If elected president of the United States, Mitt Romney has said that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) might not be around for long, according to reports. This unprecedented move could be a disaster for people of color who rely on public housing in urban areas across the country.

In New York City, shutting down HUD could mean the end of the New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA) and Section 8. David Jones, president and CEO of the Community Service Society of New York, said that cutting HUD would result in devastating damage.

“More than 300,000 people live in NYCHA and an equal number are receiving Section 8,” he said. “The consequences would be catastrophic. This city would implode if there was serious effort to undermine the subsidy program of NYCHA.”

Initially reported by NBC, the presumed Republican presidential candidate made the comment at a private fundraiser. Ironically, Romney’s father served as secretary of HUD from 1969 to 1973 under President Richard Nixon, after his term as the governor of Michigan.

“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Eliminate some, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”

In a statement, Romney’s camp said that he is looking to make cuts across the board in an effort to improve the economy and wants to give states the choice about what to spend money on.

“Gov. Romney is committed to finding areas in the federal government where he can increase efficiency and reduce spending,” a spokesperson reportedly said. “He is also interested in returning to the states responsibility and resources for programs that they can more efficiently and effectively administer.”

HUD is the umbrella for several government housing programs, including public housing, Section 8 and helping families with foreclosure and mortgages. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 14.3 million Americans are in need of aid from HUD, a large number of them Black and Latino Americans.