Pamela Hughes Patenaude has announced that she is leaving her post as deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the new year. She has served in the job since 2017.

Patenaude's departure leaves another top vacancy at the federal housing agency, which also saw the recent resignation of Neal Rackleff as assistant secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development.

Pam Patenaude (right) has led HUD's disaster recovery response in Puerto Rico and in other areas hit by hurricanes and fires.
Courtesy Department of Housing and Urban Development Pam Patenaude (right) has led HUD's disaster recovery response in Puerto Rico and in other areas hit by hurricanes and fires.

Prior to joining HUD, Patenaude served as the president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families, a national nonprofit education and research organization. Before co-founding the Terwilliger Foundation, she was director of housing policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center. Earlier in her career, Patenaude served as an assistant secretary at HUD.

On Twitter, she said she looks forward to returning to her home state of New Hampshire.

"It has been an honor to serve President Trump and Secretary Carson and I am deeply grateful to both for this opportunity," she wrote. "Thank you to my HUD family and fellow 'housers' for helping Americans access decent, safe, and affordable housing."

Brian Montgomery will step in as interim deputy secretary while also serving in his role as assistant secretary of housing at HUD and Federal Housing Administration commissioner, according to HUD officials.

Housing advocates expressed concern about the resignation of Patenaude as well as the vacancy of other top posts at the agency.

"This impending departure, the departure of Neal Rackleff, assistant secretary of Community Planning and Development, and the slow pace to confirm Hunter Kurtz as assistant secretary of public and Indian housing leave a major knowledge void at HUD, which is deeply concerning to the housing and community development community. We call on the White House to act quickly to nominate qualified candidates to both vacated positions, and we call on Congress to confirm Mr. Kurtz," said Adrianne Todman, CEO of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) in a statement.

She said NAHRO "enthusiastically supported Ms. Patenaude when she was nominated to the position last year, and continued to turn to her throughout her tenure to share key industry issues impacting our members and the families they serve. She proved to be an accessible and thoughtful leader, and I am grateful for her service."

Neal Rackleff
Korey Howell Photography Neal Rackleff

Rackleff has rejoined Locke Lord as a partner in the law firm’s affordable housing and community development section. He is based in the Austin, Texas, and Houston offices.

At HUD, Rackleff oversaw approximately $7.9 billion in funding for affordable housing, economic development, revitalization, and programs to alleviate homelessness. Additionally, he directly managed $35 billion in long-term disaster recovery funding following the devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

He was a partner at Locke Lord prior to joining HUD in 2017. He has also served as director of the Housing and Community Development Department for the city of Houston.

Rackleff focuses his practice on community and economic development, affordable housing, municipal, and public law. He handles matters involving federal, state and local governmental entities, including assisting developers with regulatory and competitive matters before the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.