HUD’s Got a New Man: It’s New York’s Donovan

In an announcement that topped off a radio address given Saturday, President-elect Barack Obama nominated New York City’s commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development, Shaun Donovan, as the next secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Once the acting general deputy assistant secretary for housing, Donovan will take over for commissioner Brian Montgomery after the transition to the Obama Administration next year. “One in ten families who owns a home is now in some form of distress, the most ever recorded,” Obama said, according to a transcript of his address. “This is deeply troubling. It not only shakes the foundation of our economy, but the foundation of the American Dream.” Obama said the keys to go about addressing affordable housing are new ideas and more “efficient” leadership that looks at cities as the “backbone of regional growth.” He went on to say Donovan is a prime candidate who understands this concept. Obama praised his efforts as commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development in New York City, where he led the effort to create a large housing plan to help thousands of our citizens buy or rent their homes. “This appointment represents something of a homecoming for Shaun, who worked at HUD in the Clinton administration, leading an effort to help make housing affordable for nearly 2 million Americans,” he said. “Trained as an architect, Shaun understands housing down to how homes are designed, built, and wired.” Obama stressed Donovan’s fresh thinking, free from “old ideology and outdated ideas,” again distancing himself and his administration from the eight years of President George W. Bush’s administration. “[Donovan] understands that we need to move past the stale arguments that say low-income Americans shouldn’t even try to own a home or that our mortgage crisis is due solely to a few greedy lenders,” Obama said. “He knows that we can put the dream of owning a home within reach for more families, so long as we’re making loans in the right way, and so long as those who buy a home are prepared for the responsibilities of homeownership.” Donovan became commissioner of New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development in 2004, and had previously served in HUD during the Clinton administration. Write to Diana Golobay at

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