I am NextGeneration NYCHA

NYCHA is launching an exciting new campaign: I am NextGeneration NYCHA. We’re featuring residents, employees, and supporters of NYCHA who embody the commitment to service that’s required to transform our NextGeneration NYCHA vision of safe, clean and connected communities into a reality. If you know someone you’d like to nominate, send your suggestion to nextgen@nycha.nyc.gov or tweet #IAmNextGen @NYCHA


Leah Sullo

Investment Banker, Mizuho Bank

“I tell young people that the only limits that exist are the ones you create for yourself. Don’t listen to anyone that tells you ‘you can’t.’ If you believe you can do it, and you seek out the resources that you need, then anything is possible.”

Grew up in Jackson Houses

Joseph Kemp, Resident Member, PSAC

Queensbridge Houses resident and graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

“I want to make our communities safer, for both residents and visitors. Every community has its issues, problems that can be fixed. As a member of the Public Safety Action Committee (PSAC) I can help solve some of those problems.”


Thomas M. Chan

NYPD Chief of Transportation

“My mother considered it a blessing for us to live at Smith Houses. I know there are many other New Yorkers who will continue to use this opportunity as a stepping stone to becoming part of the middle class.”

Grew up in Alfred E. Smith Houses

Melissa Mark-Viverito

New York City Council Speaker

“We are working to make sure that NYCHA isn’t just the City’s cornerstone of affordable housing, but a center of opportunity for its residents. Turning untapped potential into endless possibilities is the promise this city makes to all New Yorkers.”

Speaker Mark-Viverito delivered her 2015 State of the City address at Johnson Houses Community Center. She has more NYCHA developments in her district than any other City Council member.

Dr. Mary Bassett

Commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

“Safe, clean, stable housing is the foundation of a decent life. You can’t tell someone who has diabetes or high blood pressure that they have to manage their diseases if they don’t have stable housing.”

Grew up in NYCHA’s Dyckman Houses

Daphne Boret-Camguilhem

Senior Advisor to VP of Energy and Sustainability, Capital Projects Division

“As the City’s largest residential landlord, NYCHA provides a critical service for New Yorkers and must stay current with industry best practices. I identify opportunities to harness solar power, technology innovation, and open data to help us reduce NYCHA’s carbon footprint and improve quality of life for our residents.”


Paul Philpott

Lexington Houses resident who graduated from the Green City Force Urban Farm Corps and is a Square Roots entrepreneur. He sells the organic produce he grows inside a recycled shipping container to neighbors in his community.

“I want to help people understand why locally sourced food is so important. It’s not just knowing where your food comes from but who is growing it and how it’s grown. It’s knowing and trusting the farmer who puts time and love into what you eat, because that’s healthier for you and healthier for our environment.”


Michele Moore

Director of Recovery and Resilience, Office of Recovery and Resilience

“My family was personally affected by Hurricane Sandy, which first made me interested in working with City programs to rebuild stronger and more resilient than before. The recovery work that NYCHA is doing affects the lives of tens of thousands of families and will also make future generations safer. Right now, both the largest FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] grant in history and Hurricane Sandy project in the City are being overseen by four women: Chair Olatoye, EVP for Capital Projects Deborah Goddard, VP for Recovery and Resilience Joy Sinderbrand (my boss) and myself. Most of this work is in the predominantly male-oriented construction field. If someone like me, who is new to construction, can flourish in this field, then women can do anything.”


Tischelle George

Assistant Director, Asset Building and Financial Literacy, Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability‚Äč

“I love creating new opportunities for our residents. For instance, with Virtual Vita tax preparation services, they can get their taxes done close to home and they get to keep more of their hard earned money. Now that makes me happy!”


Shelisa Reid

Property Manager, Wyckoff Houses‚Äč

“I was raised in Breukelen Houses, where I still live. Our property manager then was Melania Allen, now Director of the Bronx Property Management Department. She encouraged me to join the Housing Youth trainee program and I was hired full time in 1994, even before I completed my training. Living in public housing makes it easier to relate to residents because I understand the frustration and hardship they face and I’m fighting for the same things. I’ve worked under Melania as I came up through the ranks from secretary, and I’ve had other mentors, too. ‘Each one teach one, each one reach one’ is my motto. I’ve tried to also help others who want to advance here. It’s good to take pride in other people’s accomplishments, not just your own.”


Stanley McEntire

Caretaker, Albany Houses

“When the tenants see me working hard and notice how clean the building is, they call me “old school.” At the end of the day, I know I gave it my all.”


Sybille Louis

Director for Performance Tracking & Analytics

“At NYCHA, data and demographics aren’t just numbers – they’re stories.”


