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HUD   >   About HUD   >   Principal Staff   >   Secretary Donovan

Secretary Shaun Donovan Secretary Shaun Donovan

On January 26, 2009, Shaun Donovan was sworn in as the 15th United States Secretary for Housing and Urban Development.

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.

In December 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and appointed Secretary Donovan as Chair. The Task Force is charged with creating a comprehensive regional plan, based on local vision for redevelopment, to guide long term disaster recovery efforts. This appointment built on his experience with disaster-related recovery and rebuilding challenges from a national perspective in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Together with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, he led the President’s Long-Term Disaster Working Group composed of more than 20 federal agencies. The Group worked closely with State and local communities, as well as experts and stakeholders from around the nation, to create the National Disaster Recovery Framework published in 2011.

Secretary Donovan has reaffirmed HUD’s commitment to building strong, sustainable, inclusive neighborhoods that are connected to education and jobs and provide access to opportunity for all Americans. He has launched new initiatives like Choice Neighborhoods, which will enable distressed communities to use proven mixed-use, mixed-finance tools to transform not just federally-assisted housing, but the neighborhoods around that housing. And through the new Sustainable Communities partnership with the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, HUD is helping regions and communities develop comprehensive housing and transportation plans that create jobs and help American businesses out-innovate their global competitors.

Secretary Donovan has a long history of working to provide affordable housing to American families. He previously served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). He created and implemented HPD's New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 affordable homes, the largest municipal affordable housing plan in the nation's history.

His work at HPD included the New York City Acquisition Fund, an award-winning collaboration with foundations and banks to finance affordable housing; an innovative inclusionary zoning program; an ambitious supportive housing plan; and the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, one of the earliest responses to the foreclosure crisis. Before his service as HPD Commissioner, Secretary Donovan worked in the private sector on financing affordable housing, and was a visiting scholar at New York University, where he researched and wrote about the preservation of federally-assisted housing.

He was also a consultant to the Millennial Housing Commission on strategies for increasing the production of multifamily housing. The Commission was created by the United States Congress to recommend ways to expand housing opportunities across the nation. Secretary Donovan rejoins HUD after his previous service in the Clinton administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing, where he was the primary federal official responsible for privately-owned multifamily housing. At that time, he ran housing programs that helped 1.7 million families access affordable 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 non-profit 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 B.A. and Masters degrees in Public Administration and Architecture from Harvard.