who say they were denied housing illegally - because of their race, for example, or a disability.

"People look to the government to correct some of these wrongs," she said. "When someone's rights are violated, that is a serious matter."

Peoples would report directly to HUD Secretary Mel Martinez. Her primary role, according to agency documents, would be to "protect the housing rights of all Americans under the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968."

Peoples runs Jeremiah Housing Services, a nonprofit she founded three years ago to help find suitable homes for the needy who are elderly. Earlier, she worked for Catholic Charities as director of operations in the housing division.

A Republican with no experience in public service, Peoples became frustrated two years ago when, she said, the city applied for and was denied a federal grant that would have helped place many of her clients in homes. After that, she said, she began seeking a new opportunity.

"I've been in a holding pattern," said Peoples, who credited Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Baltimore County Republican, for pushing her nomination.

Peoples, who spent most of her childhood in Baltimore City, received a bachelor's degree in finance and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Baltimore.

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