Gregory Russ, current CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, has been appointed the new Chair and CEO of NYCHA. Mr. Russ has more than 25 years of experience working to protect and turn around public housing across the country.
Mr. Russ was selected by Mayor Bill de Blasio from a slate of candidates that was jointly approved by himself, the Southern District of New York, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He will take office in mid-August 2019. Kathryn Garcia, who has been serving as NYCHA’s Interim Chair, will return to her position as Commissioner of the City’s Sanitation Department.
“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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “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. I want to thank Kathryn Garcia for her leadership these past several months. She helped energize and strengthen NYCHA, push through vital reforms, and set in motion plans that will make residents safer and healthier.”
Mr. Russ is a tested change-agent who helped rebuild and protect struggling public housing across the country, including in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
Prior to joining the Minneapolis Housing Authority, Mr. Russ was Executive Director of the Cambridge Housing Authority, where he launched the effort to renovate and rehabilitate every apartment using Obama-era Section 8 conversion programs, with repair efforts now fully underway across the portfolio. He then brought that model to Minneapolis. As part of NYCHA 2.0, the Authority’s long-term strategic plan, those same tools are being used on an even larger scale to fully renovate and preserve 62,000 apartments to provide residents with the safe, quality housing they deserve – all while guaranteeing their rights as public housing residents.
“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,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson.
Mr. Russ has a track record of investing in jobs and education opportunities for residents. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, he launched a matched savings program for high school students saving for college that helped boost graduation rates to 93 percent. In Minneapolis, he started Stable Homes Stable Schools, an initiative to provide stable housing to families with school-age children at risk of homelessness. Under his leadership, the Housing Authority launched its Quality Maintenance Program to proactively bring workers into apartments to make a wide range of repairs all at once, and before residents call in complaints.
“Public housing is a calling,” incoming NYCHA Chair Russ said. “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.”