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WASHINGTON, DC-The Department of Housing and Urban Development has appointed Shelley Poticha as senior advisor for Sustainable Housing and Communities–a new office that HUD is trying to create through Congressional legislation sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT). Poticha will direct the office if the bill becomes law.

Among other responsibilities, the office would oversee a $150-million sustainable communities fund as well as a $100-million energy innovation fund, a HUD spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com. The office’s creation was part of HUD’s 2010 budget, submitted in May. The budget also proposes eliminating or consolidating 27 programs and activities.

Its mission also includes providing technical and policy support for energy, green building, and integrated housing and transportation programs at HUD and managing HUD’s relationships with the departments of Transportation and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The new office is part of HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s push to create a paradigm shift in how the US thinks about community development, the spokesperson says. “It is why we are seeing more conversations between HUD, Transportation and Energy–it has been recognized there needs to be more focus on tomorrow’s communities.”

Poticha currently serves as the president and CEO of Reconnecting America, an organization that studies land use and transportation planning and policy with the goal of creating more sustainable and equitable development. Another senior advisor to the office is James Lopez, senior advisor for sustainability issues to the Deputy Secretary and former Director of Strategic Planning and Performance Management for King County, Washington. HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims will spearhead the Sustainable Communities Initiative.

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