Shaun Donovan took over the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) four years ago, during a full-blown housing crisis. Now, he’s at work on cleaning up another catastrophe, leading the Hurricane Sandy rebuilding efforts.
As former commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development, Donovan is a logical choice to oversee the recovery of his home state and the surrounding region rocked by the storm. And the valuable experience he’s gained at HUD will most certainly aid in that effort.
Of his first term at HUD, Donovan is most proud of his work on the initiatives he feels have been critical to the country’s post-recession health: the overall American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), and the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.
The Recovery Act, he says, created “not just jobs but a set of longer-term priorities in housing and community development,” an aspect of the legislation Donovan says has been “underappreciated.” And the NSP, he notes, has proved that rehab investments not only create construction jobs but revitalize neighborhoods, raise housing prices, and help restore equity, too.
Of the Re-Housing Program, Donovan says, simply, “It has begun to fundamentally change the way communities and … governments respond to homelessness, in a way I think will have powerful, lasting impacts.”
Chief among Donovan’s goals at HUD has been to “bring a team here that’s respected and seen as leaders in affordable housing, not just regulators.”
One can only imagine the passionate Donovan bringing that same commitment to rebuilding New York. MFE