November 5, 2012

No. 394



Gair Will Oversee Plan to House Thousands of New Yorkers Displaced by Hurricane Sandy; Has 20 Years of Emergency Management Experience

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today appointed Brad Gair as Director of Housing Recovery Operations and named representatives of his administration to serve as Community Recovery Directors. Gair will oversee the City’s efforts to house all New Yorkers who have been displaced by the storm. As Director of Housing Recovery Operations, he will develop a comprehensive inventory of transitional and temporary housing options and oversee the transition of displaced New Yorkers into temporary housing. He will closely coordinate with federal, state and local authorities including the New York City Housing Authority, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Housing Development Corporation and the Department of Homeless Services. The Mayor made the announcement at P.S. 195 Manhattan Beach, where he was joined by Brooklyn Borough Preisdent Marty Markowitz, Hector Figueroa, President of SEIU local 32BJ and Robert Troeller, 891 Custodial Engineers Union.

“Thousands of people had their homes destroyed or badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “In addition to providing short-term shelter, today we are taking action to ensure that we can provide longer-term housing to those who are most in need. Solving the housing problems created by this storm is an enormous challenge, but we know that the resources exist at a variety of federal, state and local agencies. Brad Gair will help us marshal those resources and coordinate efforts so that we can get help to New Yorkers who need it as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

“Mayor Bloomberg and our Administration are committing today to getting all New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy back in their homes or into safe, warm places to live as soon as we can,” Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel said. “Brad Gair brings an outstanding set of skills, knowledge and experience in disaster recovery and housing operations that will ensure that we deliver on this commitment quickly and efficiently.”

“We know many of our public housing residents have been hit hard by this storm,” said New York City Housing Authority Chairman John Rhea. “Because a relatively small number of buildings sustained serious damage, we are hopeful that almost all residents will be able to return to their homes soon. But finding quality housing alternatives for displaced residents is an urgent priority, and Brad Gair’s expertise will ensure that we meet this enormous need.”

“Mayor Bloomberg is committed to ensuring that every New Yorker displaced by Sandy has a safe and warm place to live,” said Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Mat Wambua. “Our agency will work closely with Brad Gair to identify options, including transitional and temporary housing, and get New Yorkers into those homes as quickly as we can.”

In addition, the Mayor appointed four Community Recovery Directors who will ensure New Yorkers in the hardest-hit communities have the information they need about services available to them. They will be the primary points of contact for residents, community groups and elected officials and will coordinate with City policy and operations staff to ensure that all community needs are being address comprehensively. All of the Community Recovery Directors are high-level managers in the Administration with experience working with community groups and elected officials:

  • Brooklyn: Nazli Parvizi, Commissioner of the Community Affairs Unit
  • Manhattan and the Bronx: Matthew Mahoney, Associate Commissioner for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department for Environmental Protection
  • Queens: Diahann Billings-Burford, Chief Service Officer
  • Staten Island: Haeda Mihaltses, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Gair will report to Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. From 2006 to 2009, he served as Deputy Commissioner for the New York City Office of Emergency Management, running the City’s 24×7 operations center and acting as senior field coordinator on major citywide incidents. From 1999 to 2006, Gair served as the Presidentially-appointed Federal Coordinating Officer on numerous disasters and emergencies. He was appointed Federal Recovery Officer for 9/11, with full authority for an $8.8 billion budget and coordination responsibilities for a $21 billion financial recovery package. Gair is a graduate of Villanova University, the University of Arizona, where he earned a M.A. in Geography and the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government where he earned a Certificate in Executive Leadership and Strategic Management. He lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn.


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Contact:          Marc La Vorgna / Julie Wood                        (212) 788-2958

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