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New York City's Chief Housing Officer To Resign

New York City Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz plans to step down this summer from her post in city government, leaving a significant hole in Mayor Eric Adams’ administration.

Jessica Katz and Mayor Eric Adams in December 2022.

Katz told Gothamist she plans to step down from her position in city government this summer. Katz was appointed to the newly created position in the first weeks of Adams' mayoralty, serving as a point person for the city's various agencies that deal with housing and homelessness, such as the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the New York City Housing Authority and the Department of Social Services.

“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,” Katz told Gothamist.

She said she is unsure of her next moves and intends to take the summer off.

City officials told Gothamist that it is unclear who would replace Katz, adding that they may scrap the position altogether with Katz’s departure, currently planned for early July.

Katz, who worked for HPD under mayors Bill de Blasio and Michael Bloomberg, then for supportive housing provider Lantern, helped build Adams’ housing blueprint with a view to creating a permanent solution for homelessness. The plan created a citywide strategy for the first time, facilitating affordable housing development and quickening the transition process from shelter to homes, she told Gothamist. 

“I think for a generation or more, we've looked for every other reason why homelessness exists or why it's so persistent in our city and in a way that almost seems to blame the people who have become homeless,” Katz said. 

Homelessness has soared to record levels under Adams, following the end of the state’s eviction moratorium, critical staffing shortages at city agencies and multiple months of record-breaking rents. The recent rise in newly arrived migrants in NYC is also putting pressure on housing and social services, Katz said.

Katz played a pivotal role in changes to NYCHA, including the plan to move the more than 25,000 units to the NYCHA Preservation Trust and source funding via Section 8 and private management while maintaining city control.

Katz also publicly criticized the idea of having a unit-creation goal in mind as part of the city's housing strategy, but in December, Adams reversed course, declaring a "moonshot" goal of adding 500,000 new units in the city over the next decade.