Washington, D.C.– The Bipartisan Policy Center congratulates Pam Patenaude on her confirmation by the Senate today as deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
From 2011 to 2014, Patenaude served as the director of BPC’s Housing Commission, a bipartisan 21-member panel that issued a landmark report outlining a new direction for federal housing policy. The commission was co-chaired by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, former Sen. Kit Bond, former HUD Sec. Henry Cisneros, and former senator and HUD Sec. Mel Martinez. The commission offered a broad range of recommendations on affordable rental housing, sustainable homeownership, rural housing, and senior housing. Its recommendations for housing finance reform helped reignite congressional interest in reform and served as a foundation for legislation that was favorably reported out of the Senate Banking Committee.
“BPC created the Housing Commission to engage on some of the toughest issues facing Washington policymakers coming out of the financial crisis. Thanks to Pam’s leadership, we were able to develop what many thought was impossible—a comprehensive bipartisan blueprint for reforming the GSE’s and creating more affordable rental housing,” said BPC President Jason Grumet. “Pam’s broad housing expertise and ability to work across the aisle will be critical as Congress and the administration seek to improve the grave housing situation in our nation.”
More than 11 million households spend in excess of 50 percent of their income on rent alone. A major driver of these high rent burdens is the acute shortage of affordable rental homes for the lowest-income families. The national homeownership rate has also declined significantly, with many potential first-time homebuyers shut out of the market.
As highlighted by BPC’s Housing Commission, these challenges will likely intensify over the coming decade as a result of powerful demographic trends now underway.
Learn more about the 2013 Housing Commission report on BPC’s website.