The director of the Delaware State Housing Authority is quitting Gov. John Carney’s cabinet to become the new chief financial officer at Delaware State University.
Carney plans to nominate Eugene Young Jr., now president and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, to replace him.
Anas Ben Addi, the state’s high-ranking Muslim civil servant, has served as the director of the housing authority since 2009. There, he oversaw 150 employees, management of more than $1 billion of financial and physical assets, $300 million in annual program funds and
$12 million in annual operating funds.
“I am excited to be joining the Delaware State University community,” Ben Addi said in a statement, “and especially happy to accept this role in mobilizing and managing the resources that America’s most diverse, contemporary HBCU is using to have an impact on so many young lives and with so many social and economic issues that have been my passion for years.”
Young was a candidate for mayor of Wilmington, but lost to Michael Purzycki in 2016. He founded the grassroots organizing nonprofit Network Delaware and Delaware Elite, an organization dedicated to helping Wilmington athletes be successful in college. He has been appointed to several state committees or task forces and formerly was an aide in the Delaware General Assembly and to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker.
He is the fourth president and CEO of the Urban League. His predecessors included U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester and DSU president Dr. Tony Allen.
The Senate is expected to consider Young’s nomination on June 23.
“I am truly thankful for the opportunity to serve our state in this important role,” Young said in a press release. “As we continue to work our way out of this pandemic, accessible and affordable housing will be critical in our recovery. I look forward to working with the legislature, community and key stakeholders to carry on the great work of director Ben Addi and the incredible DSHA team.”
Ben Addi, a native of Morocco with an MBA from Wilmington University, adds to the diversity that DSU President Tony Allen wants the university to have and represent.
Ben Addi had been appointed by former Gov. Jack Markell and then by Carney. He had previously served as Housing Finance Director for the agency.
“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Delaware as director of DSHA for the last 12 years, and I am incredible proud of the work our dedicated team at DSHA has accomplished during my tenure,” he said in a press release.
Ben Addi is credited with broadening the agency’s community development work, overseeing the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund to help blighted neighborhoods after the foreclosure crisis and overseeing the creation of the Downtown Development program, which incentivizes investments in downtown areas.
Ben Addi also created the first community land trust in Delaware.
“Anas Ben Addi is an exceptionally talented public servant,” Allen said in a press release. “He has used his vast experience in housing finance and planning and community development to transform the lives of tens of thousands of Delawareans.”
Allen said Ben Addi was more than a cabinet secretary for two governors.
“Anas is a solutions-driver leader who thinks holistically about culture, community and people,” Allen said. “I could not be more pleased to have him join our leadership team as the university’s vice president of finance and am looking forward to working with him for years to come.
DSU Chief Operating Officer Cleon Cauley seconded that.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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