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Mayor de Blasio and New York City Housing Authority Chair Shola Olatoye Announce Michael Kelly as NYCHA's Next General Manager

March 25, 2015

Kelly brings over three decades of leadership experience at public housing authorities across the country

NEW YORK—Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Housing Authority Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye announced the appointment of Michael P. Kelly as the Authority’s next General Manager. A proven housing industry leader, Kelly is a licensed architect and member of the American Institute of Architects, a certified urban planner and member of the American Planning Association, and a LEED Green Associate of the US Green Building Council. Kelly has led and strengthened housing authorities in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans – and he has previously served as General Manager in New York City. Kelly was approved unanimously at a regularly scheduled NYCHA Board meeting this morning.

Kelly began his career by spending a decade at the San Francisco Housing Authority, after which he was hired at HUD as a Troubled Agency Recovery Specialist. After spending a year at HUD, he went on to lead the New Orleans Housing Authority (HANO) from 1995 to 1999, where he established comprehensive agency-wide management improvement initiatives that resulted in the removal of the agency’s status from HUD’s Troubled Housing List. After getting HANO off the Troubled Housing List, he went on to serve as Executive Director of the District of Columbia Housing Authority for 9 years, overseeing a capital budget of $130 million and 8,000 units of public housing as well as 10,000 units under the Housing Choice Voucher Program. At DHCD, he secured an $80 million bond deal to finance the authority’s property modernization and met the two-year deadline to obligate funds. This massive modernization program added 20 years to the authority property’s life and was completed in May 2009.

After building the District’s housing authority into national prominence, Kelly served as General Manager at NYCHA from 2009 to 2011 before being tapped by the Obama administration to lead an overhaul of the Philadelphia Housing Authority – the nation’s fourth largest housing authority with 1,500 employees and a $400 million operating budget. In Philadelphia, he conducted operational assessments of major agency functions and then instituted development and modernization policies to increase productivity and efficiency. After Philadelphia, he returned to Washington, D.C. to oversee its Department of Housing and Community Development. 

“This administration is committed to preserving our NYCHA buildings and protecting NYCHA residents, and we are bringing back one of the nation’s best to help get the job done,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Michael Kelly’s track record of strengthening housing authorities across the country speaks for itself, and with his previous experience here at New York City’s Housing Authority, I know he will be ready to hit the ground running.”

“Michael Kelly has a long and successful history advocating for public housing,” said Chair and CEO Olatoye. “His more than 30 years of experience includes leading several large housing authorities: Philadelphia, the District of Columbia, New Orleans, and San Francisco. He comes to NYCHA aware of both its challenges and opportunities, having served previously as General Manager. I’m excited about the operational excellence he brings to the role and his commitment to preserving our vital public housing stock.”

“I’ve worked at housing authorities across the nation, but I am especially proud to join the de Blasio Administration, given the Mayor’s strong commitment to preserving New York’s precious public housing stock and protecting NYCHA residents,” said incoming NYCHA General Manager Michael Kelly. “I look forward to joining Chair Shola Olatoye’s talented team, and I’m ready to help lead and strengthen NYCHA’s continued path to progress.”
“Michael Kelly has the experience, leadership, and commitment needed to be a an effective advocate for NYCHA residents. I look forward to working with him as our city looks to reinvest in our city’s public housing,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
“I’m confident that Michael Kelly is the right man for the job,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres. “His experience innovating at Housing Authorities across the country will be critical in supporting NYCHA on the road ahead.”

“Michael Kelly has served some of the largest cities in the United States during a distinguished career in public housing, and was a much-needed innovator for the Philadelphia Housing Authority,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. “He joined us at a time of great uncertainty and with his wealth of knowledge, tenacity, and management expertise, he was able to put that organization on the path to stability. I wish him the best of luck as he returns to serve the City of New York.”

“Michael Kelly's extensive knowledge of NYCHA and Philadelphia make Michael a most welcomed addition, at a time when we need someone with his expertise,” said Victor Gonzales, NYCHA Board Member.

“As President of the Tenants Association, I had the opportunity of working with Mr. Kelly before. His biography is very impressive, and I feel he will be an asset to NYCHA,” said NYCHA Board Member Willie Mae Lewis.

“Michael Kelly is a wonderful choice for General Manager of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Michael brings many years of housing authority leadership experience to this new role. Among Michael’s many attributes that qualify him for this position is his unconditional positive regard for public housing residents. While residents and advocates may not always agree with housing authority management, with Michael, there is always mutual respect and honesty. For the 615,000 New Yorkers who are served by the NYCHA, the return of Michael Kelly to NCYHA is good news,” said Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

“We very much valued Michael Kelly’s leadership of the D.C. Housing Authority at the critical time the agency was transitioning out of receivership. He brought to his work in D.C. a deep respect for his residents and an unflagging commitment to working collaboratively with the legal services and advocacy community to meet our clients’ needs.  Michael’s passion for public housing was evident throughout his tenure here in the nation’s capital, and I trust that commitment will be the foundation of his work in NYC,” said Patricia Mullahy Fugere, Executive Director at Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.

“I believe Michael Kelly is the best and most qualified person to serve as General Manager for the NYC Housing Authority. Michael has a wealth of experience and knowledge on what it takes to move a housing authority forward. He understands the importance of creating effective partnerships using the who, what, when, where, why and how concept of accomplishing tasks while being sensitive of the concerns of his partners. Michael has always known that effective general managers should embrace resident participation and staff involvement in improving PHA performance as well as in helping to move people from powerless to powerful,” said Cynthia Wiggins, President/CEO at Guste Homes Resident Management Corporation.

"Michael Kelly brings a powerful combination of heart and smarts to the task of providing affordable housing to low income residents. His years of leadership and service, coupled with his passion of making government systems work for people, should make him a great addition to the team," said David Bowers, Vice President and Market Leader at Enterprise Washington, D.C.

About Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly has more than three decades of experience in the housing industry. He has served as the Executive Director of the Housing Authority of New Orleans, the Washington D.C. Housing Authority, the Philadelphia Housing Authority and General Manager of the New York City Housing Authority. Kelly most recently served as the Director of the District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development. Kelly is also an accomplished professor, serving as the Harvey–Wadsworth Professor of Urban Affairs at Tulane University, and as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Howard University and at the Wagner School of Public Policy at New York University. Kelly is currently a lecturer at Georgetown University.

Kelly began his career in the public housing arena as an architect for the San Francisco Housing Authority in 1983. By 1994, he had achieved the honor of being the first registered architect to head a public housing authority in the U. S. He left San Francisco to serve at the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a Troubled Agency Recovery Specialist, where he provided technical assistance to the Transition Team at the Housing Authority of New Orleans. In 1995, he was asked by Mayor Marc Morial to become Executive Director of the New Orleans Housing Authority.

In addition to being a proven leader in the housing industry, he is a licensed architect and member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), a certified urban planner and member of the American Planning Association (AICP) and a LEED Green Associate of the US Green Building Council.

Kelly, a San Francisco native, is married with three children. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from Princeton University; a Masters of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley; and a Master of Arts in Education from San Francisco State University.

Kelly has several affiliations, including serving as past President of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, past Chairman of the Board for City Year DC, board member for the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare, and Building America Community Development. He is also a member of the National Organization of African Americans in Housing and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.

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