Mayor Announces Changes to NYCHA Leadership Structure

Image Credit: NYCHA.

On September 15, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams announced a new leadership structure for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The new structure will split the roles of the NYCHA chair and chief executive officer, which until now had been held together by one person. Greg Russ will step down as the chief executive officer but will remain the chair. NYCHA Executive Vice President of Legal Affairs and General Counsel Lisa Bova-Hiatt will serve as the interim chief executive officer until a new permanent one can be appointed. 

Bova-Hiatt has served in government for over 25 years, and began serving as general counsel for NYCHA in February 2020. Previously, she served as general counsel of the City University Construction Fund and executive university counsel for the City University of New York (CUNY). She has previously served as the executive director of the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery where she helped in the recovery and state’s efforts to rebuild over 12,000 homes post Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. She has also served for the New York City Law Department. 

The change is a part of the agency’s “Transformation Plan” aimed to overhaul the organization and operation of NYCHA, which has had a federal monitor since January 2019 following a federal lawsuit over lead paint safety and failure to provide safe and sanitary housing for residents. NYCHA, as the nation’s largest public housing authority, has faced many challenges with funding and maintaining the large portfolio of NYCHA properties. Recently, NYCHA Chair Greg Russ spoke at a CityLaw Breakfast about the creation of the Public Housing Preservation Trust which provides the agency with access to new streams of revenue. 

In this next step, Mayor Adams, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) will begin a national search for a new permanent CEO as a part of the continued efforts to transform the agency. 

Mayor Adams stated, “We cannot wait any longer to make transformational changes so NYCHA can provide safe, high-quality homes for New Yorkers. I am determined to work with my partners in government to identify the right leaders and the right structure for NYCHA to deliver on our promises to public housing residents. I want to thank Lisa Bova-Hiatt for her dedicated service to our city and for stepping up at this critical time to put NYCHA on the right path.”

Incoming Interim CEO Bova-Hiatt stated, “I am honored to take on this role as interim CEO. NYCHA is New York City’s most vital affordable housing, and the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who live here deserve consistent leadership. “I look forward to moving the Authority forward through its many reforms and initiatives during these groundbreaking times and to maintain the momentum of NYCHA’s transformation.”

NYCHA Chair Greg Russ stated, “Knowing the residents and NYCHA staff will be led by Lisa in the interim is an important move to continue strengthening NYCHA. As I step back into the role of chair of NYCHA’s Board of Directors, I will remain a resource and partner to Lisa, the NYCHA team, NYCHA residents, and the city. My commitment to NYCHA remains as strong as ever, and as we strengthen the authority and deliver the Public Housing Preservation Trust together, I feel confident in the future of NYCHA.” 

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018).


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