Monday, March 16, 2009

Secretary Donovan Says HUD Agenda Will Focus on Both Homeowners and Renters, As Well As Urban Development

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has an enormous task ahead of itself, as housing has become the focus of sustained national attention and foreclosures continue to impact millions of families across America.

A recent edition of “All Things Considered,” a show featured on National Public Radio, details the more prominent role that HUD will play in the Administration under Shaun Donovan, the agency's new secretary, as it tries to restructure housing in America.

While the radio piece emphasizes Donovan's commitment to helping struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure under the new $75 billion housing relief plan, the segment also focuses on his deep understanding of and experience with strategies that incorporate the needs of renters.

As the former housing commissioner of New York City, Donovan is well-versed in programs designed to expand the stock of rental housing that is affordable to all. At a time when the supply of rental housing was drying up in New York City, Donovan created a $230 million acquisition fund to provide capital for affordable-housing developers. Among other strategies, Donovan also implemented the use of inclusionary zoning policies – which grant developers the maximum height for their market-rate residences if they agree to build low-cost housing as well. To date, this program has created 1,833 units of affordable housing in the city.

Further reinforcing the secretary’s comprehensive approach to housing, Donovan says:
"In terms of my own work, historically, I understand that home ownership is not an entire national housing policy. Rental housing has a critical role to play, as does what I think has really been a neglected part of HUD's mission: Remember, there's not just housing in the title of this agency, but urban development. We need to put the 'UD' back in HUD."
Read more here.

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