CHPC staff and board chair, Richard Roberts, at our 2017 Annual Luncheon

Jessica Katz, Executive Director

Jessica joins CHPC from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, where she most recently served as the Associate Commissioner for New Construction. In that role she oversaw the creation of affordable and special needs housing—serving everyone from the formerly homeless to middle-income New Yorkers. Leading a team of more than 60 professionals, she has been responsible for an annual capital budget of more than $500 million and for creating thousands of much-needed units of housing. She has held a variety of roles at HPD, including as Assistant Commissioner of Special Needs Housing, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner, and Assistant Commissioner for Preservation Finance.

Jessica began her career with HPD in 2003, and started as the Production Manager for Special Needs Housing, gaining in-depth experience in the creation of housing for our most vulnerable populations. She left HPD in 2009 to become the Executive Director of Lantern Community Services, a not-for-profit that operates social service programs in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan as well as operating 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing.

“Jessica’s experience in government and the non-profit sector, building housing for New Yorkers with great needs, will be a wonderful complement to CHPC’s mission to shape public policies that improve our City’s neighborhoods,” said CHPC President Mark Ginsberg. “Throughout her career, she has shown an awareness of how nuanced policymaking can be, and that will be very helpful as she helps steer CHPC.”

Jessica received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Geography from McGill University and went on to receive a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Sarah Watson, Deputy Director

Sarah Watson is a housing professional who has built a diverse and unique career in housing policy in a wide variety of housing roles in both London and New York. In London, she worked in the development and management of affordable housing and urban renewal – specializing in using resident involvement to improve housing management policies and programs.

In New York, Sarah has worked at CHPC since 2007. She began as a Policy Analyst conducting research and analysis of NYC’s complex housing marketplace. More recently she has taken on a leadership role, devising and shaping CHPC’s research and education initiatives and ensuring they have a real impact in public policy. Sarah is the author and manager of the Making Room initiative,  a new approach to housing policy that seeks to match the design of a city’s housing with the needs of its households,  was the content curator for the Making Room exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, and the new national exhibition at the National Building Museum, is responsible for the work of the Zoning Committee and many other policy projects.

As Deputy Director, Sarah also supports the Director in managing the operations and governance of CHPC. She develops and oversees the annual budget, manages the communications strategy, and develops board relations. She also supervises the overall workplan, policy staff and administrative staff, the William R Ginsberg Fellowship program, CHPC Connect, a study tour program for international visitors, and the CHPC archives and library.

Sarah is a frequent speaker, guest lecturer, and panelist and co-teaches a housing policy class at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Sarah holds an MSc in Housing and Regeneration Policy from the London School of Economics.


Neil Reilly, Senior Policy Analyst

Neil Reilly is a writer trained in public policy analysis. His work on CHPC’s policy projects includes our Making Neighborhoods initiative on demographic change, evaluating an initiative of the New York City Housing Authority, and reimagining a property tax system for New York City. Neil also writes the recurring “Gems from the Archives” posts for this website as well as most of CHPC’s tweets!

Prior to joining CHPC, Neil was a research assistant at the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, where he wrote policy and issue briefs, helped design a field experiment, and contributed to a series spotlighting housing policy issues in the 2013 mayoral race. While working in the U.S. Senate, Neil crafted policy memos on high-speed rail and the relationship of immigration to Social Security solvency, as well as a white paper on gun control. He also served in community development and fundraising roles in non-profit organizations in the social service and arts administration fields. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the Wagner School of New York University, where his thesis examined the capital budgeting policy of the MTA.

Away from the office, Neil is active on the Community Advisory Board for a family shelter in his neighborhood. He worked on the Participatory Budgeting initiative of the New York City Council, from its inception through its fifth year, in his home district. A classically trained euphonium player, he fiddles around with his guitar for fun. He is an avid soccer player and sports fan. Neil was a 2014 Fellow of the New Leaders Council, where he published an article on fair housing in 2017, and also contributes to the Brooklyn Quarterly magazine as an editor focused urban social issues.


Kate Leitch, Policy Analyst

Kate Leitch is a researcher and analyst, who is currently focused on advancing CHPC’s Making Room At Home initiative. Like her colleagues, she also has a hand in several other CHPC efforts, including administration of the Green Buildings Committee.

Before joining CHPC, Kate was a structural engineer who returned to school to study public policy and administration. She has extensive experience as a project manager and senior structural engineer working in a variety of cities in the US and abroad collaborating with teams including Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Daniel Liebskind.

