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Obama Chooses New York Official As Housing Secretary


U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has chosen New York City's housing commissioner as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Shaun Donovan has a national reputation for developing affordable housing.

Mr. Obama praised his nominee as housing secretary for his record in New York, where he managed a $7.5 billion plan that put 500,000 people in affordable housing.

"As Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development in New York City, Shaun has led the effort to create the largest housing plan in the nation, helping hundreds of thousands of our citizens buy or rent their homes," he said.

Donovan is credited with helping people who participated in the program avoid foreclosure. Of the 17,000 participating homes, only five were foreclosed.

The president-elect says the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, is especially important when so many families' homes have been jeopardized in the subprime mortgage crisis.

"From providing shelter to those displaced by Katrina to giving help to those facing the loss of a home to revitalizing our cities and communities, HUD's role has never been more important," he said.

In his Saturday radio address, Mr. Obama said the mortgage crisis has threatened cities, but it provides an opportunity for new thinking about ways to help urban residents.

"We cannot keep throwing money at the problem, hoping for a different result," said the president-elect. "We need to approach the old challenge of affordable housing with new energy, new ideas and a new, efficient style of leadership. We need to understand that the old ways of looking at our cities just will not do."

Donovan is Mr. Obama's twelfth cabinet nomination. The president-elect has yet to announce his choices for the Central Intelligence Agency, National Intelligence Director, U.S. Trade Representative, the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Energy, Education, Interior, Labor, Transportation and Agriculture.

Like several other Obama cabinet nominees, Donovan served in the Clinton administration, where he was deputy assistant secretary for multifamily housing in the department he has been chosen to lead.

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