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HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to Keynote Prestigious NYHC and NHC 36th Annual New York Housing Awards Luncheon

Secretary Donovan to Focus on Solving the Nation’s Housing Foreclosure Crisis, the Future of HUD and Addressing the Affordable Housing Needs of Families in New York and Nationwide


New York (November 6, 2009) – The New York Housing Conference (NYHC) and the National Housing Conference (NHC) announced today that Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will deliver the keynote address at the NYHC and NHC 36th Annual Awards Luncheon on December 10. This annual event honors those who have made New York a better place to live and work and is one of the largest gatherings of housing professionals in the nation – attracting more than 1,200 attendees each year. As the keynote speaker, Secretary Donovan, formerly commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), will not only help celebrate the success of this year’s honorees, but he will also focus on responding to the national foreclosure crisis, the future of HUD and addressing the affordable housing needs of families in New York and nationwide.

Specifically, in his role at HUD, Secretary Donovan is fundamentally focused on innovation, transparency, and interagency collaboration at all levels of government – goals that are helping to transform the way federal housing policy is created and integrated at the state and local levels.

Each of this year’s honorees play an integral role in helping ensure that New Yorkers have the opportunity to live in decent, affordable rental or owned homes in a suitable neighborhood. Collectively, they represent some of the city’s most respected builders, owners, managers, professionals, government officials, lending institutions and social service organizations.

The 2009 Luncheon is particularly significant because it marks the inauguration of the Clara Fox Award for Outstanding Achievement. Named in honor of the legendary founder of NYHC, this first annual award will be bestowed upon Felice Michetti, who is the CEO of Grenadier Realty, one of the city’s largest private owners and managers of affordable housing. Ms. Michetti, who was HPD Commissioner during the Dinkins Administration, is widely credited with implementing many of the housing development goals set by Mayor Dinkins’ predecessor, Edward I. Koch.

Additional award recipients include:

  • Nonprofit Housing Developer of the Year: Adam Weinstein, president and CEO, Phipps Houses;
  • Private Housing Developer of the Year: BFC Partners; and
  • Public Service Award co-recipients Priscilla Almodovar, president and CEO, NY Homes and Deborah Van Amerongen, commissioner, New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

Robert O. Lehrman of Lodestone Banking Consultancy, Inc., who worked closely with Clara Fox for more than 15 years to coordinate the Luncheon, will again serve as chairman of the Awards Luncheon Committee.

“We are proud that Secretary Donovan has chosen our event to describe how the federal government is addressing the national crisis of home foreclosures. America’s housing industry is in the midst of an historic change, and Secretary Donovan will explain how HUD will address the affordable housing needs of hard working families throughout New York and the nation,” said NYHC CEO Judith Calogero.

"As the current economic climate continues to present challenges to the creation and preservation of affordable rental and owned homes, this year’s award recipients certainly deserve to be celebrated for their significant impact on the lives of low- to moderate-income families," said NHC President and CEO Conrad Egan. "And, as we have seen with Secretary Donovan’s initiatives, the lessons learned in New York will provide a framework for programs and policies at the national level."

It is important to note that the 2008 Luncheon honored Secretary Donovan with the Public Service Award for his work at HPD, specifically for his role as the architect and prime mover of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 10-year, $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace plan to create 165,000 units of affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers by 2013. Just days after the Luncheon, then President-Elect Barack Obama nominated him to be HUD Secretary. His return to this year’s event is symbolic of his commitment to a continued partnership with both NYHC and NHC to accomplish shared goals.

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Founded in 1973, the New York Housing Conference (NYHC) joined the National Housing Conference as its first regional affiliate in 1976. NYHC advocates for the housing needs of all New Yorkers through positive change in public policy and promotes adequate resources, workable regulations and to raise public awareness of the need for and benefits of affordable housing.

For more than 75 years, the nonprofit National Housing Conference (NHC) has been the United Voice for Housing. A membership drawn from every industry segment forms the foundation for NHC’s broad, nonpartisan advocacy for national policies and legislation that promote suitable housing in a safe, decent environment.

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Contact: Michele Anapol
(202) 466-2121 x226
manapol@nhc.org