Public housing champion Michael Kelly has been tapped as general manager of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).
Kelly is credited with rescuing public housing in city’s including New Orleans, San Francisco and Philadelphia.
The appointment comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio and Housing Authority Chair Shola Olatoye stare at a budget deficit and an $18 billion estimate for basic repairs to 334 public housing developments in the city.
“This administration is committed to preserving our NYCHA buildings and protecting NYCHA residents, and we are bringing back one of the nation’s best to help get the job done,” said de Blasio this morning (Wednesday).
“Michael Kelly’s track record of strengthening housing authorities across the country speaks for itself, and with his previous experience here at New York City’s Housing Authority, I know he will be ready to hit the ground running.”
Kelly is a licensed architect, a certified urban planner and a LEED Green Associate of the US Green Building Council.
He began his career at the San Francisco Housing Authority, after which he was hired at HUD as a Troubled Agency Recovery Specialist.
After spending a year at HUD, he went on to lead the New Orleans Housing Authority (HANO) from 1995 to 1999, ultimately earning the agency’s removal from HUD’s Troubled Housing List.
He went on to serve as Executive Director of the District of Columbia Housing Authority for nine years, spearheading a massive modernization program that has reportedly added 20 years to the authority property’s life.
Kelly served as General Manager at NYCHA from 2009 to 2011 before being tapped by the Obama administration to lead an overhaul of the Philadelphia Housing Authority – the nation’s fourth largest housing authority with 1,500 employees and a $400 million operating budget.
After Philadelphia, he returned to Washington, D.C. to oversee its Department of Housing and Community Development.
At the time, the Washington Post reported that Kelly quit his Philly job amid allegations that he promoted a staffer with whom he was having an affair.
In a statement on his appointment, Olatoye made no mention of the claims, but heralded the “operational excellence” Kelly would bring to her department at a time when it is facing “challenges and opportunities.”
And his old boss, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, called him a “much-needed innovator for the Philadelphia Housing Authority.”
“He joined us at a time of great uncertainty and with his wealth of knowledge, tenacity, and management expertise, he was able to put that organization on the path to stability,” added Nutter.
In a report last year, Public Advocate Scott Stringer said blamed “bureaucratic incompetence” at NYCHA for missed opportunities to obtain $692 million in federal funding, including $350 million left on the table for failure secure federal incentives to install energy-efficient lighting, water heaters and boilers.
The Housing Authority also failed to nab $263 million from the Section 8 rental assistance program to fund more than 8,000 public housing units and an additional $76 million in operating subsidies, the audit said.