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HUD Secretary, Housing Experts Discuss Federal Approach to Housing

Leading policymakers, including the new ""Department of Housing and Urban Development"":http://www.hud.gov (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, practitioners, and housing and economic experts from around the country came together February 12-13 in New York. Their objective - ""to harness the extraordinary opportunity presented by the economic crisis to reconsider the federal approach to housing policy,"" the meeting organizer's said in a press statement.
Professor Vicki Been, director of the ""Furman Center"":http://www.furmancenter.org, explained the significance of the gathering. ""For too long, housing policy has been seen as an issue that only affects developers, low income neighborhoods, or city governments,"" Been said. ""But the events of the last few years have underscored how interdependent the housing sector, the health of our national economy, and the welfare of our citizens has become.""
The conference, ""A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Transforming America’s Housing Policy,"" was convened by the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University, with support from the ""Rockefeller Foundation"":http://www.rockfound.org and the ""MacArthur Foundation"":http://www.macfound.org. The agenda included a series of discussions evaluating all aspects of America’s housing crisis, from fundamental flaws in the mortgage finance system to unsustainable land use planning.
Leading innovators in government, academia, finance, and development debated policy directions for the future of the country's mortgage finance system, new models of homeownership, bridging the gaps between housing policy and energy, transportation, education policy, and federal rental assistance programs. Guest speakers included Bruce Katz, who led the Obama-Biden HUD Agency Review Team; former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros; and the newly appointed HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
Judith Rodin, the Rockefeller Foundation's president, commented, ""We are energized and encouraged that Secretary Donovan chose to join this crucial dialogue. America's need for innovative urban policy reform has never been greater. It is critical that we use the current housing and financial crises as an opportunity to rethink federal housing policies, especially as they relate to transportation, energy, and financial markets.""
The issues and recommendations discussed at the conference will be turned into a concrete list of policy recommendations to be shared with President Obama and Congress, conference organizers said. The Furman Center will publish these recommendations in a white paper, to be released in April and disseminated widely throughout Washington and among policymakers at the local level.
MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan Fanton, said, ""This conference brings together some of the best thinkers in the country on housing issues at a critical moment in America’s housing crisis. Together we must help lay the groundwork for a new, more effective era of housing policies.""

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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