On Wednesday, April 6th, Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development led a White House Youth Roundtable for Hunter College students at Roosevelt House. The event was moderated by FDR Visiting Fellow Dr. Jonathan Fanton.
INTRODUCTION OF SHAUN DONOVAN
SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6, 2011
It is a great pleasure to welcome my good friend Shaun Donovan to Hunter College’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. When I invited Secretary Donovan to come to Hunter he quickly agreed because he wants to have a conversation with students about housing and urban development policy but also about what is on your minds – what issues concern you, what advice do you have for The Secretary and The President.
So our format is straightforward. After a brief introduction, Secretary Donovan will open with a few comments and then invite your questions. He is on his way back to Washington so we have a hard stop at 4:30.
He is the 15th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and I believe the best prepared. After receiving his B.A. and two masters degrees at Harvard, one in Architecture and the other in Public Administration, he devoted himself to making cities better places to live and work for all Americans.
Affordable housing has been the center piece of his career in the private sector as a visiting scholar at NYU, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing in the Clinton Administration and as New York City’s Housing Commissioner under Mayor Bloomberg. Here he launched the New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 affordable houses. We worked together when I was at The MacArthur Foundation because he appreciated the critical role of affordable rental housing at a time when most people were fixed on home ownership during the Bush years. To advance rental housing preservation he started the New York City Acquisition Fund, a model for the nation.
In his bio I note he was President Obama’s designated survivor during the 2010 State Of The Union address. Shaun Donovan is more than a survivor, he is a visionary leader determined to make urban America once more a pathway of opportunity for all Americans, including those newly arrived.
In his tenure as Secretary he has assembled an outstanding leadership team to reshape HUD. He has rolled out a 6.6 billion dollar program to help cities stabilize neighborhoods reeling from the ongoing foreclosure crisis. He has launched innovative programs like Sustainable Communities and Choice Neighborhoods, and he has streamlined the maze of separate rental subsidy programs and strengthened support for public housing.
Students and faculty, it is my pleasure to give the floor to my friend and inspiration, Secretary Shaun Donovan.