HUD Secretary: No Other President in History ‘Better Understands’ Need for Public Housing Than Obama

By Nicholas Ballasy | March 29, 2011 | 3:18 PM EDT

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan (AP Photo)

( - Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan said that no other President “better understands” the need for public housing than President Obama, adding that the administration will “fight” House Republicans over their proposed cut to public housing funding.

“Barack Obama didn’t come to Washington to let your homes be sold off to the highest bidder or let them decay so badly that they won’t be there for future generations and neither did I,” he told the National Low Income Housing Coalition conference in Washington on Monday.

“Let’s not forget, let’s not forget that President Obama got his first job out of school community organizing on the South Side of Chicago in public housing. No other President in our history better understands what a precious resource public housing is to our communities, to our country, and to our future.”

Donovan continued, “For too many years, public housing has been, not been seen in Washington as the precious resource that it is. You all know that there’s 20 to 30 billion dollars of renovations that are needed in public housing around the country and yet we have a Congress right now, at least one side of the isle, that’s not increasing funding for public housing, their trying to cut it back – a billion dollar cut from the public housing capital fund for this year alone, that’s not even including what could happen next year. So, we need to fight against those cuts.”

Donovan also called on Congress to create a permanent funding source for public housing this year.

“We believe there needs to be legislation drawn up this year, whether it passes this year or not, it’s critical that that legislation, when it is drawn up by Congress include a replacement for the trust fund that never got funded by Fannie and Freddie,” he said.

“That is the direction that we should all take together, that is what we should  work on together is to ensure that there is that permanent funding source in whatever system gets set up by Congress – that’s a fight that’s going to happen this year in Congress.”