New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Interim CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt today announced six appointments to the newly established board of the New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust. Following the publication of final voting procedures for the Trust last December, the formation of the board marks another key milestone, which is expected to unlock billions of dollars in federal funding for much-needed repairs for NYCHA residents across the five boroughs.
The six appointees are:
- Lisa Bova-Hiatt, Board Chair (ex officio); Interim CEO, NYCHA
- Karen Blondel, Resident Advisory Board Nominee; President, Red Hook West Houses Tenant Association
- Baaba Halm, Member At-Large; Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners
- Jessica Katz, New York City Chief Housing Officer (ex officio)
- Annika Lescott-Martinez, Chief Financial Officer, NYCHA (ex officio)
- Barbara McFadden, Resident At-Large; President, Nostrand Houses Tenant Association; and Vice Chair, NYCHA Citywide Council of Presidents
“There is no team better prepared to lead NYCHA into this new chapter than the six women housing leaders we are appointing today,” said Mayor Adams. “This group brings deep ties to NYCHA residents, decades of service to our communities, and an unmatched commitment to their neighbors. I want to thank the board for taking on this responsibility, because I am confident that with the right tools and leadership, NYCHA can live up to the promise of providing safe, high-quality, affordable housing for New Yorkers.”
“It is an honor to join the board for the NYCHA Public Housing Preservation Trust. As envisioned in Mayor Adams’ ‘Housing Our Neighbors’ blueprint, the board includes resident leaders who have strong records of advocating for their fellow tenants,” said Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “Tenants will join me, my colleagues at NYCHA, and vital housing advocacy and labor voices to serve NYCHA tenants and protect our public housing. Tenant decision-making is the future of NYCHA and has long been my priority. I know this entire board shares these values and will make them a pillar of this board’s work.”
“Today’s appointments to the board are foundational to the future success, governance, and oversight of the Public Housing Preservation Trust, an innovative tool that — along with PACT and comprehensive modernization — will bring investment into NYCHA developments and long-overdue improvements for residents across the city,” said NYCHA Interim CEO Bova-Hiatt. “As we move another step closer to the first resident votes, we are grateful for the service of these exceptional board members whose diverse expertise, talents, and experiences will help guide this pioneering effort and usher in a new chapter for the Authority.”
“As NYCHA’s chief financial officer, I contend every day with the dire financial needs and realities of the Authority as we work to address our pillar areas and preserve public housing for future generations of New Yorkers,” said NYCHA Chief Financial Officer Annika Lescott-Martinez. “I am pleased to serve on the board of the Trust and look forward to seeing necessary capital infused into NYCHA buildings to the benefit of the residents who live there.”
“As a 40-year public housing resident and tenants-rights leader, I am honored to have been a part of this process from the outset and to continue my involvement as a member of the board,” said Karen Blondel, president, Red Hook West Houses Tenant Association. “For far too long, my neighbors and I have felt forgotten — but with the Trust, we will now have real choice and another viable path for improving the conditions of our homes. I thank NYCHA and the city for including me and for ensuring that the voices of residents are heard.”
“I am honored to be appointed to the board of the New York City Preservation Trust,” said Baaba Halm, vice president and New York market leader, Enterprise Community Partners. “As the largest public housing authority in North America and New York City’s single biggest source of deeply affordable housing, the success of NYCHA is critical to the very future of New York City. I look forward to joining the other appointees and bringing our collective expertise to bear toward preserving these most important of assets.”
“I have been an enthusiastic supporter of the Trust because I firmly believe that it will afford me and my neighbors the opportunity to receive desperately needed repairs, while protecting our rights and keeping our rents affordable,” said Barbara McFadden, president, Nostrand Houses Tenant Association; and vice chair, NYCHA Citywide Council of Presidents. “Residents deserve to have all options on the table — and I can’t wait to see the possibilities that come to public housing as a result of this measure.”
Terms for board members will be three years but staggered at initial appointment to ensure continuity. Board members, except ex officio members, will be compensated with a $250 stipend for every four hours of work performed for the Trust, not to exceed $1,500 per month. State law outlines a nine-member board for the Trust; the outstanding positions must be filled with two nominees by the Citywide Council of Presidents and one from a labor union representing NYCHA employees, and members will be seated expeditiously when nominations are received.
The first board meeting is expected to take place in the months ahead, along with the announcement of the site of the first Trust vote. NYCHA is continuing work to establish the Trust.
Mayor Adams and NYCHA are establishing the Trust at a critical moment for NYCHA, which faces tens of billions of dollars in capital needs following decades of federal disinvestment and urgent financial challenges. As a fully public entity, the Trust will bring billions of dollars in federal funding to finance comprehensive renovations for thousands of NYCHA apartments, while always maintaining residents’ rights — including permanently affordable rent and keeping NYCHA properties 100-percent public.
A hallmark of the Trust is the resident opt-in process that allows residents to choose the future of their homes and whether their development — if selected for a vote — would enter the Trust. NYCHA published draft and final voting procedures in October 2022 and December 2022 respectively, following an engagement process that included resident leaders and policy experts, as well as the submission of more than 300 comments from the public.
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