Mayor Appoints Gregory Russ as New NYCHA Chair

Gregory Russ is the new NYCHA Chair. Image Credit: Minneapolis Public Housing Authority

Russ has worked with municipal housing authorities across the country, including in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. On June 18, 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson announced Gregory Russ as the new Chair of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). The national search for a new chair began in January after an agreement was made between NYCHA, HUD and the Southern District of New York (SDNY). Under the agreement, a federal monitor was appointed to supervise the reform of NYCHA’s operations. The agreement resolved federal claims against NYCHA for violating health and safety regulations.

Mayor de Blasio selected Russ given his extensive background working with municipal housing agencies. The Southern District of New York and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved the appointment.

In 1995, Russ was Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. From 1997 to 2002, he served in several positions with the Chicago Housing Authority. Russ later served as Deputy Executive Director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Later, he served as Executive Director of the Cambridge Housing Authority.

While in Cambridge, Russ launched a matched savings program for high school students to save for college, which helped raise graduation rates to 93 percent. His most recent role was as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. In Minneapolis, Russ launched Stable Homes Stable Schools, an initiative to provide families that are at risk of homelessness with stable housing. Russ has a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

“Public housing is a calling. I believe in it. NYCHA and its residents are irreplaceable parts of New York City. My mission is simple: to fix residents’ homes today and to leave NYCHA stronger for the next generation. To the hundreds of thousands of people who call NYCHA home, to the ten thousand hardworking men and women who work at NYCHA, I am ready to fight for you,” said Russ.

Mayor de Blasio stated, “In a national search, Greg Russ stands out as someone with the guts to make big changes and the heart to do right by public housing residents. Greg has shown he can secure residents the repairs they’ve been waiting for and strengthen public housing for the next generation. He’s shown again and again that he can listen to residents, build trust and improve people’s lives. I’m thrilled to welcome him to NYCHA.”

Secretary Carson stated, “The families who depend on NYCHA for housing need to see meaningful change to their living conditions, and we applaud Greg Russ for taking on this important effort. Working closely with the City, the federal monitor, and – most importantly – NYCHA residents, we expect Greg will lead the housing authority in a new direction. We look forward to seeing solutions to NYCHA’s decades-old problems, and HUD will continue to advocate for the hundreds of thousands of families whose livelihoods depend on access to safe, fair, and affordable housing.”

Kathryn Garcia, who has been serving as the interim Chair of NYCHA, will return to her position as Commissioner of the Sanitation Department in mid-August 2019 when Russ takes office.

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

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