Pam Patenaude Confirmation at a Critical Time as HUD Begins Massive Post-Hurricane Housing Recovery Effort
On September 14, 2017, the Senate voted to confirm Pam Patenaude to serve as the next U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)deputy secretary. The final vote was 80-17, with three senators abstaining.
In her role as deputy secretary, Ms. Patenaude will coordinate much of HUD’s daily operations:
- Working closely with the assistant secretaries and other leaders of the offices of Public and Indian Housing, Community Planning and Development, Policy Development and Research, Housing/Federal Housing Administration, Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, and others.
- She will also lead HUD’s disaster management and long-term recovery efforts related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
“At this moment when so many of our citizens are suffering, Pam will bring strong leadership when we need her most,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “Pam’s extensive housing and community development experience will be invaluable as we embark upon the long road to recovery for communities hard-hit by disaster and I’m grateful the Senate confirmed her nomination.”
Ms. Patenaude has most recently served as the president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families. Before that, she was the director of housing policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. She also served as the HUD assistant secretary for Community Planning and Development under President George W. Bush.
Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), issued a statement on Pam Patenaude’s confirmation.
“The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) congratulates Ms. Patenaude on her confirmation.
Ms. Patenaude’s confirmation comes at a critical time given the massive housing recovery effort HUD will be undertaking for the communities ravaged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Hundreds of thousands of homes have been damaged and, in some cases, destroyed during the hurricanes. Consequently, a large number of people will need assistance repairing and rebuilding their homes or finding new safe, affordable housing options.
The confirmation of Ms. Patenaude also comes at a time when the affordable housing crisis throughout America is worsening. Nationally, as shown by NLIHC’s report The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, the U.S. has a shortage of 7.4 million affordable rental homes available to the lowest income people. Because of chronic underfunding of rental housing assistance programs, just one in four of the poorest people in America get the housing assistance they so desperately need. More than 8 million of the lowest income households are forced to spend over half of their incomes on housing, leaving them little for other basic necessities like food and medical expenses. As a result, they are more likely to experience eviction and, in the worst cases, homelessness.”
Seventeen senators voted against Ms. Patenaude’s confirmation:
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
- Sherrod Brown (D-OH),
- Mazie Hirono (D-HI),
- Ed Markey (D-MA),
- Bernie Sanders (I-VT),
- Elizabeth Warren (D-MA),
- Cory Booker (D-NJ),
- Ron Wyden (D-OR),
- Richard Blumenthal (D-CT),
- Kamala Harris (D-CA),
- Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI),
- Jeff Merkley (D-OR),
- Brian Schatz (D-HI),
- Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY),
- Tammy Duckworth (D-IL),
- Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and
- Tom Udall (D-NM).