The New York Housing Authority is by far the largest one in the United States. You cannot walk around the City of New York without seeing the large high rises in almost every district. The housing authority faces challenges that simply have everything to do with it’s size and scope. Lets jump into 5 things you should know.
- Greg Russ named CEO- Greg has been in public housing for most of his career. He ran a very innovative and forward thinking housing authority in Cambridge. He was there for 12 years before moving to Minnesota and becoming the head of that housing authority.
- Moving to Work to Non-Moving to Work- Greg has had the ability to be more nimble as he has worked for two Moving to Work agencies. That has given him funding and regulatory flexibility to try new things and implement new programs. he will not have that luxury in NYC.
- Scale- Greg is moving from an agency that is serving 11,000 people to one that is scaling over 400,000. The New York Housing Authority is larger than the next 11 largest housing authorities combined. It is a multi-billion dollar organization. His pay of over $400,000 a year is being criticized but how do you expect a billion dollar organization to be run correctly if you do not pay?
- First Housing Authority Executive- The New York Housing Authority has not been run by someone with housing authority experience in a long-time. That should help when it comes to the operational issues like lead paint and maintenance.
- Expectations- Greg will have a large hill to climb. There are a lot of unique challenges in running the housing authority in New York. There are a lot of people who believe he is setup for failure from the start. The New York Post recently reported that those who hired him had other people in mind other than Greg. They also bring out his inexperience with the city, the bureaucracy and politics of the city.
We wish Greg and his staff the best in moving the agency forward. Running any housing authority regardless of size is an exercise in fighting with one hand behind your back. Until the federal government, congress and the President support affordable housing with proper funding, it will be an uphill battle.