Former New York City councilman and ex-Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrión has been appointed head of the New York and New Jersey region for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Carrión, 49, is currently director of the White House's Office of Urban Affairs. President Barack Obama created that office after promising to put more of a spotlight on big city needs.

HUD's latest appointee will be responsible for one of department's largest regions, with about $1 billion annually in programs and investments.

"Adolfo knows the New York and New Jersey region and its economic and affordable housing challenges," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "The wealth of information he has gathered on his nationwide Urban Affairs listening tour will be of great use to HUD as we transform our agency to better assist the American people."

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A former teacher, Carrión. was credited with beefing up funding for urban areas in the president's FY2011 budget.

"The federal agencies are now working in a robust collaborative process to ensure we are getting the best return on investment in economic development, smart infrastructure, and building strong neighborhoods," Carrión said. "Now that the foundation is poured and we are beginning to implement this strategy, I'm delighted to join my long time friend and colleague, Shaun Donovan, to fully implement this comprehensive urban development vision in my home region and across the country."