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Shaun Donovan, Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, appeared before the Senate banking committee yesterday. 

Apparently, they were very excited to see him!

“He’s far more qualified than I was,” stated Senator Mel Martinez, who served as President Bush’s first housing secretary, according to the New York Times.

Donovan will not lack for work. Among the faltering policies and programs discussed:

-Hope for Homeowners—-the department’s main program to help homeowners avoid foreclosure—-which has been deemed a failure. “Mr. Donovan noted that while it was supposed to help 400,000 people, the voluntary program only received about 100 applications in its first month.”

-The “Neighborhood Stabilization Program,” which distributes nearly $4 billion to not always capable individuals* in state and local governments to buy foreclosed properties.

And, oh yes:

-Problems within the public housing system, like a “maintenance backlog that approaches $30 billion, homelessness, and outdated computer systems that can make budgeting all but impossible.”

*”Mr. Donovan expressed concern that some recipients of the money may not have experience in handling foreclosed properties. He promised an “outreach and education” campaign to help quicken the use of the funds,” according to the New York Times.








Photo courtesy of New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development.