June 19, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced his appointment of Minneapolis Public Housing Authority Executive Director/CEO Greg Russ as the next Chair and CEO of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Russ expects to leave his position with MPHA on August 2.

Russ joined MPHA in February 2017. The move to NYCHA continues his career of more than three decades serving low-income families through the nation’s public and subsidized housing programs. NYCHA is the largest public housing agency in the U.S., serving more than 600,000 people through its public housing and Section 8 voucher programs.

His selection for the post follows an extensive search by Mayor de Blasio, along with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to find the right leader amid a federal legal settlement calling for “fundamental reform” at NYCHA. In his announcement, Mayor de Blasio called Russ “someone with the guts to make big changes and the heart to do right by public housing residents.” [Read the New York announcement below.]

In a note to MPHA employees, Russ wrote, “In recent weeks I have heard from the mayor of New York City, along with HUD and other federal officials, making their strongest case to convince me that I could make a difference addressing the deep challenges and urgent need to turn around the struggling New York City Housing Authority. In the end, it proved a challenge and an opportunity that I could not ignore.”

The MPHA Board of Commissioners will begin a process to select MPHA’s next leader. MPHA’s executive director is chosen by the board and confirmed by the Minneapolis City Council.

Russ brought to Minneapolis his deep knowledge of federal housing programs and a transformational vision for the future of MPHA’s public housing and voucher programs, including:

  • Setting in motion a Strategic Vision and Capital Plan to preserve and reinvest in MPHA’s 6,000 aging public housing units by pursuing new partnerships, sources of funding, and HUD programs.
  • Overseeing the construction of the Minnehaha Townhomes for families experiencing homelessness—the first new public housing in Minneapolis since 2010.
  • Creating the Quality Maintenance Program, a data-driven approach to public housing maintenance designed to anticipate and fix work-orders before they happen.
  • Forging new partnerships with the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County, including the Stable Homes Stable Schools program to provide housing subsidies to families of elementary students experiencing homelessness.
  • Assembling public housing agencies from across the metro area to find collaborative approaches to open new paths to mobility and economic opportunity.
  • Making new connections across the community, including an unprecedented grant partnerships with the McKnight and Pohlad Foundation, and advising the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis on economic opportunity.

“The contributions Greg has made during his time in Minneapolis will outlast him for generations,” said MPHA Deputy Executive Director Tracey Scott. “He leaves a strong plan and a strong team, who will continue to realize the strategic vision he and our board have laid out for MPHA.”

“Greg Russ is a committed public servant, and I trust his dedication to public housing will serve him well in New York City,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “I wish him the best in his new role. In the coming months, I will work to ensure a smooth leadership transition at MPHA and to help identify a replacement who shares our commitment to preserving and strengthening Minneapolis’ public housing.”

CONTACT: Media@mplspha.org

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