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Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - April 2010

Native American tribes generally consider the block grants provided under the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) to be effective, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released in February. The GAO recommended that HUD require grantees to provide infrastructure plans to better assess the program's effectiveness and to help grantees identify infrastructure needs. It also advised HUD to obtain Indian Health Service (IHS) data on infrastructure deficiencies related to housing on tribal lands. HUD concurred with the GAO's findings and recommendations. A copy of the report can be found online at www.gao.gov.

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Doug Criscitello was sworn in on February 16 as HUD's chief financial officer. Criscitello will oversee the financial management practices that ensure that HUD is meeting the needs of the housing community. His duties include preparing and accounting for the department's budget, strategic and budget planning, and establishing and maintaining financial systems that process millions of transactions annually to support HUD projects. Prior to joining HUD, Criscitello assisted in establishing a public sector financial services practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Criscitello has specialized experience forecasting government finances, modeling financial risk of credit programs, performing budgetary and legislative analysis, and helping public sector agencies implement new financial technologies and practices. He holds a master's degree in public policy analysis from the University of Rochester.

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Boston Capital announced in February its investment in a planned 25-unit affordable multifamily development in Seattle, Wash. King County Housing Authority is the general partner for the Zephyr Apartments development, which comprises nine two-story buildings, a garden and a park. The development is part of the master planned Seola Gardens HOPE VI mixed-income community and will be funded in part by the HOPE VI program. The units, ranging from one to four bedrooms, will be available to residents earning 60 percent or less of the area median income (AMI) and 13 units will be reserved for households at 50 percent of AMI or less. Residents will have access to energy efficient appliances and filtered water via an onsite water garden system.

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President Barack Obama selected Richard A. Walega to serve as HUD's regional director for the six states in the department's New England region, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Walega was the deputy director for modernization at the New Bedford, Massachusetts Housing Authority from 1993 to 2007, its assistant executive director from 2007 to 2009 and has been serving as the authority's executive director since February 1. He managed the authority's capital programs, led efforts to receive four competitive American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (Recovery Act) grants and supervised its transition to asset-based management. In his new position as regional director, Walega will serve as one of HUD's 10 liaisons to officials, elected representatives, developers, stakeholders and customers. He will also oversee the delivery of HUD programs and services to communities, evaluating their effectiveness and efficiency.

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Grandbridge Real Estate Capital announced the creation of a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and affordable housing business unit. Phil Melton, senior vice president, will lead the team and combine his affordable housing expertise with senior vice president Tim Duncan's FHA knowledge and underwriting skills. Grandbridge formed the business unit in anticipation of financing more targeted affordable multifamily business under HUD programs and adding more underwriting resources this year.

Journal Category:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Authors:

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