Announcing the 2018 NYCHA-CUNY Scholars

They are the next generation of community advocates, social workers, medical staff, teachers, accountants, and public servants. But first, they’re NYCHA residents in pursuit of their educational dreams at City of University of New York colleges — and the 2018 recipients of NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarships. The scholarships are given to residents who are full-time CUNY students displaying… MORE

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A Look at First Houses, the Birthplace of Public Housing
By John Kolomechuk, Housing Manager

Although it was a sweltering day in August, the Employee Engagement Committee (EEC) was out in full force for a walking tour of First Houses in Manhattan, NYCHA’s first development. This was our first activity as a group since the EEC’s initial cohort “passed the torch” to us, the second cohort, in July. At first… MORE

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On-the-Job Experience for Young NYCHA Residents
The Summer Youth Employment Program Is a Stepping Stone to Success

Whitman Houses resident Skye Carson, 14, wants to be a writer or a lawyer in the future, two careers that require good communication skills. This summer, she greatly improved those skills while working at NYCHA through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). SYEP, which is is operated by the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, provides… MORE

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Safety Symposium Puts Spotlight on Safety

About 300 NYCHA employees attended the Authority’s fifth annual Safety Symposium on June 28 at the Johnson Community Center in East Harlem. Interim Chair and CEO Stanley Brezenoff and Teamsters Local 237 President Gregory Floyd and Vice President Ruben Torres welcomed attendees – property managers, supervisors, and safety associates from across the city as well… MORE

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The Eyes of the Authority
NYCHA Photographer Retires After Decades of Service

You may have met him – for 35 years, Senior Photographer Pete Mikoleski, armed with his trusty Canon camera, has chronicled important events at the Authority, capturing also the hard work of the employees who make it all happen. His work appeared in The NYCHA Journal, this publication, and a variety of informational materials for… MORE

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NYCHA Goes Smoke-Free
Initiative Promotes Healthier Homes and Workplaces

NYCHA developments are now smoke-free, a policy that provides healthier homes for residents and healthier working environments for employees. The “Smoke-Free NYCHA” initiative was developed as part of a new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule for public housing nationwide that prohibits smoking in apartments and buildings or within 25 feet of… MORE

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Housing Court 101
Development Staff Learn the Basics

NYCHA employees are getting some valuable information about housing court proceedings. This spring, Deputy General Counsel Sam Mordi, along with Landlord and Tenant Division Chief Tracy Forrest, brought some clarity to a complicated process. In nine sessions covering all five boroughs, more than 500 property managers, assistant property managers, and housing assistants got tips on… MORE

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Learning to Move Mountains
Alex Mathew Graduates from the City’s Management Academy

Through day-long, weekly workshops each spring, the City’s Management Academy helps new and emerging leaders in city government become better managers. NYCHANow spoke with a recent graduate, Alex Mathew, Deputy Director in the Leased Housing Department, about his experience in the program. Why did you decide to participate in the Management Academy? I first learned… MORE

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REES Zone Coordinator Honored for Service to the Community

Evelyn Melendez was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one of the neighborhoods she serves as a REES Zone Coordinator (the others are Bed-Stuy and Bushwick). She connects residents of 30 developments to partner organizations in their communities, enabling residents to pursue careers and empower themselves and their families economically.   Her dedicated service has not… MORE

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A Rising Star at NYCHA
Polina Bakhteiarov Recognized by Real Estate Weekly

Deputy Director for Real Estate Development Polina Bakhteiarov has been recognized as one of Real Estate Weekly’s 2018 “Rising Stars of Real Estate.”   “As a public servant, I am very grateful to be recognized by the real estate industry,” Ms. Bakhteiarov told NYCHANow. “I am passionate about our work to preserve public housing and ensure… MORE

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Erenisse Tavarez: NYCHA’s First Women’s History Month Awardee

Erenisse Tavarez, Acting Senior Vice President for Operations, was honored as the first-ever recipient of NYCHA’s Women’s History Month award. Chair Shola Olatoye presented the award to Ms. Tavarez along with a proclamation of gratitude from Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Public Housing. “We are so honored to thank you… MORE

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NYCHA Celebrates International Women’s Day

Dear Colleagues, Today is International Women’s Day, an annual commemoration to celebrate women’s accomplishments and bring worldwide attention to discrimination against women. NYCHA’s creation is in large part due to the work of larger-than-life women like Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of New York and then the United States, and Mary K. Simkhovitch, president of the… MORE

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Spotlight on IT Department Employee Nina Winer
By Jeffery Benson, Chief IT Auditor

As a member of NYCHA’s IT Project Management Office, Nina Winer knows that information security is the responsibility of every single NYCHA employee. She strives to show employees how, through careful and intelligent use of technology, we can help safeguard NYCHA’s systems and data while fulfilling our mission of providing safe, clean, and connected housing… MORE

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Pairs with Purpose
These Shoes Were Made for a Mission

In October, Deputy Director for Community Safety Strategies Andre Cirilo organized a fundraiser on Staten Island that raised more than $1,000 and collected nearly two dozen boxes of supplies for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Recently, he and members of NYCHA’s Culture & Arts Exchange employee organization partnered with Why Not Care, a… MORE

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Now That’s NextGen!
Mayor’s Office Recognizes Housing Assistant for Top-Notch Customer Service

It was a typical day for Dominique Derville, a housing assistant at the CCC Walk-in Center in Brooklyn, as she cheerfully answered the questions of residents and Section 8 voucher holders and made sure they understood the information she provided. Little did she know, however, that some of these residents were really staff from the… MORE

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New Chief Compliance Officer
Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces Appointment of Edna Wells Handy as Acting NYCHA Chief Compliance Officer

