Adams Taps Affordable Developer and Nonprofit Exec for Top Housing Posts

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Mayor Eric Adams has finally chosen two top housing officials. 

Adams announced on Sunday that former Bronx borough president-turned-affordable-housing-developer Adolfo Carrión Jr.would become the commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, while former nonprofit housing executive Jessica Katz would become the city’s chief housing officer.

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As part of the announcement, Adams reiterated his support for upzoning neighborhoods near major transit hubs, legalizing basement apartments and accessory dwelling units, and converting vacant hotels and offices to affordable housing.

“I said from day one of my campaign that we are going to end the housing affordability crisis, and this is the team of extraordinary leaders who will do just that,” Adams said in a statement. “This team has a clear mission: To create, preserve, and maintain safe, affordable housing that will build a more equitable city.”

As chief housing officer, Katz will oversee the city’s main housing agencies — HPD, the New York City City Housing Development Corporation, the New York City Housing Authority, the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations , and the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants. 

She comes from housing policy nonprofit Citizens Housing and Planning Council, where she advocated for the Soho/Noho rezoning, basement apartment legalization and reforms to the city’s housing lottery and rental subsidy programs. She also spent six years as the assistant commissioner for new construction at HPD under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, leaving the post in 2009.

“​​From expanding our housing supply across the city to ensuring families have easier access to stable homes and finally fixing NYCHA with resident voices at the center of the conversation, there’s a lot to do,” Katz said in a statement. “It is our responsibility to ensure all New Yorkers have an affordable place to live, and I’m ready to get to work, fighting to achieve this for every one of our neighbors.” 

Previously, Carrión served as Bronx borough president from 2001 to 2009 and as a regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama. He started his career representing the West Bronx as a city councilmember in the late 1990s. 

In recent years, Carrión founded his own real estate consulting firm, Metro Futures, and worked with Bronx affordable housing developer Stagg Group

“My parents came from Puerto Rico in the 1950s and moved into a tenement basement apartment in Williamsburg, then into NYCHA’s Jacob Riis Houses and HUD-assisted Haven Plaza on the Lower East Side, and then, with the help of an FHA mortgage, to our first home in the North Bronx,” Carrión said in a statement. “This was all possible because our city and country invested in us. Now we must do the same for this generation. We’re going to work hard to create neighborhoods of opportunity, where families have a chance to get ahead.”

Rebecca Baird-Remba can be reached at rbairdremba@commercialobserver.com.