Candidate Spotlight – Paul T. Graziano
Paul T. Graziano, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City and Housing Commissioner of the Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development
Gans, Gans, & Associates (gga) is pleased to have worked closely with Executive Director Paul T. Graziano and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) in conducting more than 20 executive searches over the past 10 years. Earlier this year, gga conducted a nationwide search that resulted in Anthony Scott being named Deputy Executive Director of HABC. “We can always rely on Simone Gans Barefield and her staff at gga to help us find well-qualified, top-notch housing professionals,” said Mr. Graziano. “We are excited to work with Mr. Scott in continuing to fulfill our mission of providing high quality service and affordable housing to 25,000 low income families in Baltimore.”
Growing up in Vermont, Mr. Graziano learned at an early age about good work ethics from his father and gained a thirst for knowledge and education from his mother. He also developed a passion for making a difference in the community and in people’s lives. With an insatiable hunger to learn about the world around him and a determination to contribute to the betterment of society, he left Vermont to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). During his time at MIT, Mr. Graziano earned a Bachelor of Science in Planning and a Master in City Planning. Before coming to Baltimore, he served as General Manager (Chief Executive Officer) of the New York City Housing Authority. In this executive capacity, he oversaw a portfolio of more than 250,000 units of Public Housing and Section 8, with a total annual budget of more than $2 billion.
In November 2000, Mayor Martin O’Malley appointed Mr. Graziano as Housing Commissioner. In this role, Mr. Graziano is responsible for the oversight of HABC and the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Mr. Graziano restructured HCD and HABC and successfully eliminated redundancy and ensured program accountability within the two agencies. He has also been able to more effectively target public resources.
One of Executive Director Graziano’s greatest accomplishments during his longstanding tenure at Baltimore Housing has been turning around a once troubled public housing agency. Under his methodical and persistent leadership, he has brought much-needed stability to the 5th largest public housing authority in the nation. Another major accomplishment under Mr. Graziano’s leadership was HABC’s designation as a Moving to Work (MTW) agency by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2005, a merit reserved for only 36 agencies nationwide. With this designation, HABC has been able to increase the housing choices for Baltimore’s low-income families by providing incentives to families with children whose heads of household are working, seeking work or are participating in training programs to help them become employed and financially self-sufficient.
As an MTW agency, HABC can create public housing policies and procedures outside the framework of established standards. Over the years, HABC has designed and tested innovative housing and self-sufficiency strategies for low-income families through HUD exemptions that combine operating, capital and tenant-based assistance funds into a single agency-wide funding source.
In 2009, HABC received $66 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. Included in the funds were $32.7 million awarded for capital improvements and an additional $33.4 million in grants under ARRA’s highly competitive Capital Fund Recovery Competition (CFRC). HABC is using the ARRA funds to renovate approximately 240 dilapidated scattered sites and 30 conventional public housing units throughout Baltimore. “The funds have greatly helped HABC’s endeavor to bring these units back into productive use, provide affordable housing to our residents, and reinvigorate distressed neighborhoods,” said Mr. Graziano.
This past summer, Mr. Graziano’s commitment and passion for affordable housing was once again recognized when HABC received the prestigious National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Merit Award for achieving a 99.7% occupancy rate. NAHRO also honored HABC for its innovative efforts to reduce maintenance response times, record-high rates of completion and timeliness for annual rent recertifications, and high rent collection rates.
“Paul brought to that job a sort of professional, methodical persistence to turning around the housing authority, to laying the groundwork for Baltimore’s redevelopment,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. “He’s not a show horse, but a workhorse.”
Executive Director Graziano has over 30 years of academic and professional experience in Housing & Community Development.
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