On November 20, 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of Edna Wells Handy to the New York City Housing Authority’s Executive Compliance Department as Acting Chief Compliance Officer. Handy will begin full-time in December. Handy currently serves as legal Counsel to the NYPD Commissioner, and previously served as Commissioner of the City’s Department… MORE

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Lending a Hand to Americans in Need
NYCHA’s OEM Director Provides Critical Support to Relief and Recovery Efforts in Puerto Rico

J.A. Stakenburg, Director of NYCHA’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), spent 15 days in Puerto Rico to help the island recover from the catastrophic destruction of Hurricane Maria. The co-lead and operations section chief of an interagency team sent by the State of New York to assist, Mr. Stakenburg managed the efforts of experts from… MORE

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Building Bonds of Trust
Reflections on Customer Service Week

James Scanlon, Vice President, Capital Projects/Planning and Design: On October 19, several staff members from the Capital Planning Group in Capital Projects accompanied me on a site visit to Rutgers Houses to spend time with frontline staff and to acknowledge Customer Service Week. We were greeted professionally and enthusiastically by the management office staff, including… MORE

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Good Service Comes in 34 Languages
Recognizing NYCHA’s Language Bank Volunteers

NYCHA’s Language Bank Volunteers provide language assistance to the Authority’s limited English proficient residents, applicants, and Section 8 voucher holders, ensuring they have access to information and resources in their original languages. On October 20, 2017, these employee-volunteers were recognized for their service. NYCHA’s Language Bank began in 1990 with 44 employee-volunteers who spoke eight… MORE

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Pomonok Houses Builds a Playground
New Partnership with KaBOOM! Will Bring Playgrounds to NYCHA Developments Across the City

On November 4, volunteers transformed an unused recreational area at Pomonok Houses in Queens into a safe, fun, beautiful playground. It took just six hours for residents, neighbors, and volunteers from NYCHA, KaBOOM!, Playworld, and JetBlue to pour and lay concrete, paint a basketball court and playground floors, and assemble playground equipment to build a… MORE

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Seeking Success through Collaboration and Accountability
By Ava-Gay Blagrove, City Planner, Capital Planning

On September 13, Employee Engagement Committee (EEC) members met to discuss how we personify NYCHA’s core values in our daily work lives. One group’s conversation centered on what it means to be “a collaborative workforce, accountable to ourselves and to our residents.” It was fitting that during this discussion we were joined by the leadership… MORE

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A NYCHA Author’s Dream Comes True
By Valerie Pepe, Analyst, Capital Projects’ Sustainability Programs

On October 9, 2017, I had the privilege and once-in-a lifetime opportunity to be honored at the 73rd Columbus Day Parade – the largest celebration of Italian-American heritage and culture in the United States – for my memoir, “Deformed: My Remarkable Life.” The parade’s Grand Marshal, Leonard Riggio, Founder and Chairman of Barnes & Noble,… MORE

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Celebrating the 2017 NYCHA-CUNY Scholars
The Largest Class of Awardees in the Program’s History

On September 20, NYCHA and the City University of New York (CUNY) celebrated 23 residents for their academic excellence, leadership, and contributions to their communities at the 12th annual NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship Program awards ceremony, held at Borough of Manhattan Community College. The NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship is awarded to residents in full-time CUNY programs with… MORE

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In Memory of Thomas Johnston
The Bronx Borough Deputy Director Started His NYCHA Career in 1994

Thomas Johnston started his NYCHA career in 1994 and rose through the ranks to become a deputy director in the Bronx Property Management Department. With two brothers and a father who were also Authority employees, he came from a true-blue NYCHA family. Mr. Johnston passed away from cancer in May. At Claremont Consolidated’s Family Day… MORE

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Top Recyclers
Latimer Gardens Staff Efforts Recognized

In a June 9 ceremony at the Williamsburg Community Center, NYCHA and nonprofit partner GrowNYC celebrated the exceptional work of Latimer Gardens staff in properly setting out their development’s recyclables. Latimer Gardens met Department of Sanitation pick-up and quality control standards 100 percent of the time. NYCHA’s recycling program was launched in 2015, and now… MORE

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NYCHA’s Urban Fellow Looks Back At Her Experience
by Malikah Williams, Urban Fellow

Amidst the chaos of my final semester of college—trying to do well in my classes, creating new memories with my friends, and enjoying my last few months before I had more responsibilities—my successful application to become an urban fellow was welcomed stability. New York City was my next stop and I was ready to experience… MORE

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Hispanic Society Invites ESD Director to Celebrate Womens’ History Month

NYCHA’s Hispanic Society held a general membership meeting on March 8 in the Ceremonial Room at 90 Church Street, where guest speaker Erenisse Tavarez, Director of the Emergency Services Department (ESD), provided an overview of its operations. A critical aspect of ESD’s mission is to address highpriority emergencies during after-hour operations, such as weekends and… MORE

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Employee Voices: One-Stop Kiosks Put the Customer in Control
by Alexandra Henry, Project Manager, and Jenny Roman, Compliance Analyst, Management Services Department

NYCHA’s residents, Section 8 tenants and other customers now have more access to information and self-service features thanks to approximately 150 one-stop kiosks installed in property management offices (and soon to be installed in customer walk-in centers in Brooklyn and the Bronx). The kiosks increase access to NYCHA’s ever-growing list of online services by allowing residents to interact with… MORE

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Employee Voices: Transforming Business Operations

by Chloe Gutelle, Senior Administrator Last year, NYCHA residents made over 2.8 million requests for repairs. Over half of open repair requests are for skilled trades. In some cases, residents wait months for even one trade to service their apartment. The wait to complete a repair increases when two or three skilled trades must be sequenced to complete the… MORE

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