Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s new CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority will enter as the agency revamps itself and boosts the number of affordable units, as part of a landmark federal lawsuit it settled in late 2018.
Tracey Scott takes over less than six months after its previous CEO, Eugene Jones Jr., exited. In a statement announcing the hire, Lightfoot said Scott’s “breadth of experience and dedication for improving public housing make her a perfect fit” to lead the agency during a time when the city is rethinking its approach to affordable housing, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Scott is veteran public housing executive, having served as interim executive director and CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority since August. Before that, she worked for two years as the city agency’s deputy executive director. She also spent eight years at the Atlanta Housing Authority.
As head of the CHA, Scott is tasked with overseeing an agency that manages housing for more than 63,000 households in Chicago through a number of subsidy programs. It oversees hundreds of buildings for senior residents and pays rents for thousands of residents through its voucher program, according to the Tribune. The agency has a $432 million annual budget and $1.84 billion in assets.
Two years ago, and following a decades-long battle, the CHA approved a settlement requiring it to develop a number of affordable projects in the city by 2024. The CHA and lawyers for former public housing residents agreed to settle the case filed in 1966, which accused the agency of concentrating public housing in poor neighborhoods and restricting residents’ ability to rent in higher-income areas.
Scott’s predecessor, Eugene Jones Jr., was appointed by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and stepped down in late September. He announced the move a month earlier, following Lightfoot’s April mayoral election. James Bebley, who filled in as acting CEO, will stay on as the agency’s chief operating officer.
The CHA’s board still needs to approve Scott’s appointment. Its next meeting is March 17. [Tribune] — Brianna Kelly