New York City Housing Preservation and Development head Rafael Cestero is leaving the Bloomberg administration to accept a job in the private sector, according to a release out from City Hall today.
“Throughout his career, both in City government and in the nonprofit sector, Rafael has embodied the best of what public service can be,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. “Rafael made significant sacrifices, including living apart from his wife and children. I want to thank them all for what they’ve done to help us make New York City a better place to live. I’m glad Rafael will stay through March to help with his transition. I know he will thrive in his new role and wish him well in this next chapter of his life.”
Cestero took the job as housing chief after Shaun Donovan left to become the secretary of HUD in Washington, D.C. Cestero helped develop the city’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, which is geared to help the city meet its goal of creating or preserving 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014, and led the city’s foreclosure prevention efforts, and had generally received high marks from people within the administration and advocates for affordable housing. Something of a kerfluffle was created when Cestero was first named to the post, since he did not even live in the five boroughs and had to move here in order to accept the job.
Says Cestero: “What we have accomplished together at HPD is remarkable by any definition and I could not be prouder to have been a part of it. I am grateful to Mayor Bloomberg for having trusted me to lead this extraordinary agency and for his unwavering belief that our best days as a city are still in front of us. I am confident we have built a strong foundation from which HPD will continue to protect our City’s tenants and expand and preserve its affordable housing stock for generations to come.”
UPDATED: HPD tells us that Cestero is leaving the agency to work for L and M Development Partners, one of the city’s leading affordable housing developments. To avoid a conflict of interest, Cestero will not be working on projects in New York.