June 18, 2019
NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio and Secretary Ben Carson today announced the appointment of Gregory Russ as Chair of the New York City Housing Authority. Russ has more than 25 years of experience working to protect and turn around public housing across the country, most recently as CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and as the former Executive Director of the Cambridge Housing Authority, where he spearheaded sweeping plans to deliver extensive apartment renovations across the entire housing portfolio.
Russ was selected by Mayor 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.
"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. 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," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "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."
"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 Secretary Carson. "Working closely with the City, the federal monitor, and – most importantly – NYCHA residents, we expect Greg will lead the housing authority in a new direction. We look forward to seeing solutions to NYCHA's decades-old problems, and HUD will continue to advocate for the hundreds of thousands of families whose livelihoods depend on access to safe, fair, and affordable housing."
"Public housing is a calling. 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," said incoming NYCHA Chair Greg Russ.
"Throughout Greg's career, he has gained expertise from working at every administrative level of various public housing authorities," said Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development. "The more than 400,000 residents living in NYCHA can trust that Greg will put their needs first. He is committed to preserving public housing, removing red tape and securing resources to get much-needed repairs done, and to opening up job and educational opportunities for our residents."
Russ is a tested change-agent who has helped rebuild and protect struggling public housing across the country, including in Detroit, Philadelphia and Chicago.
At the Cambridge Housing Authority, Russ 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 its NYCHA 2.0 plan, the de Blasio administration is now using those same tools 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.
Russ has a track record of investing in jobs and education opportunities for residents. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Russ served for the first time as head of a public housing authority, 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.
Russ will take office in mid-August 2019. Kathryn Garcia, who has been serving as Chair on an interim basis, will return to her position as Commissioner of the Sanitation Department.
Gregory Russ is a seasoned housing professional with decades of management experience. Most recently, he served as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority. Before Minneapolis, Russ served as Executive Director of the Cambridge Housing Authority. He also served as Deputy Executive Director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, helping oversee the management, maintenance operations and security services for the 70,000 residents. From 1997 to 2002, he served in several roles with the Chicago Housing Authority. Russ also served as Principal Associate for Abt Associates, a consulting firm assisting public, private and non-profit housing agencies with strategic planning.
In 1995, Russ worked as Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, working under the Clinton Administration. He later served as Director of Troubled Agency Recovery.
Russ holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and is a board member of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. He is also former president of the Public Housing Authority Director's Association and a member of the Federal Reserve Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Advisory Council.