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Biden appoints Oregon housing director as regional HUD leader

UPDATED: Sat., Jan. 15, 2022

By Jayati Ramakrishnan Oregonian

The director of Oregon’s Housing and Community Services department has been selected to lead the Housing and Urban Development office for the northwest region, the White House announced Thursday.

President Joe Biden appointed Margaret Salazar as the regional administrator of the department, overseeing federal housing and community development programs in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Gov. Kate Brown in a news release congratulated Salazar on the new role and thanked her for her work in Oregon during a challenging time.

Salazar helmed the department through the beginning of the pandemic, when hundreds of thousands of Oregonians faced housing insecurity and the threat of eviction. The state received $289 million in federal funding to distribute for emergency rent assistance, and distributed aid to tens of thousands of renters.

But Salazar and her department were also criticized for the slow distribution of funds, which left many renters uncertain about the status of their applications or whether they would receive assistance at all. (Other states, though, proved much slower in disbursing the aid, including some that had to return unspent federal funds.)

Salazar, who led Oregon’s housing department since 2016, oversaw development of the first Statewide Housing Plan, which funded affordable housing over a five-year period. Brown said that under Salazar, the department had helped fund the construction of more than 18,000 affordable homes.

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