News Headline | Posted Monday, February 10, 2014



Mayor de Blasio to name Shola Olatoye as NYCHA chairman


Shola Olatoye

ongtime advocate of affordable housing, Shola Olatoye, will be chosen by Mayor de Blasio as NYCHA Chairman on Saturday. The announcement will take place at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem.

Shola Olatoye, 39, is expected to be named chair of NYCHA's board. She is currently vice president at the nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners.

Mayor de Blasio will announce on Saturday that he has chosen a longtime advocate of affordable housing to run the troubled Housing Authority, the Daily News has learned.

De Blasio will name Shola Olatoye, 39, a vice president of the nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners, to chair NYCHA’s board, sources told The News.

At Enterprise, Olatoye runs a team of 50 that develops affordable housing. By comparison, NYCHA has 12,000 workers and is landlord to 600,000 New Yorkers.

De Blasio’s choice makes clear he’s taking NYCHA in a radically different direction from the previous chairman, John Rhea, a Wall Streeter with no prior housing experience.

A spokesman for de Blasio declined to comment.

Olatoye — a former HSBC Bank vice president — has spent years in the trenches finding innovative ways to pay for affordable housing. That includes 88 units on NYCHA land in East Harlem in a project announced in 2013.

Shortly after de Blasio was elected in November, Olatoye co-authored a piece in City Limits urging him to change current city policies — including NYCHA’s — to speed up access to housing for domestic-violence victims.

She and her co-author noted that while de Blasio made increasing affordable housing a central tenet of his campaign, “a substantial amount of uncertainty remains about what policies he will introduce as mayor.”

Last fall, before de Blasio was elected, Olatoye wrote for The News pressing for speedier development of affordable housing to help the record number of homeless families find a decent place to live.

She also has ties to de Blasio’s new planning commissioner, Carl Weisbrod, having once worked at his consulting firm, HR&A.

She will likely have to take a salary cut from her current annual haul of $242,000 at Enterprise if the current chair salary stays flat at $210,000, including an assigned car and driver.

Saturday’s announcement will take place at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem where the top Democratic mayoral hopefuls, including de Blasio, had a sleepover in July. De Blasio — during the event organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton — was joined by his daughter, Chiara.

© 2014