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Vincent Reina, an associate professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design and faculty director of the Housing Initiative at Penn (HIP), has been named senior policy advisor for housing and urban policy in the White House Domestic Policy Council. In this role, he’ll work with administration officials and executive branch agencies to address the nation’s housing affordability and supply challenges, affirmatively further fair housing, and advance equitable development and community investment.
“There are longstanding challenges and inequities in our housing markets that affect the wellbeing of individuals and communities, and the future of America’s cities and regions,” says Reina. “I feel humbled and excited to be able to work with Biden-Harris administration on its existing housing policy efforts and to inform and support the development of new ones.”
Reina joined the faculty in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Weitzman in 2016. His research focuses on urban economics, housing policy, and community and economic development, and has been recognized with various honors, including the 2021 Journal of the American Planning Association’s Article of the Year Award. A Stoneleigh Fellow for 2019-2022, Reina served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Strategy Group on COVID and Rental Evictions, and in 2020, he established the Housing Initiative at Penn, which collaborated with the multiple cities, including Philadelphia and Los Angeles, as well as the County of Los Angeles and the State of California to evaluate their emergency rental assistance programs. HIP produced a community-wide housing strategy for Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio in 2020, and the City of Cleveland’s Ten-Year Housing and Investment Plan in 2021. HIP also conducted a nationwide survey of 220 emergency rental assistance programs and interviewed program administrators. A collaboration with the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the NYU Furman Center, their work resulted in many policy-informing reports and papers. Previously, Reina and his team helped the City of Philadelphia develop its framework and strategy for preserving its stock of existing subsidized housing and worked with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation to write Philadelphia’s first citywide housing plan.
Reina is the second Weitzman faculty member to join the Biden administration. Jennifer Wilcox, the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Energy Policy, was appointed principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy in January of 2021. In addition to her research appointment at Weitzman’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, Wilcox holds a professorial appointment at Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Reina will return to Penn, and his positions as the faculty director of HIP and editor in chief of Housing Policy Debate, in the 2023-2024 Academic Year.