NYC Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz Stepping Down
New York City’s chief housing officer, Jessica Katz, plans to leave her post less than 18 months after stepping in, as the city continues to deal with an affordable housing crisis and an influx of international migrants.
Katz previously worked at housing policy nonprofit the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, and joined Eric Adams’ administration in January 2022 in a newly created role. She was tasked with overseeing the city’s main housing agencies — the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the Housing Development Corporation, the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations and the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants — in an effort to improve coordination between the agencies to help tackle housing issues.
Katz told the Gothamist website, which first reported the news, that she plans to leave her position next month and doesn’t have a new job lined up.
“These jobs are a real sprint,” Katz told Gothamist. “I kind of made a list for myself of what I wanted to do when I started this, and I’ve been working my way down that list, so I think now’s the right time.”
A spokesperson for Adams did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It’s unclear if the city plans to replace Katz or dissolve the position.
Adams came into office with housing advocates pinning a long list of hopes on his administration, but the city has struggled to deal with homelessness and a lack of affordable housing. (Despite that, the real estate industry remains largely behind Adams.)
Tuesday, Adams warned problems could get worse thanks to an influx of migrants crossing the southern U.S. border and asked a court to suspend a law requiring the city to house every homeless person who asks for temporary housing.
While in the post, Katz lobbied Albany to bring back the 421a tax subsidy to help build more affordable housing in the city, helped create Adams’ first housing plan, and worked on the city’s efforts to improve conditions in public housing.
However, Katz decided to leave in part because of confusion in City Hall over who’s in charge of addressing the city’s housing issues and Adams’ opposition to a bill that aimed to make it easier for people to qualify for a rental subsidy program, The New York Times reported.
Nicholas Rizzi can be reached at email@example.com.