2008_12_sdonovan.jpgPresident-elect Barack Obama has named NYC's Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Shaun Donovan to lead the cabinet position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Barbara Sard, director of housing policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, tells the NY Times, “Shaun is brilliant, really thoughtful and creative, and knowledgeable about a broad range of housing policies in ways that unfortunately is very unusual."

Donovan was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg to the NYC HPD in March 2004 and had been heading the Mayor's New Housing Marketplace Plan, a $7.5 billion effort to create affordable housing for over 500,000 New Yorkers. This fall, the cit announced that 82,509 units of affordable housing had been created—a half-way mark—and that the HPD started construction or preservation on over 17,000 units of affordable housing. The Daily News explains, "Donovan has tried to develop affordable housing in New York by giving builders incentives to include low and middle-income units in their market-rate developments."

Donovan, who is a trained architect and lives in Brooklyn, had taken two weeks off before to election to help with Obama's campaign. He was also deputy assistant secretary of HUD under President Clinton and, in the private sector, he worked at Prudential Mortgage Capital, overseeing FHA lending and affordable housing investments. The Times notes that though Donovan was a leading contender to be HUD secretary, "Some housing experts suggested that he might not get the top job, in part because Hispanic groups were pressing for a Hispanic candidate." Indeed, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr.'s name had been mentioned for the position.

Senator Chuck Schumer is thrilled with the appointment: "Shaun Donovan has been one of the most effective housing commissioners in New York City’s history. At this time, with the housing crisis raging, he is exactly the kind of person we need as HUD secretary.”