City Names New Housing Commissioner

The city has tapped a longtime Bloomberg administration official to lead the city's Department of Housing, Preservation and Development.

Mathew Wambua, who has served in the administration since 2002, worked with the Economic Development Corporation and the Housing Development Corporation, which is the financing arm of HPD.

"That dedication combined with his stellar management skills and his institutional knowledge of the agency, we think, makes him the perfect person to lead HPD," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday.

HPD is responsible for implementing the city's plan to create and preserve more than 165,000 units of affordable housing. Bloomberg said the city is 2/3 of the way to that goal.

"My commitment to all the residents in New York City is to ensure that the mayor's housing plan is successfully stewarded across the finish line, and in so doing, to build upon the legacy of excellence that has preceded me," Wambua said.

Abby Jo Sigal, with Enterprise Community Partners, a group that finances affordable housing, said the city has made progress on the plan during tough economic times: "The big challenge is sort of how to continue the momentum and use what existing public resources there are available to leverage even more private financing so we can get the housing that's needed to be built," she said. Sigal said she believes Wambua has the experience and the commitment to do that.

Wambua begins his new job next month. He replaces Rafael Cestero, who announced his departure plans earlier this year.