Essays on People, Place & Purpose

Investing in What Works for America's Communities

Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

It is not enough to focus only on economic circumstances of individual families; we must also be clear-eyed about the opportunities and stressors that surround them where they live.

Shaun Donovan was sworn in as the 15th U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development on January 26, 2009. He has devoted his career to ensuring access to safe, decent, and affordable housing, and has continued that effort in the Obama administration. Secretary Donovan believes that America’s homes are the foundation for family, safe neighborhoods, good schools, and job creation. His tenure as HUD Secretary has reflected his commitment to making quality housing possible for every American. Sworn in at a time when the foreclosure crisis had devastated American families, under Secretary Donovan’s leadership HUD has helped stabilize the housing market and worked to keep responsible families in their homes. The agency has instituted reforms that have solidified the Federal Housing Administration’s financial position and protected the taxpayer against risk, while still preserving FHA’s mission of providing responsible access to homeownership. Prior to HUD, Secretary Donovan served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Secretary Donovan previously served in the Clinton administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing at HUD, where he was the primary federal official responsible for privately-owned multifamily housing. He also served as acting FHA Commissioner during the Clinton/Bush presidential transition. Prior to his first service at HUD, he worked at the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) in New York City, a nonprofit lender and developer of affordable housing. He also researched and wrote about housing policy at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and worked as an architect. Secretary Donovan holds a BA and masters’ degrees in public administration and Architecture from Harvard.

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About The Project

Investing in What Works for America’s Communities is a joint project of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund.

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Tell Us What Works

The ideas in Investing in What Works for America’s Communities are just a start. We want to hear about what’s working in your community. Tell us about innovative ideas for addressing poverty and share examples of people and places that inspire you. We want to share these ideas and spark conversation about how to create opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. Tell Us What Works

Funding for this project was generously provided to the Low Income Investment Fund by the Citi Foundation.