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PR- 076-09
February 13, 2009


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today named Rafael Cestero to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Cestero will replace Shaun Donovan, who was chosen by President Obama to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after serving as HPD Commissioner since 2004. Cestero is expected to begin in the position on March 16. The Mayor made the announcement in the Blue Room of City Hall, where he was joined by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber and New York City Housing Development Corporation President Marc Jahr.

“Rafael will bring tremendous experience and a track record of innovative thinking to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This is a challenging time and Rafael has big shoes to fill – Shaun Donovan’s success developing and implementing our housing plan led him to a spot in President Obama’s cabinet. But we are lucky to have found a successor who brings the same high level of innovative thinking, experience and commitment to affordable housing in New York City.”

“Rafael is well recognized around the country as a leader in the development of affordable housing, and we are lucky that he’s becoming New York City’s housing Commissioner,” said Deputy Mayor Lieber. “He has spent time in both the public and private sectors and understands the New York City housing market and the challenges of financing housing in today’s environment. I look forward to working with him as we move ahead with our housing plan.”

“I am truly honored to join the Bloomberg Administration at what is a critical time for New York City housing policy,” said Cestero. “I’ve dedicated my career to building affordable housing and helping communities thrive, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to pursue the ambitious housing plan Mayor Bloomberg has set out for New York City. Shaun Donovan was as intelligent and committed a public servant as there is – I know having worked closely with him at HPD – and New York City was extremely fortunate to have him as Housing Commissioner for the past five years. I also know firsthand how dedicated and professional the staff of HPD is, and I am excited to rejoin my colleagues and get to work.”

Cestero will join the Administration from Enterprise Community Partners, where he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer overseeing the organization’s national programs related to housing production, income targeting and quality of life measures. He spent the majority of his 19-year career at Enterprise, a national organization that has invested more than $9 billion to build affordable housing throughout the country. Before rejoining Enterprise, he played a central role at HPD as Deputy Commissioner managing the Department’s Office of Development from 2004 to 2007. At HPD, Cestero helped develop the City’s $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan and employed innovative tools to create affordable housing, including inclusionary zoning. He also helped establish the NYC Acquisition Fund, which makes it easier for developers to create affordable housing by providing them with faster access to equity and predevelopment capital. The fund recently was awarded the Harvard Kennedy School of Government “Innovations in American Government” Award. Cestero earned a Master of Urban Planning degree with a specialization in community development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Sciences degree from Cornell University.

The replacement search was led by Nathan Leventhal, chairman of the Mayor's Committee on Appointments, and Andrea Shapiro Davis, Special Advisor to the Mayor.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development is charged with developing and preserving affordable housing through a variety of programs in areas like new construction, foreclosure prevention, housing code enforcement and emergency repair of privately owned occupied buildings. As the largest municipal developer of affordable housing in the nation, HPD supports the repair, rehabilitation and new construction of hundreds of thousands of units of housing. HPD is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan to create and preserve more than 165,000 homes and apartments in neighborhoods. From July 2004 through December 2008, HPD, along with its for-profit and not-for-profit partners, has begun construction or renovation of 84,651 affordable housing units, 25,913 of which are homeownership units.


Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent   (212) 788-2958

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