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USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager Addresses New England Housing Network Annual Conference

USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager was among those attending the New England Housing Network Annual Conference last Friday in Needham, Mass., The Under Secretary joined a panel of Obama Administration officials who spoke about opportunities for working with the administration and Congress.  Panelists included Sandra Henriquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing; Barbara Sard, Senior Advisor for Rental Assistance, HUD; and William Apgar, Senior Advisor for Mortgage Finance, HUD.  The panel was moderated by the Massachusetts president of the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, Vincent O’Donnell.

Under Secretary Tonsager listed seven key priorities USDA Rural Development intends to focus on in order to stimulate America’s rural economy. They include: Community Development; Regional Development; Broadband Infrastructure Development; Regional Food Systems; Renewable Energy/Energy Independence; Capital Delivery and Strategic Partnerships.

The panel moderator, who also serves as Vice President of the Affordable Housing Preservation Initiative, said that having the Under Secretary at the conference was a testament to the Obama Administrations’ commitment to providing affordable housing regionally and nationally.  Barbara Fields, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) told Under Secretary Tonsager: “seeing you here is almost as good as watching New York’s Derek Jeter shag balls from Boston’s Big Papi!”* Information about USDA Rural Development’s housing programs is available here.

(*Quite the compliment from a Red Sox fan!)

Vincent O’Donnell, President of Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association/Vice President of Affordable Housing Preservation Initiative; D. Tonsager; Joseph Belden, Deputy Executive Director of Housing Assistance Council

By, USDA Rural Development State Director Jay Healy. Mass., R.I., Conn.

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