Mayor Emanuel announced today that Charles Woodyard will take over as CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), effective October 24. Carlos Ponce, the current interim CEO, will remain as a senior advisor to help ensure a smooth transition.
“Charles Woodyard has proven management ability and a history of innovation in public housing, and is the right man to lead the CHA to the successful completion of its Plan for Transformation and beyond,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Throughout his career, Charles has focused on sound financial management and has dedicated himself to providing residents with affordable, sanitary and safe housing. In Charlotte, Charles was able to successfully integrate public housing into communities, a crucial element of Chicago’s Plan for Transformation. He has built strong partnerships with community groups and encouraged private sector investment in public housing, and we look forward to his leadership here in Chicago.”
In addition to introducing Woodyard as the new CEO of CHA, Emanuel announced that the CHA’s Chairman of the Board will no longer be compensated for services. Previously the chairman had been salaried at a rate of $100,000 per year. This is another step in making sure taxpayer funds are being used effectively to provide the best services to the people of Chicago.
Woodyard has been CEO of the Charlotte Housing Authority since 2002, where he redefined the agency’s approach to public housing and implemented innovations to ensure the safety and smooth integration of public housing residents into housing spread throughout the city of Charlotte. He has 30 years of public sector experience, focusing on targeted asset management and engaging the entire community in providing the most effective public housing options for residents.
“I am looking forward to getting to work in Chicago and tackling the challenges facing the Chicago Housing Authority,” Woodyard said. “This is an area of great need for Chicago and I believe that by using new and creative approaches, we can better serve the many families who rely on public housing and the entire city.”
Emanuel also announced Thursday that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), led by Secretary Shaun Donovan, is going to provide technical assistance to CHA as the organization seeks to strengthen itself in the future and better serve Chicagoans. Secretary Donovan has asked his senior leadership to provide their technical expertise and advice to the CHA, to help CHA weigh the utilization of new tools and approaches for preserving public housing. To support the transition to new leadership, the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation will host the technical support team from HUD as well as other experts to help recalibrate the Plan for new economic times.
Ponce will remain on as a senior advisor as Woodyard transitions into his role as CEO. Ponce guided the organization through the summer, overseeing the revitalization of CHA properties and the implementation of new reimbursement policies for employees.
“Carlos Ponce did excellent work on behalf of the CHA and all Chicagoans during his time as interim CEO,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I am grateful he will continue as senior advisor during this transition.”
The Chicago Housing Authority currently provides public housing for more than 17,000 seniors and families, and serves nearly 37,000 families in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The Plan for Transformation calls for 25,000 units of fully rehabilitated or renovated housing by 2015, along with a complete integration of housing stock into the surrounding neighborhoods.
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