The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Adrianne Todman as the new Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by voice vote, filling a much-needed leadership position in the Department under the administration of President Joe Biden and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge.
Todman, who was nominated by President Biden for the position in March, brings a wealth of housing sector experience to the number two position at the Department. She most recently served as the chief executive officer of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), joining the organization in 2017.
Prior housing experience
Prior to that point, Todman served as the executive director of the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), an organization charged with providing affordable housing and which provides subsidized housing to approximately 50,000 residents, nearly 10% of the population in D.C.
Prior to her time at DCHA, Todman served in several career positions at HUD including as manager of the Department’s $500 million grant competition aimed at the redevelopment of certain public housing sites, and as a policy aide in the Office of Public and Indian Housing as well as in the Office of the Secretary, where she assisted in streamlining the Department’s operational implementations.
Todman, who was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands, began her political career as legislative director for Rep. Ron de Lugo, who himself served as the first Delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the United States House of Representatives, a position he served in for two non-consecutive tenures from 1973 to 1995.
Todman’s previous experience should be useful in her new position. Deputy HUD Secretary essentially acts as the chief operating officer of HUD, with responsibility over personnel and administrative issues; the management of HUD facilities across the country; and the day-to-day administration of the Department while Secretary Fudge will be focused on broader policy priorities; relationships with state and local government authorities and communication with the White House.
Messages of support
Both the National Housing Conference (NHC) and the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) have issued messages of support for Deputy Secretary Todman and congratulations for her confirmation.
“Adrianne Todman brings to this role the perfect combination of policy, operational and on-the-ground experience,” said David M. Dworkin, president and CEO of NHC in a statement. “She is a proven leader who knows the importance of working together for common sense solutions to the complex problems our nation faces in housing and community investment. NHC and its members look forward to working with Deputy Secretary Todman.”
NRMLA President Steve Irwin also issued a message of congratulations to the new Deputy Secretary upon the news of her confirmation.
“NRMLA congratulates Deputy Secretary Todman on her confirmation Thursday,” Irwin told RMD in an email. “Her deep expertise in affordable housing matters will certainly help further the Department’s mission. We wish her all the best.”
Other positions remaining to be filled
While the appointment of Deputy Secretary Todman provides a much-needed addition to HUD’s leadership team, there is still a fair amount of necessary senior positions requiring attention at the Biden/Fudge HUD. Chief among these with particular relevance to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program is the position of Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner, which remains vacant according to the HUD website.
Previously, career HUD official Janet Golrick was listed in official documentation as Acting FHA Commissioner, but her name is no longer listed with that title and recent Mortgagee Letter (ML) guidance has instead been signed by Lopa Kolluri, principal deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Housing at FHA.
Additionally, HUD is currently without deputy chiefs of staff, principal deputy general counsel, an assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental relations and a chief information officer. Previously, Secretary Fudge addressed HUD staffing shortages during a press conference at the White House in March, saying that President Biden is aware of staffing issues and that filling out the necessary roles at the Department is a priority.
“We are thousands of people short of where we ought to be,” Fudge said at the White House. “Our staff is outstanding: they are under-resourced, understaffed and overworked. But, we are going to make some major changes, and very quickly. The [American] Rescue Plan is allowing us to do things that we may not have been able to do without it. So, I’m especially pleased that the president had the foresight and the vision to give us a historic, maybe one-time opportunity to change what is going on in housing in this country.”