Next year, there will be more than a new commander-in-chief taking office. With him will come a slew of cabinet appointees, including a national housing chief. However, taking control of the reins at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is no easy task. In fact, it will likely be one of the toughest choices the new administration has to make, especially considering the hullabaloo surrounding the resignation of HUD's head honcho Alphonso Jackson last month.
At this point, it is only speculation as to who will step in at HUD in 2009, but AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE, a sister publication to MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE, can offer some insight. The editors conducted an exclusive online poll of its readers in January 2008, asking them to nominate their candidates for HUD. The result is a list of compelling choices to consider this election season.
The top three vote-getters were:
Until this winter, Harvey was chairman of Enterprise Community Partners and Enterprise Community Investment. He took over leadership in 1993 from co-founder James W. Rouse after spending close to 10 years working with Rouse to further Enterprise's mission of providing decent, affordable housing and a path out of poverty for low-income families. Harvey was among the pioneers behind the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program more than 20 years ago, advocating for the program and structuring early deals. Before joining Enterprise, he worked at the investment bank Dean Witter. Harvey received a whopping 41 percent of the votes.
Peterson is a principal in the Sacramento, Calif., office of the Reznick Group, a national accounting and advisory firm. She is well known and well regarded in the affordable housing industry. She served as executive director of the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee and legal counsel for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. California has the largest allocation of LIHTCs in the nation. Peterson's tally put her squarely in second place.
Anthony is president, founder, and executive director of Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH), a Boston-based nonprofit organization focused on preserving existing affordable housing. POAH has rescued and refinanced more than 4,500 units of affordable rental housing around the country. Anthony served as secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Communities and Development and was part of the HUD Transition Team for President Bill Clinton in 1992.
Other candidates receiving votes in the online poll were Shaun Donovan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and a former deputy assistant secretary at HUD; and Joseph P. Riley Jr., mayor of Charleston, S.C., and a former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Editor's note: Being on this list of possible candidates does not indicate that the individual is seeking the post or would accept it, should it be offered. The editors compiled this list with reader input in the belief that the housing industry must be proactive in suggesting quality candidates to the next president.
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