On Tuesday, August 12 Carol Galante announced she will be stepping down from her position as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner and Assistant Secretary for Housing. Biniam Gebre, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Housing, will continue in her place until a new Commissioner is nominated by the Obama Administration and confirmed by the Senate. Ms. Galante distributed the following message upon the announcement:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
WASHINGTON, DC 20410-8000
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HOUSING-
FEDERAL HOUSING COMMISSIONER
Dear Stakeholder Partner,
I am writing today to share a very important update with you, our partners in providing safe, decent, sustainable housing opportunities for all Americans. After working with you for more than five years, I have decided to leave my role as the Assistant Secretary Housing /FHA Commissioner this Fall. In January, I will assume the I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professorship in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy at the University of California, Berkley, where I will also serve as the Director of the Berkeley Program in Housing and Urban Policy and co-chair the Fisher Center on Real Estate Policy Advisory Board.
Working with you over the past five years has been a rewarding experience and together we have accomplished so much.
When I started as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing, we were just beginning to recover from the economic crisis, and the market was far from stable. Now because of your efforts, we have helped our housing market come back. Homeowners equity is now over $10 trillion, foreclosure starts are at their lowest levels since 2005, and American families are on pace to purchase over 5 million homes this year alone. In Multifamily and Healthcare, we have managed a fivefold increase in volume and implemented holistic approaches to invest in and preserve affordable rental housing.
I stepped into the role of Assistant Secretary of Housing and FHA Commissioner just as the substantial toll the legacy portfolio was taking on the MMI Fund became apparent. By working hard to establish the right pricing, increase recoveries on distressed assets and better manage risk, we have turned the corner on those losses and significantly improved the financial health of the MMI Fund. I cannot think of a more challenging and yet exciting time to serve as FHA Commissioner.
Biniam Gebre, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Housing, will lead the Office of Housing and FHA in an Acting capacity after I depart. There is a lot of work left to do, and I am confident that Biniam, working alongside the strong team I helped build during my time with the Office of Housing, will continue making progress on our shared goals including enhancing our quality assurance framework and embedding housing counseling into the mortgage origination and servicing process.
As I prepare to move on, I have thought a lot about the past few years. When I arrived, I was truly the new kid on the block. I had a lot to learn about navigating the process here in Washington and many of you showed me the ropes. Thank you for supporting our efforts to get the MMI Fund back on the right track and for joining us in making housing opportunities and education more broadly available. And perhaps more importantly, thank you for so aptly representing your groups, ensuring that we had the information needed whether through formal comment periods, letters or verbally at public forums – to make good decisions.
While I look forward to returning home (I can finally get rid of my ice scraper!) there really is no place like Washington. I will miss the energy, drive, and enthusiasm of the folks here. And even though I will no longer be at HUD, I will continue working with many of you to make housing more affordable and accessible.
In my new role, leading the University of Californias Urban and Housing Policy Program, I will have an opportunity to spur the development of practical solutions to the nations affordable housing challenges. After all, making housing more accessible and affordable is really the end goal. That is why I joined HUD; why I look forward to this next phase; and most important, why I am so glad I had a chance to work with you.
Assistant Secretary for Housing/FHA Commissioner
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development