Yolanda Peterkin-Johnson

Chief of Housing Community Activities

“NYCHA’s family reunification is significant because the 97 individuals we have reunified have all been successful. I love to see that, when we give people and families a safe and stable place to live, they will take care of each other.”


Lolita Miller

Resident of Ocean Bay (Bayside) for nearly 50 years

“NextGeneration NYCHA is coming to life – the things that were neglected are being addressed. I want to see the good come back, and maybe be even better. I want the kids in this neighborhood to say, ‘Wow, this is where I live.’”


Darnell Smith

Resident of St. Nicholas Houses

“I wouldn’t have been able to pursue a career in construction management if I didn’t have a place to call home and build a foundation when I was released. I’m grateful for the opportunity to turn the page and start a new life story.”


Michael Johnson

Winner of the Sloan Award, the City of New York’s most prestigious public service award.

“I am here early in the morning and the residents can reach me all day long on my cell phone. I enjoy serving them and working with my staff every day."

Assistant Property Maintenance Supervisor, Johnson Houses


Shameya Muniz & April Andrews

Shameya and April are residents of Queensbridge Houses working at SpotOn Networks to help bring free, high-speed broadband service to their development.

“We need to be able to access the Internet. We’re the biggest public housing development in the country. This will create a lot of growth in the community.” —Shameya Muniz (left)

“I’m proud to be able to bring this to my community. I would like to see more women in the IT field. I always see coding for girls, but there are so many areas of IT that are untouched.” —April Andrews (right)


Leandro Payero & Joseph Repetti

NYPD Neighborhood Coordination Officers, Butler Houses

“Due to the efforts of everyone in the community — including the Butler Houses Resident Association, property management, residents, the NYPD, and other partners — we were able to accomplish our goals of making this development cleaner. Working together we can make a difference."


Kim Maxwell

NYCHA Digital Van Driver

“I have the best job at NYCHA. People land jobs and come back and tell me. I see seniors often and build relationships. The van being there for the school kids makes all the difference. The kids are so much fun and I am a presence in their neighborhoods — they all know me. Residents are really grateful that we have this service.”


Marisol Semprit

Superintendent’s Secretary

“We have everything here at NYCHA, all nationalities – it’s like the United Nations. My job is great because my residents know me. They talk to me like I’m family. If you help people, they will always remember that about you."

Language Bank volunteer, Wald Houses resident


Ivan Maestre

Caretaker, Claremont Rehab

“I grew up in St. Mary’s Park houses and have three siblings and an uncle who also work for NYCHA, but the Claremont Rehab residents really are my family too. Because of the fire, I am more aware of what goes on around me, I use more caution when working the grounds, and I know every corner of every building. I have the confidence to take a leap of faith and follow my heart when the moment is right.”

On August 2, 2016, NYCHA Caretaker Ivan Maestre rescued a two-week old infant, four adults and the family pet from a third floor apartment fire at Claremont Rehab


Frank Romano

Chief of Operations, Office of Energy and Sustainability

“I am proud to be recognized for something that I feel is part of my job. Green City Force teaches young people a different way to live, how to think about energy usage, and it’s a good starting point. I started work as a caretaker, and I moved up the ladder. If they like NYCHA, and enjoy what they do, this is a great place to be.”

Recipient of the Green City Force 2016 Outstanding Partnership Award


Roberto Rodriguez

Caretaker, Johnson Houses

“I really appreciate the kind of work that I do. I help make the residents feel good about where they live. I always give them as much as I can and much more if possible. They tell me, “Rob you’re the best.” I say I try my hardest. I don’t like to be called the best because I feel like we can all do the same amount of work. If I could do it, you could do it.”

John DeCarlo Memorial Award Winner 2016; Grew up in East River Houses


D'Andra Van Heusen

Senior Community Development Coordinator, Community Development President, NYCHA LGBTQ Employee Association

“Respecting the diversity of all employees creates an inclusive, collaborative workplace where we can work together on our NextGeneration NYCHA goals.”


Michael Iglesias

Plumber’s Helper, Manhattan, Safety Associate

“The way I look at it, safety begins with me. If we all hold ourselves accountable for our actions, NYCHA will be a much safer environment.”

Skilled Trades Safety Congress since 2014

Cephas Suber

Maintenance Worker, Bayview Houses

“Everyone deserves to have a safe place to live. You want to walk in the building knowing that the doors are secure, that there are cameras; you want someplace clean, someplace that you feel good about and confident to live in. If we all work together, we can find a common ground to do things safely and efficiently so that we can move forward.”

NYCHA Advanced Safety Associate since 2014, resident at Surfside Gardens

Rachael Terebo

Caretaker, Cooper Park Houses

“Everyone’s safety is important to me. Every week I walk the grounds of the development, check the compactor, and walk the perimeter of the building looking for any hazards and report them to make sure they’re addressed.”