Kate also served as a legislative aide to then Council Member Gale Brewer where she worked on a wide range of issues such as inclusionary zoning and 421-a Tax Exemptions. A published writer, an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and active in the civic life of NYC, Kate brings a wealth of analytical and technical skills to her Fellowship position at CHPC.

Kate has a B.S. in Engineering from Brown University, a Master of Engineering from MIT, and a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.


Dillon Massey, Housing Informatics/Product Designer

Dillon Massey is a researcher focused on connecting people to CHPC’s work through the use of technology, mapping, and design. Dillon also manages CHPC’s communications efforts, and is involved in the Making Neighborhoods initiative and other projects. He also serves as an ambassador for CARTO.

Although only recently graduated from the University of Richmond with a BA in Geography and Environmental Studies, Dillon is already accomplished in his field of Geography and Geospatial Analysis. He has been an AmeriCorps Volunteer and his internship with the US Agency for International Development took him to Lima, Peru, where he assisted local environmental and property rights efforts in the Andean Amazon. Using his skills in geospatial analysis and mapping, he also led an online-mapping pilot program for USAID’s GeoCenter in Washington, DC.

Dillon served as a Bonner Scholar at the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, where he studied demography and urban planning in the City of Richmond, Virginia. Dillon has also taught urban planning courses at the Osher Institute of the School for Professional and Continuing Studies at the University of Richmond.

He is a graduate of the inaugural class in Urban Placemaking and Management at Pratt Institute, focused on the study and design of public spaces. This program is headed by David Burney.


Vivienne Davis, Administrative Assistant/Program Associate

Vivienne has come to us from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce where she handled membership recruitment and communication, event planning, was the office liaison for the MWBE program, and managed a variety of administrative tasks. She has also applied her considerable organizational skills in her spare time, to a variety of community efforts including coaching tennis to young people and is a member of the Caribbean American Heritage Committee which recognizes the contribution of members of the Caribbean community in NYC.

At CHPC, Vivienne is responsible for managing our database of funders, maintaining the collection in the Marian Sameth and Ruth Dickler Archival Library, acting as CHPC’s point of contact for the public, managing on site logistics for our events, and maintaining communication with CHPC’s Board of Directors.

Jerilyn Perine, Senior Policy Fellow

Jerilyn Perine has built a talented team at CHPC to spearhead a high impact agenda to improve the quality of public debate, inform public policy, promote new ideas, and engage a wide audience, as well as a diverse and active Board Membership to improve NYC neighborhoods.

Ms. Perine is an urban planner with 30 years of experience in housing and community development. She was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development by both Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to lead America’s largest municipal housing agency with more than 3000 employees and an annual operating and capital budget of $800 million.

As Commissioner, Ms. Perine was the author of Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, announced in December 2002 that provided $3 billion over 5 years to preserve and create over 65,000 units of affordable housing. Under Mayor Giuliani she designed and oversaw the management and operation of programs designed to return a significant inventory of tax foreclosed residential property to local, private ownership.

She has lectured widely and collaborated with practitioners in Germany, Austria, Spain, Northern Ireland, England, and Australia. Ms. Perine is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and was a member of the International Brownfield Exchange between 1998 and 2002. She serves on the board of Highbridge Voices, a children’s choir in the South Bronx and the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing.

Harold Shultz, Consultant

Harold Shultz is an attorney who served in New York City government for more than 30 years and specialized in policy and legal affairs particularly in regard to housing preservation, community development, Code Enforcement, and homelessness. As Special Counsel at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Harold was responsible for federal policy issues and was instrumental in the creation of the Third Party Transfer Program and the revised in rem legislation, the negotiation of the 203(k) settlement with HUD, local legislation regarding lead paint in residential housing, the redevelopment of Noble Drew Ali Plaza in Brooklyn and restructuring Code Enforcement. In addition, he oversaw the agency’s computer technology and the production of the Housing and Vacancy Survey.

He is well known for his extensive legal knowledge, his understanding of a troubled housing market, his pioneering work to preserve New York City’s Single Room occupancy housing stock, and his efforts to improve conditions for tenants in the City’s aging housing stock. For CHPC, he has written extensively on topics ranging from affordable housing finance to explaining lead paint rules to recommending new methods to collect water liens. Currently he is working to develop effective solutions for New York City’s over mortgaged rental housing. Harold is also currently the President of Neighborhood Restore; a non-profit organization that administers the Third Party Transfer Program.

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