Eugene McQuade Remarks

Eugene McQuade's Remarks
President, Freddie Mac
Community Summit to End Homelessness
April 7, 2006

Thanks, Maxine [Baker]. Maxine, Ralph [Boyd] and our entire Community Relations team have been great leaders in our philanthropic efforts at Freddie Mac.

Eugene McQuadeOver the years, they’ve rallied thousands of our employees -- and the communities we live in – to a great cause: helping families at risk become self-sufficient.

From foster care work, to student mentoring programs, to helping the homeless, our Community Relations staff has made a real difference in people’s lives. I appreciate all your efforts. And I look forward to seeing them continue.

Now, let me welcome everyone else to Freddie Mac. Welcome to our home. We’re pleased to have you here.

We’ve come together for a vital purpose – to put an end to homelessness in Fairfax County. To help people who’ve hit bottom because they can’t find a job, had medical bills piling up, or had special needs that were not addressed.

There are many reasons why people end up on the streets. But the homeless all have the same desire. As Fortune magazine put it just this week, they don’t want “a 12-step program or a bed in a shelter. What they want is a room of their own.”

And the hope and dignity that come with it, as you well know.

This is the issue that brings us together today.

We’re fortunate that assistance will come not just from those here locally, but also those of you who’ve traveled from other towns, cities and counties.

Together, you form a national All-Star team of government officials, housing leaders, corporate executives and policy experts. You’re a great source of expertise, and a great source of inspiration. And we’re privileged to have you with us today.

Freddie Mac shares your commitment and dedication. As you know, we have a public purpose, given to us by Congress, to support residential housing in the United States.

We do this several ways:

  • We make it easier for people to afford a good house or apartment.
  • We make sure that banks always have money to lend for mortgages.
  • And we stabilize mortgage markets in crisis – from financial panics abroad to natural disasters at home, like Hurricane Katrina.

Most of the mortgages we buy support families with low or moderate incomes. But our efforts also help the homeless.

Through our Multifamily business, we increase the supply of transitional housing. As you know, these are apartment buildings where people have their own rooms and -- in many cases -- have social services delivered to them.

Transitional housing is a vital link between homeless shelters and a permanent place to call home. Nationwide, we’ve financed almost 25,000 transitional housing units across the nation. And we want to do more.

While Freddie’s mission is national in scope, our heart lies in the place our company calls home: Fairfax County.

Ours is a County that’s among the wealthiest in the nation. Yet the number of homeless here is the highest it’s been in years.

Our County proves that homelessness is not just a city issue, it’s a suburban one as well.

Our County proves that the homeless are comprised not only of single men, they include entire families as well.

In fact, in our County the average age of the homeless person is just 14 years old. Think about that. These are kids we’re talking about.

As a major corporate presence here, Freddie Mac refuses to sit idly by.

In addition to our business activities, we’re bringing additional resources to bear. Housing the homeless is now a much higher priority in our philanthropic efforts.

Through the Freddie Mac Foundation, we’re making grants to support transitional housing in our County. Last year we donated more than $700,000 for such properties and -- just as important -- the social services that help families get back on their feet.

Also, this June we will hold our annual fundraiser called Hoops for the Homeless. It’s our signature corporate event: a basketball tournament where money goes directly to non-profit organizations that help the homeless.

Last year, we raised $800,000 from corporate sponsors – and we’d like to do even better this year. All to benefit homeless organizations, including two here in our County: Shelter House and New Hope.

Once again, Magic Johnson will be joining us at the Hoops event. So come out to the Verizon Center in June. Not only will you be doing a good thing, you’ll have a good time.

Since Magic was a terrific basketball player, let me borrow a phrase from the legendary coach, John Wooden. He teaches us that star players don’t win games by themselves. Rather, as the Coach emphasizes: “It takes 10 hands to score a basket.”

Likewise, ending homelessness in Fairfax requires a team effort. All of us have a hand to lend, and a role to play.

On behalf of everyone at Freddie Mac, we appreciate those of you who live and work this issue everyday. Those who run the homeless shelters, who provide the care and counsel, who help the homeless restore dignity to their lives.

Thanks to you, we are a better County, we are a better nation.

Making Fairfax County better also drives our next speaker.

At Freddie Mac, we’ve been fortunate to work with Gerry Connolly over the years, and on many different housing issues. We’ve seen his leadership at work. And we’ve seen his dedication to improving the quality of life in our County.

Together, Gerry and the rest of the Board of Supervisors have adopted a number of policies to address homelessness. They’ve issued the challenge to put an end to it outright. And they’ve brought all of us here today to figure out how to do it.

Gerry, I speak for a lot of people in this room when I say, “Mr. Chairman, we are a proud citizen of Fairfax County. And when it comes to ending homelessness, we stand ready to act.”

Ladies and gentleman, Gerry Connolly. 

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