President-elect Barack Obama has picked the widely respected housing commissioner for New York City, Shaun Donovan, to be the secretary of housing in his cabinet.
...As chief of New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Mr. Donovan is in charge of the Bloomberg administration’s $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan to build or preserve 165,000 units for to low- and moderate-income families, housing up to 500,000 residents, by 2013.
It's probably good news for cities and affordable housing. Advocates have called for much more direct federal aid for public housing and other assistance, including tax-exempt financing, to finance affordable housing.
As I reported in June 2006:
...Before Congress, HPD’s Shaun Donovan offered two proposals to increase funds available to the city; one would “allow for 'recycling' or 'refunding' of multi-family bonds after principal repayments or pre-payments of the bonds.” The second would involve “raising the allocation of volume cap for high cost areas” like New York. (As HPD commissioner, Donovan also serves as chairman of the HDC.)
New York City needs a lot more "volume cap," an allocation of federal tax-exempt financing for projects like the proposed Atlantic Yards affordable housing, which has been jeopardized by a funding crisis. Such an increase could lessen the expected significant delays in the AY housing (which of course wouldn't get started until the project moves forward).
[Correction: the headline originally said HPD, not HUD.]