Margarita López was appointed Member of the Board of the New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on April 28, 2006. On September 24, 2007, he appointed her NYCHA’s Environmental Coordinator to “spearhead environmental initiatives at the Authority”.
Since her appointment as Environmental Coordinator, the NYCHA Board established the Energy Conservation and Environmental Sustainability or “Green” Committee, which is comprised of the heads of every department responsible for the delivery of energy and resident services.
The Commissioner and her “green” team have overseen the retrofitting of NYCHA’s infrastructure, including the replacement of hot water heaters, boilers, elevators, and lighting. During this period, over 11,000 trees have been planted on NYCHA’s property, its gardening program has been overhauled and expanded, and new procurement policies and practices have been implemented to establish a more environmentally sustainable future for the Authority. The measures taken by NYCHA have already reduced its carbon footprint, curtailed energy costs, and placed NYCHA ahead of most city agencies in advancing Mayor Bloomberg’s 2030 PlaNYC.
Prior to her present work at the Authority, Ms. Lopez was a member of the New York City Council representing the 2nd Councilmanic District in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As a Council Member, Ms. López served as the first Chair of the newly expanded Council’s Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disabilities (“Mental Health Committee”). She also served as a member of the Council’s Finance, Contracts, Environmental and Higher Education Committees.
Ms. López’ service in the Mental Health Committee was the next and logical step that followed a career dedicated to working with the homeless, mentally ill population in New York City. For the twelve years preceding her election to the City Council, Ms. López worked as a Senior Team Leader, securing homes and services for individuals diagnosed with mental illness, some of whom also suffered from drug and alcohol addictions. She served on the MacArthur Foundation’s Advisory Committee on Mental Illness and the Law and has lectured and trained on issues relating to multi-culturism and team building in Los Angeles, CA, Seattle, WA, Philadelphia, PA, Washington, D.C., Providence, RI, and San Juan, PR.
Ms. López relocated to Manhattan’s Lower East Side from her native Puerto Rico in 1978, where she became a community activist dedicated to the preservation and creation of affordable housing. Her efforts resulted in the construction and restoration of hundreds of units of affordable housing and the provision of a wide-range of support services for area residents. She also served as a member of Community Board 3 for several years.
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