Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today appointed a new board of the New York City Housing Authority, following legislative changes – proposed by the Administration – that allow the Mayor to reconstitute the board as a body of six part-time members, as opposed to three salaried positions, with a full-time chairman. The members of the new board are Diahann Billings-Burford, Beatrice Byrd, Victor A. González, Kyle Kimball, Willie Mae Lewis and Emily Youssouf. As initial members of the new board, they are appointed for fixed terms of one, two or three years. After the initial terms, all appointees will serve three years. John Rhea will continue to serve as chairman of the board. The new board will meet for the first time on Wednesday, September 25.
“Despite the many challenges that have resulted from severe cuts in federal funding to public housing, and even as some other cities have walked away from their commitment to public housing, we are determined to preserve and improve the homes of the more than 600,000 New Yorkers who live in NYCHA facilities,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “With this new governance model in place, NYCHA can continue making progress reducing the backlog of repairs and maintenance requests, while also implementing PlanNYCHA, which includes creative, revenue-generating ideas that will benefit residents.”
Diahann Billings-Burford serves as the nation’s first-ever municipal Chief Service Officer, charged with leading NYC Service – New York City’s initiative to promote a new era of service and volunteerism in New York City. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Billings-Burford served as Deputy Executive Director of External Affairs for City Year New York. Prior to joining City Year, she served as the Director of External Affairs (NY) for Achievement First, a charter school management organization. Ms. Billings-Burford spent most of her career with Prep for Prep, a New York based leadership development organization where she served in various capacities, including Director of College Guidance and Director of Leadership Development Opportunities. A graduate of Yale University, she also holds a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
Beatrice Byrd is the former President of the Red Hook West Resident Association. Previously, Ms. Byrd served in various capacities within the former New York City Board of Education, including as an 8th grade English and Social Studies teacher; an Assistant Principal; and a Neighborhood Literacy Coordinator for Community School District 15. She has attended various institutions of higher learning – Hunter College, New York University, Cornell University, and Columbia’s Teachers College, where she pursued a doctoral degree in History and Philosophy of Education.
Victor A. González is the first public housing resident to be named a member of the Board of the New York City Housing Authority. Mr. González, who has lived in NYCHA’s public housing for 50 years, currently resides in the Rabbi Stephen Wise Towers on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He is a tireless public housing resident leader and advocate, and has served as president of the Wise Towers Residents Association since 2003 and as alternative member of NYCHA’s Resident Advisory Board. Mr. González also has done extensive work with advocacy groups, organizing workshop meetings for tenants and supporting activities that impact not only his development, Wise Towers, but also the community around him. Born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, Mr. González received his Bachelor’s degree from Mercy College and served for five years in the U.S. Air Force, honorably discharged after reaching the rank of Sergeant of Security Police. Following his military service, he spent 33 years working for the United Parcel Service, retiring as international Team Leader in Customer Service in 2005.
Kyle Kimball is the President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Since joining NYCEDC in 2008, Mr. Kimball has helped to develop and implement NYCEDC’s strategy to strengthen the City’s economy. NYCEDC’s economic transformation agenda includes an aggressive slate of programs aimed at helping legacy industries transition to 21st Century business models, attracting promising new industries, and expanding entrepreneurship to ensure that the City is well positioned to thrive in the dynamic 21st Century economy. Beyond working to overhaul and grow the City’s economy, Mr. Kimball’s efforts have also included overseeing billions of dollars in capital investments ranging from basic infrastructure improvements to new parks and streetscapes across the City, as well as implementing several of the Administration’s most ambitious area-wide redevelopment projects, bringing new housing, infrastructure, and job opportunities to neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. Prior to joining NYCEDC, Mr. Kimball worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. as a Vice President and at J.P. Morgan, also as a Vice President. Mr. Kimball is a graduate of Harvard College, where he majored in Government. He received his Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Willie Mae Lewis is the President of the St. Nicholas Houses Resident Association, and has served in that capacity since 1979. After her early involvement in the lunch-counter demonstrations of the Civil Rights Period, Ms. Lewis came to New York and became deeply involved in her community. She has worked for the Department of Education since 1989, currently at P.S. 197, just a few blocks from her home. Ms. Lewis is also a deeply involved supporter of the new Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy Charter School at St. Nicholas Houses, where she serves as a member of the board of directors. She completed her education at the College of New Rochelle.
Emily A. Youssouf is a veteran in the fields of finance and housing, with an extensive background of more than 30 years of leadership positions and strong results in the private and public sectors. Ms. Youssouf is currently a Clinical Professor at NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, a master’s program in real estate where she teaches courses in Real Estate Capital Markets, Affordable Housing Finance and is the curriculum coordinator for the finance track. Previously she was a Managing Director at JP Morgan Securities where she was head of the Housing Finance Department. Prior to her time at JP Morgan, Ms. Youssouf was President of the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC). Under her direction, HDC became the number one issuer of multi-family affordable housing bonds in the country for 2004 through 2007. Ms. Youssouf is a graduate of Wagner College with Honors, and holds an MA in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy.