Mayor Adams Names Leila Bozorg as Executive Director for Housing, Launches Housing-at-Risk Task Force to Save Affordable Housing Projects

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NEW YORK – At the New York Housing Conference’s annual awards ceremony, New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the appointment of Leila Bozorg — a national affordable housing expert — as the city’s new executive director of housing, part of the expanded housing, economic development, and workforce team under Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer. To further his administration’s commitment to accelerating the production and preservation of affordable housing, Mayor Adams also launched the “Housing-at-Risk Task Force” to save projects that are in jeopardy due to the expiration of the “Affordable Housing New York” 421-a tax abatement program.

 Created through an executive order signed by Mayor Adams today, the “Housing-at-Risk Task Force” will bring together city agencies and external project management support to help ensure the thousands of affordable units at risk of losing their financing will be delivered as safe, high-quality, affordable homes for New Yorkers. The task force will work to ensure up to 50 projects will stay on schedule to deliver at least 5,000 affordable units before the deadline in 2026.

 “We are not waiting to move forward on our ambitious housing agenda,” said Mayor Adams. “We are doing everything we can to combat the housing and affordability crisis for New Yorkers now. And today’s appointment of Leila Bozorg as our new executive director of housing and the launch of the Housing-at-Risk Task Force underscore our urgency and will deliver new tools and support in our fight against this crisis.”

 “New York is enormously lucky to have Leila as the executive director for housing. Leila is a first-class public servant with decades of experience in housing in New York and Washington, D.C. Her talents, work ethic, and compassion are unmatched and will benefit New Yorkers across the five boroughs as we work to combat our city’s housing crisis,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “With the launch of the ‘Housing-at-Risk Task Force,’ we are showing once again that this administration is laser-focused on ‘Getting Stuff Built’ and delivering homes for New York families.”

 “Every New Yorker deserves dignified housing they can afford. Delivering on this fundamental vision for the world’s greatest city demands clear-eyed commitment and action from each of us — from the capitol to the council, from each of our neighbors to the community boards that so intimately know each borough, block, and lot,” said incoming Executive Director of Housing Bozorg. “I’m honored that Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer have charged me with leading the housing agenda, and I acknowledge all those whose shoulders I stand on and amongst, as we continue to tackle the affordability crises head-on together. I intend to bring my two decades of experience in housing policy, city planning, and promoting equity to the task, and look forward to working with partners across agencies and sectors in the effort. Every part of life in New York City begins with a safe place to call home, and everyone deserves the opportunity to build and sustain their lives here.”

 As executive director for housing, Bozorg will be charged with using every tool at the city’s disposal to preserve existing housing — including at New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) facilities — as well as protect renters and homeowners and build more housing across the five boroughs. Bozorg will partner with relevant staff, agencies, and offices focused on housing, including the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the New York City Housing Development Corporation, NYCHA, and the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations.

 While the 421-a tax abatement for affordable housing projects expired as of June 15, 2022, projects that began before its expiration can still receive the tax benefit as long as they are complete by June 15, 2026. To help these projects reach completion, the new task force will convene the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), New York City Department of Environmental Protection, Fire Department of the City of New York, New York City Department of Transportation, and HPD, as well as local authorities and external parties. Through an application process and proactive outreach, the task force will lead affordable projects through a “boot camp” process to establish a clear schedule for permitting and inspections to help the projects obtain sign-off to welcome residents. The application to enter the program is available online.

 This new initiative builds on the Adams administration’s efforts to cut red tape and combat the city’s housing and affordability crisis. In December 2022, Mayor Adams released “Get Stuff Built,” a comprehensive, three-pronged effort to rapidly accelerate the pace of housing production with a “moonshot” goal of meeting the need for 500,000 new homes over the next decade. In September 2023, Mayor Adams unveiled hisCity of Yes for Housing Opportunity” proposal to create “a little more housing in every neighborhood” through historic, pro-housing zoning reforms.

 “Red tape can’t be the reason these housing projects slip away and become stalled construction projects,” said “Get Stuff Built” Executive Director Rob Holbrook. “Regular communication with permitting agencies following a clear schedule is the best way to build confidence that the construction process will be delivered on time.”

 “I’m excited about working with Leila in her new role as executive director of housing at this critical time in our city’s history,” said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “Leila is a creative, thoughtful, and proven leader and an innovative urban planner. She served as deputy commissioner at HPD, and our team can tell you firsthand that she is the kind of leader who is deeply committed to tackling New York’s most intractable challenges. In her key leadership roles, she has promoted racial equity and worked to eliminate bureaucracy — a key focus of our administration. Leila is the consummate professional with the perfect track record in the housing arena at HUD, at HPD, and in a variety of other key roles. I look forward to our collaboration as we rally our partners in government and the private sector to address New York City’s housing affordability crisis.”

 “On behalf of NYCHA, I’d like to extend my most sincere congratulations to Leila Bozorg on her new appointment,” said NYCHA CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “Leila has a wealth of housing experience, and we truly look forward to working alongside her to provide New Yorkers with affordable housing and the quality of life they deserve.”

 “With her extensive background in affordable housing, neighborhood planning, and community engagement, Leila Bozorg is well positioned to serve as the new executive director for housing,” said New York City Housing Development Corporation President Eric Enderlin. “Having held senior positions at multiple levels of government, Leila has both the experience and temperament to lead a coordinated interagency effort to tackle the city’s housing crisis.”

 “Leila Bozorg is an incredibly dedicated public servant, and we are lucky to have her in this new role,” said New York City Department of City Planning Director and City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick. “She has been a thoughtful and collaborative member of the City Planning Commission, and I couldn’t be more excited to continue working with her as executive director for housing to deliver the housing that New Yorkers need.”

 “If we don’t take action now, thousands of affordable homes for New York families could be lost,” said DOB Commissioner Jimmy Oddo. “I commend Mayor Adams for creating this new task force, which is focused on breaking down silos between agencies and providing the government support needed to get these housing projects across the finish line.”

 “I am thrilled to be able to ‘Get Stuff Done’ alongside Leila Bozorg, a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience in housing and city planning,” said Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations Executive Director Rudy S. Giuliani. “Leila’s deep expertise and passion for shaping vibrant, resilient communities make her a standout addition, and I look forward to working with her to ensure all New Yorkers have safe and resilient homes.”

 About Leila Bozorg

 Leila Bozorg is a committed public servant with two decades of experience improving equitable access to opportunity in housing and education. She rejoins the City of New York after serving as the chief of strategy and policy at NYC Kids RISE, where she helped facilitate the citywide expansion of the Save for College program. In 2021, Bozorg was appointed by the Manhattan borough president to the New York City Planning Commission.

 From 2014 to 2020, Bozorg served in multiple roles at HPD, including as chief of staff to the commissioner, and later as the deputy commissioner for neighborhood strategies, where she managed teams with over 300 staff in overseeing HPD’s Housing Choice Voucher program, as well as the agency’s land use, predevelopment, and neighborhood planning strategies. While at HPD, Bozorg was the 2019 recipient of the Citizen Housing and Planning Commission’s Ibo Balton Award for Community Planning. 

 Prior to her work at HPD, Bozorg served at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for four years during the Obama administration, concluding her federal service as a senior policy advisor in the Office of Affordable Housing Preservation.

 Bozorg also worked in Ahmedabad, India as a fellow with the American India Foundation. She was named a 2022 “40 under 40 Rising Star” by City & State magazine, a 2023 “Notable LGBTQIA+ leader” by Crain’s New York, and a 2023 “Pride Power 100” by City & State.

 She holds a B.A. in Government Studies from Wesleyan University and a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 Bozorg will report to Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer.

 “Throughout her impressive career in public service, Leila Bozorg has placed a notable focus on the true spirit of community,” said RuthAnne Visnauskas, commissioner and CEO, New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Whether making it possible for thousands of children to attend college or linking city planning efforts with affordable housing opportunities, she has a track record of implementing policy through the principles of fairness, equity and humanity. Looking ahead to her new role, I believe Leila will prove to be a key partner in our shared mission to address the housing crisis and ensure more New Yorkers have access to a safe, stable, and affordable home.”

 “The Adams administration is bringing in a real star to lead its housing agenda,” said Alicia Glen, founder and managing principal, MSquared; and former deputy mayor for housing and economic development. “Having seen her in action, I know that Leila has the breadth of experience, the passion, and the technical skills to navigate a complex playing field and actually get stuff done.”

 “Leila Bozorg has a proven record of working with communities across the city to make our affordable housing programs more equitable, to better tailor development to neighborhood needs and goals, and to ensure that the City’s programs help both residents and neighborhoods thrive,” said Vicki Been, former deputy mayor of housing and economic development and former HPD commissioner.  “Leila knows how to get things done; the City is lucky to have someone so smart, compassionate, and effective step up to help solve the City’s housing crisis.”  

 “Every stakeholder in the city and state needs to be laser focused on the affordability crises and related challenges facing New Yorkers across our region”, said Rachel Fee, executive director, New York Housing Conference. “The Administration’s appointment of Leila Bozorg, a deft public servant with a depth of knowledge and experience, to lead the housing agenda and rally the willing partners across the city is an excellent and encouraging step.”

 “I’m thrilled to see someone as thoughtful and talented as Leila Bozorg be appointed to lead the housing agenda and agencies at this time,” said Alexa Sewell, president, Settlement Housing Fund. “We have much work to do across the city to ensure that every neighborhood is one that provides stable, affordable housing and access to opportunity, and I look forward to working with Leila in these efforts.”

 “Leila Bozorg is an impeccable choice to lead housing in New York City Hall. She brings a significant depth of knowledge and experience in housing policy, along with an exceptional dedication to creating stable, dignified housing options for all that is rooted in empathy and compassion for her fellow New Yorkers,” said Annemarie Gray, executive director, Open New York. “There is no higher priority for the future of our city, and I can think of no one better to take on the challenge. I look forward to working with Leila in her new role.”

 “Leila Bozorg’s experience at both the local and national levels on affordable housing policy, public housing preservation, and land use lend a unique skill set that could not be more timely for our great city,” said Richard Roberts, principal, Redstone Equity Partners. “The housing issues in our city are complex and having worked with Leila and seen her in action, I know her appointment will offer a fresh perspective on the challenges before us.”  

 “Congratulations to Leila Bozorg on her newly appointed role as New York City Executive Director for Housing. Director Bozorg has extensive housing policy knowledge, with a focus on economic opportunity and equity – essential insight to solving the city’s accelerating housing crisis and supporting our community’s most vulnerable,” said Jolie Milstein, president and CEO, the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. “The New York State Association for Affordable Housing looks forward to working with her and the Adams administration for innovative affordable housing solutions, investment, and production across the five boroughs.”  

 I’m thrilled to see Leila Bozorg bring her expertise, keen mind, and sharp tact to the Executive Director for Housing role,” said Mathew Wambua, vice chair, Merchants Capital. “The affordability challenges our city is facing are like none we’ve seen before, so I commend the Administration for demonstrating their commitment to these complex issues through this appointment.”

 “To deliver on the city’s ambitious housing goals and keep up with our fast-moving environment, having an experienced and effective leadership team at City Hall is essential,” said Howard Slatkin, executive director, Citizens Housing & Planning Council. “With her extraordinary experience, insight, and attunement to New Yorkers’ housing needs, there is no one better equipped for this role than Leila Bozorg. She will be an invaluable addition.”

 “We commend the selection of Leila Bozorg for the executive director of housing role, one that we know she will undertake with the same deep expertise, passion and focus on communities that has defined her entire career,” said Baaba Halm, VP and market leader, Enterprise Community Partners. “We look forward to working in close partnership on our shared priorities and sincerely congratulate Leila on this important next step.”

 “Having worked closely with Leila Bozorg at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, I saw her remarkable ability to inspire and lead with a deep passion for creating a more inclusive city through innovative housing policy, establishing her as the ideal leader for shaping our city’s housing future,” said Matthew Murphy, executive director, NYU Furman Center.

 “At Trinity, we have the privilege of providing financial support to address the full spectrum of housing and homelessness issues,” said Bea de la Torre, chief philanthropy officer, Trinity Church Wall Street. “Leila Bozorg is the right person to bring together our city government with service providers, developers, and advocates best positioned to help.”