Leila Finucane Edmonds will resign her post as director of the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development to join NeighborWorks America, a national network of 240 nonprofit community development organizations.
Edmonds said her last day with the city will be Jan. 2, the day Vincent C. Gray becomes mayor. She became DHCD director in May 2007, shortly after Mayor Adrian M. Fenty began his term.
At NeighborWorks, which is based in the District, Edmonds will direct the National Initiative and Applied Research division, which sets standards and provides training to community development programs nationwide. "From the things I've been doing here, it's just a great opportunity to do it on a national level, so I'm excited about that," she said in a phone interview Thursday.
She declined to say whether she would have continued to work at the agency had Fenty won the election. Gray has not announced any Cabinet appointments yet. "I think we accomplished a tremendous amount with the Fenty administration. There's lot to be proud of, so I think it's a good time to go," she said.
Edmonds joined the city government from HSBC Bank in New York City, where she was a vice president in the community development unit. The national recession began shortly after she arrived in D.C., and she spent much of her tenure focused on preventing foreclosures and the deterioration of the city's neighborhoods.
Despite a declining amount of city money available for affordable housing projects, DHCD used federal stimulus money to rehabilitate vacant properties, build new housing and green existing units. She oversaw the completion of projects like the Overlook at Oxon Run apartments, a $73 million renovated building on Ninth Street SE that replaced the troubled Parkside Terrace apartments in 2009. The agency's headquarters also moved to Anacostia during her tenure.
Edmonds joins Robin-Eve Jasper of the Department of Real Estate Services, Julie Hudman of the Department of Health Care Finance and David Gragan of the Office of Contracting and Procurement as Fenty appointees who have announced their departures this week.
-- Jonathan O'Connell