Obama's HUD nominee draws praise from all sides

Advocacy groups, legislators welcome Shaun Donovan.

A wide range of groups -- from those serving the homeless to realtors and bankers -- have lauded the selection of Shaun Donovan as HUD Secretary nominee for the Obama administration.

Obama tapped Donovan, commissioner of New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Saturday, noting he would bring "fresh thinking, unencumbered by old ideology and outdated ideas" to the position.

The post has traditionally been a back-bencher spot and the selection of a secretary has been determined by political considerations as much as policy expertise.

Donovan brings a strong resume of housing experience, previously serving as an executive at Prudential Mortgage Capital Co. in charge of its affordable housing investments. During the Clinton administration, he was deputy assistant secretary for multifamily housing at HUD and served as interim commissioner for the Federal Housing Administration.

Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, called Donovan "a visionary, brilliant, and practical leader" who is "desperately needed" to deal with the housing crisis. National Association of Realtors President Charles McMillan said Donovan's "hands-on experience in the private and nonprofit sectors will be extremely helpful." Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said Donovan is an "expert on the full range of housing issues and has a proven track record of getting things done."

Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., also applauded the nomination, saying he would try to schedule a confirmation hearing early next year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called him "uniquely qualified to lead HUD in these troubled economic times," and said she welcomed his "swift confirmation." Donovan will tackle numerous challenges at the agency as record foreclosure rates strike some cities. He will also be under pressure to expand rental housing assistance through programs such as Section 8 vouchers.