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Former BPC Housing Director Tapped for HUD Deputy

Washington, D.C.– The Bipartisan Policy Center applauds President Trump’s decision to nominate Pam Patenaude to serve as deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and calls upon the Senate to act swiftly on her nomination.

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 report offered a broad range of recommendations on affordable rental housing, sustainable homeownership, rural housing, and senior housing. Its recommendations for housing finance reform helped re-ignite congressional interest in reform and served as a foundation for legislation that was favorably reported out of the Senate Banking Committee.

Thanks to Pam’s able leadership, we were able to develop what many thought was impossible—a comprehensive bipartisan blueprint for action in housing.

“BPC created the Housing Commission to engage on some of the toughest issues facing Washington policymakers and at a time when America was still reeling from the financial crisis. Thanks to Pam’s able leadership, we were able to develop what many thought was impossible—a comprehensive bipartisan blueprint for action in housing,” said BPC President Jason Grumet.

As Congress and the administration work to reduce the federal budget deficit, the HUD budget will continue to be under enormous strain. Yet just one in four households eligible for federal rental assistance receive such help today.

“The administration made a very wise decision in selecting Pam for this important position. She deeply appreciates HUD’s critical affordable-housing mission and possesses an expert understanding of the department’s programs and people,” said Martinez. “Pam is also widely respected within the broader housing industry. She will be a tremendous asset to Secretary Carson as he navigates the many challenges before him.”

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.

“Pam is exactly the right person in the right job at the right time. She has broad housing expertise and a demonstrated ability to work across the aisle to achieve substantive results,” said Cisneros. “With the situation in housing so grave, we need Pam confirmed swiftly so she can get to work at HUD on behalf of the American people.”