State’s top housing official takes operations job

RuthAnne Visnauskas to replace Jamie Rubin
February 10, 2017 05:37PM

From left: Jamie Rubin and RuthAnne Visnauskas

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has tapped Jamie Rubin, the state’s top housing official, to become the next director of state operations.

Rubin, commissioner of the state Homes and Community Renewal agency, will start his new role next week, Politico reported. His appointment follows the departure of Jim Malatras, who left last month for a position at SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute of Government.

RuthAnne Visnauskas, executive deputy commissioner at the agency, is expected to replace Rubin.

Rubin’s previous roles have included executive director of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, state director of the president’s Hurricane Sandy Recovery and Rebuilding Task Force and senior advisor to former federal housing secretary, Shaun Donovan. As HCR commissioner — a position he held since May 2015 — Rubin oversaw the development and preservation of low- to middle-income housing in the state and rent regulations in New York City.

In the past year, though, he’s faced considerable roadblocks in the form of the expiration of 421a and withheld housing funds. Only $150 million of the $2 billion pledged to create 100,000 units for low- to middle-income tenants has been released, with the rest tied up in political escrow.

“I think he came in, he set a vision for the statewide housing plan,” Rachel Fee, executive director of the New York Housing Conference, told Politico. “It’s unfortunate that the money has been held up but most of the advocates are supportive of what he outlined for strategic vision for investment for affordable housing in the state.” [Politico]Kathryn Brenzel