Mayor Announces New Leaders for Major Housing Agencies
By Dana Varinsky on February 9, 2014 2:15pm
MIDTOWN — Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of new leaders for the city’s major housing agencies Saturday.
Shola Olatoye will serve as the new chair of the New York City Housing Authority, de Blasio said, while existing the general manager, Cecil House, who was hired in August 2012, will stay in his position.
The mayor also appointed Vicki Been as the new commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservaand Development, and Gary D. Rodney as president of the Housing Development Corporation.
“From doing more to protect tenants in troubled buildings," said de Blasio. "From innovating new partnerships with the private sector to forging a new relationship with our NYCHA communities, every decision we make will focus on maximizing the affordability of our neighborhoods."
“These agencies are going to work together as a collective to lift up families and make this one city—where everyone rises together,” he added.
The administration set a goal to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade, and has plans to address health and safety repair issues that have been an ongoing concern for NYCHA residents.
“Public housing helped people in my family. I want it to do the same in the future for others," said Shola Olatoye, who previously served as a vice president at Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit that helped build or preserve 44,000 affordable housing for lower-income residents.
“Everything we do will be focused on improving the quality of life for our tenants, especially protecting their safety."
The appointments were applauded by affordable housing advocates.
Ted Houghton, co-chair of Housing First!, a local coalition, said he expected Been to bring a progressive, pragmatic vision to the administration’s plans. Been, a law and public policy professor at NYU, served as the director of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy.
“Vicki Been is recognized nationally as thought-leader on affordable housing and urban development – she’s the person the affordable housing community turns to when they want to understand a housing issue and how to solve it,” Houghton said.