Neal Rackleff, who most recently served as assistant secretary for Community Planning and Development within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), working closely with HUD Secretary Ben Carson, will rejoin Locke Lord as a partner in the Firm’s Affordable Housing and Community Development Section based in the Austin and Houston offices.
As assistant secretary for Community Planning and Development, Rackleff oversaw approximately $7.9 billion in funding for affordable housing, economic development, revitalization and serving the nation’s homeless population. Additionally, he directly managed $35 billion in long-term disaster recovery funding following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. He was called upon by members of Congress to provide technical assistance in crafting the statutes providing such funding. Rackleff also led the team at HUD that recommended to the secretary how the funding should be allocated between eligible states. He directed the group that drafted Federal Register Notices providing the federal regulatory amplification of the appropriate statutes. During his time as assistant secretary, Rackleff worked closely with officials at the National Security Council, FEMA, Department of Energy, Office of Management and Budget, U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and the White House.
Prior to rejoining Locke Lord as a partner in 2016, he served as director of the Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) for the City of Houston beginning in 2012. Rackleff oversaw the city’s community development projects, strategic planning for affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization. In total, as director of HCDD, he led the city’s efforts in financing the production of over 7,800 multifamily housing units and assisted 1,700 single-family homeowners with reconstruction of hurricane damaged homes, financial assistance to low-income homebuyers and emergency home repairs to ameliorate health and safety issues. In addition, under Rackleff’s leadership, chronic homelessness in Houston declined by more than 70 percent and the city effectively ended homelessness of veterans.
Rackleff focuses his practice on community and economic development, affordable housing, municipal and public law. He has extensive experience representing business owners, developers and governmental entities in forging public/private partnerships to achieve objectives neither side could accomplish alone. 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. Rackleff has deep experience in tax increment financing, housing tax credits and public infrastructure development through special purpose districts, such as municipal utility districts, municipal management districts, public improvement districts and tax increment reinvestment zones.