Joseph Shuldiner Podcast


Engage the Residents

Ep. 57 - Can you imagine managing a 500K+ subsidized housing unit program with 10,238 employees? How about 9.375 units plus 58,000 families in the Section 8 program? Joseph Shuldiner is the only executive director in the country to manage three behemoth housing authorities! He was HUD's Assistant Secretary of Public and Indian Housing, and he was a turnaround agent for the Chicago Housing Authority. Hear what it is like to manage enormous government agencies - and thousands of staff members. All under public scrutiny.

Top Takeaways:

    • The importance of building housing with opportunities for affordable housing to exercise economic integration
    • Learning how to handle compliance with employees and residents when there's friction during building developments
    • Recognizing trade unions as allies, not impediments, and work with them to reach employees' interests

Listen in to learn the importance of integrating communities when developing housing and not segregate them with the bases of income-earning capabilities or race.

"If we were building a city from scratch, we wouldn't build single-family multiple dwellings and decide who lives where. We would want to create opportunities for low-income people to live in all of it, and I think that's the right approach." -Joseph Shuldiner

Joe says the key to it all is to engage the residents, understand the concept of service, work to make people's lives better."  Prior to retirement, he headed up a housing authority he is very proud of today, the Municipal Housing of the City of Yonkers, New York, where he has led the housing authority's complete portfolio conversion through the RAD program, helping the organization to secure around $350 million through tax credits, bonds, and other funding sources to finance the process.

Joseph Shuldiner started out as a legal aid lawyer in the Bronx with a focus on tenants' rights cases and worked for the New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development for 16 years in a number of capacities. He later moved on to New York Housing Authority in 1986 serving as general manager. He then moved on to head the Los Angeles Housing Authority before being appointed by President Clinton as Assistant Secretary of Public and Indian housing in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1993. Shuldiner was selected to spearhead the HUD efforts to transform the Chicago Housing Authority when the federal government took over the agency in 1995. He has recently retired as the executive director of the Yonkers Municipal Housing Authority.

Hear the difference in managing very large to medium sized agencies.

Key Moments:

Why Joe supports economic mix in public housing to avoid concentration of poverty [4:14]

How income reduction automatically became a form of segregation because low-income earners lived in 'projects' [7:11]

Joe describes the difference between the housing authorities he worked in; Chicago, New York, Los Angeles [8:42]

The challenges of large housing authorities which include the approach to staff management and operations [12:26]

The strategies that Joseph and his different teams used with staff and residents to ensure the success of new developments [16:30]

Joe's experience of working with unions within an agency to look into employees' interests [24:01]

Joe explains his legacy as his ability to bring inclusion in communities when developing housing [27:28]

Why the future of housing needs the private sector even if the government owns the land [30:03]

The world needs to come together to highlight commonalities, not differences [32:49]

How the new normal and the COVID-19 restrictions are hitting Joe now that he's retired [35:31]

Why this is the best time for young people in their twenties to join the affordable housing sector [37:05]

CLPHA Clara Fox Award

Urban Omnibus Article

Yonkers Housing Authority Message

Urban Wire

Yonkers Tribune Article

LA Times Article

ShelterForce Article

Clara Fox Award Interview

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