NYCHA Safety Associate since 2013

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Darold Burgess

Vice President, Tenant Association

“As a community leader, I want to empower residents to work in partnership with NYCHA to express our concerns for the community and improve our quality of life.”

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Gerald Nelson

Vice President for Public Safety, NYCHA

“Effectively tackling safety and quality of life issues begins with strong collaboration with NYCHA residents. Our new Public Safety Advisory Committee, which includes residents plus NYCHA and NYPD leadership, will help create a strong framework for safety initiatives that best serves both residents and the larger community.”

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Denise Guess

Community Coordinator, NYCHA Resident Engagement

“It’s important to listen carefully and communicate with residents. When they see that you followed-up to get the assistance they need, this builds trust that helps you work together on new goals.”

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Dr. James Kim

Optometrist and new retail tenant at Williamsburg Houses, Brooklyn

“All New Yorkers deserve access to great neighborhood services, especially healthcare. Providing the same high quality care to everyone in Williamsburg, including NYCHA residents, is not only good for my practice but the right thing to do.”


Pamela Azore & Joy Junious

NYCHA Environmental Ambassadors

“This green thing is kind of infectious! Just think, if a fraction of us recycle, we’d be surprised at how much we could change.” —Pamela Azore (left)

Lives in Pomonok Houses.

“My goal is to inspire people in my neighborhood to really take pride in it and make it a better place for current and future generations.” —Joy Junious (right)

Lives in Brownsville Houses.

Chief James Secreto

NYPD Housing Bureau Chief

“I tell my officers to treat everyone as if they are family. NYCHA residents are willing to be partners with you.”

Grew up in Albany Houses.

Walthene Primus

Chair of AFSCME's National Women’s Advisory Committee; grew up in Albany Houses.

"As National AFSCME Chair, I know that many women are not treated as well as we are here at NYCHA. There are so many issues that we can work on together here that can impact our friends, our neighbors and ours daughters."

A member of the Mayor’s Commission on Gender Equity; former president of Local 957. NYCHA employee for 39 years.

Dr. Aprille Ericsson

Aerospace Engineer, NASA; grew up in Roosevelt Houses

"My mother exposed us to our history; I learned about African American figures in math and science, like Charles Drew, George Washington Carver, and Mae Jemison. It’s important to learn your history, whether you’re African American, Hispanic, or Asian American. Knowing my history gave me confidence."

Dr. Ericsson is the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University and to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. An aerospace engineer, teacher, mentor, and mother who lectures about the importance of women and diversity in science, technology, engineering, and math careers, Dr. Ericsson has spoken at the White House and Oprah’s Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.


Jewels Marshall

Age 16, Jackson Houses resident.

"If you see something and you have the power to change it, go out and make a difference. Your voice will be heard and it will mean something." Appointed by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to serve on Community Board 1, representing Mott Haven, Port Morris, and Melrose.


Meet Shanna Castillo

Director, NYCHA's Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability (REES)

"I am excited and inspired every time I learn of a resident's success. Providing residents with access to opportunities to increase their assets and income will have a long lasting, positive impact on our communities." Shanna Castillo grew up in Carey Gardens and is director of NYCHA's Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability (REES) office.


Meet Denise Torres

Technical Resource Advisor, Maintenance, Repairs and Skilled Trades

"Each of these tenants, they could be our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. I tell my staff: Do the best job possible, what you would do for your own family. When you join the Authority, if you have a great heart, this is where it’s supposed to show." Torres grew up in Clason Point Gardens and was recognized by partners in the Healthy Homes Program at the NYC Department of Health for her “leadership to improve [public] housing quality and protect the health of NYCHA families.”


Meet Robert White

NYCHA Recovery to Resiliency Community Outreach Worker

"As community outreach workers, we visit residents in Sandy-impacted developments to see how the storm affected them. If they're looking for work or training, if they have issues with NYCHA or the conditions in their building, we're there to listen. And we always follow-up." White is also a resident of Red Hook East Houses.

Learn more about Hurricane Sandy Recovery at NYCHA


Meet Caroline Thunder

Master Gardener, Pink Houses Farm

"We need to make sure our seniors are healthy and eating well, but out here in East New York, we live in a fresh food desert. So we started our own farm."


Meet Harrison Torres

Supervisor of Caretakers at Patterson Houses

"When I was a kid growing up, I used to watch the Housing Workers doing their jobs, bagging the garbage and stuff like that, thinking it was easy. But now I realize it's much harder than I thought! There's always something different every day, a new experience to learn from. I'm trying to take it all the way I can go!" Torres is a graduate of REES Training Academy and started with NYCHA as an AmeriCorps volunteer.

Read the Metro NY story on Harrison Torres, published October 6, 2015