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Mayor Vince Gray has announced his biggest nomination yet in Housing Complex’s world, for Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development: Victor L. Hoskins, a 53-year-old Chicago native plucked from the affordable housing consulting firm Quadel, where he’s been since 2009.
If you want to divine anything about Gray’s development priorities from his nominee’s resume, the message is pretty clear: Hoskins has extensive experience in leveraging private sector funds to create and preserve affordable housing. From 2003 to 2006, he served as Maryland Governor Robert Erlich‘s secretary of housing and community development, where he created new financing programs to preserve and modernize thousands of public housing units, as well as a “public interest” private equity fund to assist small business development. According to the press release announcing Hoskins’ departure, he restructured the state’s mortgage program, making it faster and easier for 4,500 families to become homeowners with $600 million in fixed-interest loans.
While there, he concentrated on workforce housing, ironically addressing the problem of too many District firemen, police officers, and teachers driving up housing prices. (Working for Gray, he’ll be trying to get those same middle-income-earners to live in the District—and he’ll have to move here as well).
“I think that we all would agree that we want our firemen, our teachers, our police officers” to live in our communities, Hoskins told the Baltimore Daily Record in 2005. “When people buy homes it helps us. It stabilizes communities, it increases the test scores of kids, it lowers crime, it’s everything positive,” Hoskins said.
Hoskins left Maryland government to work for Fannie Mae, where he was “responsible for leading the company’s Washington, D.C. community development investments and managing the Mid-Atlantic CBC teams, which include Maryland and Virginia, to achieve business goals focused on local housing and community development investments.”
Before joining Erlich’s administration, Hoskins spent time at UrbanAmerica, a Wall Street private equity firm that focuses on city real estate assets. The Baltimore Sun: “While he was there, the firm bought a shopping center in the Prince George’s County community of Oxon Hill, fixed up the parking lot, added more lighting, helped the merchants with their marketing and gave land to the local government to build a police station on site.”
The fact that Gray didn’t pick Hoskins for D.C.’s Department of Housing and Community Development suggests an even stronger focus on housing in his administration, while making a strong pitch for partnerships with the private sector. With so much fretting over D.C.’s bond rating, his familiarity with Wall Street is reassuring as well.