“Wataru was absolutely great. We kept going through the process even though there was a pandemic, and he kept in contact and explained to me what we needed to do to get the lead out.”

Wataru is part of the special cohort of HPDers who joined the team shortly before the pandemic. Despite having very little time in his new office before transitioning to working from home, he has embraced his new role of helping to reduce lead hazards so people can live in safe, healthy homes.

HPD staff explain why they chose to get vaccinated against COVID-19

“I feel like it’s my responsibility to get vaccinated for myself, my family, and colleagues. I’ve lived in NYC my whole life and can’t wait to see it bounce back!” — Penny Langsam, Deputy Agency Chief Contracting Officer

We sat down with Rona Reodica, Assistant Commissioner for the Division of Building and Land Development Services (BLDS) to discuss the revised Design Guidelines for the City’s affordable housing recently released by her team.

Tell me about the work your team does

My amazing team, Building and Land Development Services, known as BLDS, is the largest division within the Office of Development and includes 130 staff who provide architectural, engineering, environmental, cost valuation, and construction support services for HPD-assisted new construction and preservation projects. We’re involved in the project during its entire lifecycle, from pre-development and closing all the way through post-construction.

How do the Design Guidelines fit into that?

Every new construction project, including senior…

2020 was an immensely challenging year. The pandemic has completely changed the landscape of our lives, but HPD never let up the critical work of helping New Yorkers find safe, quality affordable housing. Here are some snapshots of our work over the past twelve months to meet that challenge:

“I still remember the day I went to sign my papers. The lady in front of me said, ‘Once you sign this piece of paper, you’re obligated to put the people of the City of New York first.’ When you’re a civil servant, you put your job ahead of everything else.”

It was only a few years out of high school when Artie took her first job with the City of New York. …

“There are so many people in the City who are working on response and recovery, and we are all being moved forward by something internal to get to a common goal.”

As Director of Emergency Preparedness, Jessica has seen this agency through coastal storms, fires, building collapses, and more, but nothing close to the COVID-19 pandemic. …

Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development

Since March, our city has come together to fight the gravest threat it has faced in a century. As of October 19, 2020, at least 19,292 of our neighbors have died from the terrible COVID-19 pandemic, and tens of thousands continue to battle harmful side-effects of the disease. The health and economic impacts of the pandemic are devastating and unprecedented, with over 16% of New Yorkers currently unemployed and over 30% expressing no or little confidence that they will be able to pay October’s rent.

Throughout this tragedy, we have also…

“That experience shook me to my core and drove home the point of human vulnerability and how simple acts of kindness can be so important.”

Davor was born in Croatia and came to the US in the 70s. He started working for HPD in 1985, which means that this year, he’s celebrating 35 years of service! He’s worked through multiple administrations and worn many hats, and still, his compassion for and dedication to New Yorkers are as strong as ever. They fuel the often-challenging work he does as a Case Manager for HPD’s Emergency Housing Services.

I’ve worked here for…

“Even though there’s a crisis going on right now, we still need to remove these health hazards, especially now that kids are spending all this extra time at home.”

It’s only been two and half years since Dawn joined HPD, but in that time, she’s seen everything from black mold to apocalyptic basement scenes. As supervisor for the Environmental Hazards Unit, she’s earned the respect of her team for the work ethic, reliability, and skills she brings to every single job.

I was out of the full-time workforce for 13 years raising my kids. When I came back, I was…

“It was the highest form of public service to step up and help essential workers and all New Yorkers during a time of need. That’s why I joined HPD in the first place.”

Sarah Mallory came to HPD nearly four years ago driven by the desire to serve New Yorkers through good government. She came in as a senior legislative analyst and quickly worked her way up to Executive Director of Government Affairs. …


NYC HPD's mission is to promote the construction and preservation of affordable, high quality housing for families in thriving and diverse neighborhoods.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store