Senior Staff

Deputy Executive Director

Catherine Hart -

(908) 965-2400 ext. 105

The Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth (HACE) is moving forward into an increasingly ambitious period of modernization and redevelopment that will have a transformative impact. Within the recent past few years HUD provided an infusion of $4.3 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act Funds (ARRA) to HACE.  This initiative of the Obama Administration supplemented, HACE’s annual $2.5 million capital improvement funding allowing for substantial opportunities to complete Capital Improvements to the buildings within HACE’s portfolio of properties. Additionally, the funds will speed up capital improvements to all HACE facilities and bolster social services to our residents to help improve their quality of life.    

One of the most noteworthy and transformative developments to impact  our agency and the public housing industry in the past twenty-five years is the implementation of HUD’s  project-based management system which took effect in 2007. This recent transition has had the greatest effect upon how we conduct our business management practices.

As Deputy Director, I am principally responsible for day - to - day operations at HACE. The new system has radically shifted our mode of operations away from a centralized main office model to a complete decentralization of operations.  Essentially, this new way of doing business requires each component of HACE, including;  Section 8 Rental Assistance Program, Hope VI, as well as our modernization and maintenance programs to function as their own independent entities.

We now operate at HACE headquarters as a Central Office Cost Center.  Under the new system our revenue stream is drawn from fees generated by each entity. Essentially, it’s a much tighter way of doing business.

The new system required that all management and management staff undergo retraining to expand their capability in order to perform in a more holistic way as “real” property managers.  The net result, the asset/project based system of doing business fosters greater accountability and produces a more efficient way of conducting business.

For our part at the central office, a lot more effort is devoted to addressing administrative issues to assure conformity to the new HUD model. But, at the end of the day, the payoff is a much more accurate system of accounting concerning expenditure of funds.

This has instilled a greater sense of pride among our staff and, by doing so; it empowers our residents in HACE facilities with a higher standard of living and greater accountability from the central office.

In sum total, our future at HACE is brighter than ever. We are in the midst of the final phases of one of the most dramatic transformations of housing in the history of this agency – that being the Hope VI Housing Program. Hope VI has been a blessing and one of the most exciting ventures in housing development for HACE --one that has given our residents an enormous sense of dignity and pride in where and how they live. The face of Public Housing has evolved in recent years with the start and completion of the HOPE VI revitalization of the Elizabethport neighborhood.  The HOPE VI Program was a comprehensive program that provided both affordable housing opportunities as well as economic growth.  The Public housing families were at the heart of this program. Their housing needs were identified and new homes were built based upon those needs.  Additionally, families were given several options when it was determined that their site would be demolished; they could relocation with a Section 8 Voucher, move to one of the new units being built by a selected Developer, or transfer to another Public Housing Development.

Additionally, the public housing department provides subsidized assistance for over 600 senior/disabled people in our portfolio of properties.  Many programs and activities are available to them including Visiting Nurses, Adult Day Care organizations; social and educational programs and trips sponsored by both the Housing Authority and/or resident organizations.

The Section 8 Rental Assistance Program has continued to maintain a portfolio of over 1100 units/participants.  HACE has partnered with many local agencies to provide Section 8 Assistance to those income-eligible individuals for; vouchers for non-elderly persons with disabilities, vouchers for Family Unification, and vouchers for Homeownership Opportunities.  These continued collaborations with other organizations enables HACE to provide the much needed supportive services component critical to the success for these residents maintaining housing.

In closing, I am encouraged that HACE has taken tremendous steps toward ushering in an era of growth and that we will continue to work toward greater sustainability in order to foster opportunities for continued growth and progress for our residents.

Director of Administration

Barbara Johnson -

908-965-2400 ext. 113

Finance Department

For many years the Housing Authority’s stellar achievements have been supported and sustained by the accounting department’s auditing practices, fiscal year-end results and by the manner in which the department consistently meets HUD required financial standards.

Cash Receipts – the accounting department receives all monies and make certain they are properly identified and recorded, and deposited in the appropriate checking account. 

Cash Disbursements – Processing payroll checks are one of the more noticeable back-office activities of the accounting department.  However, they are not the only checks written during the course of the year.  The accounting department writes checks to pay for a wide variety of purchases.  Checks are prepared and signed by those who are authorized to sign checks, and all supporting documents are filed away for proper record keeping. 

Procurement and Inventory – the accounting department keeps track of all purchases that have been placed into inventory and all other assets and services that the Housing Authority acquires.  Construction projects and professional services are procured and analyzed using criteria established by the State of New Jersey as well as procurements standards established by HUD.

Financial Reportingthe accounting department reports the financial position of the Housing Authority for the purposes of presenting its operating performance.   It is the process of assessing and summarizing all the financial transactions and aspects of the agency.  Financial reporting is governed by statutory law, and is done according to accounting and ethical standards. 

Administration Department

The administration department of the Housing Authority works diligently to manage its human resources.  Through the implementation of strategies and policies governed by federal, state and local labor laws, the administration department is responsible for ensuring the general well-being of all members of staff.  This includes managing health benefits, enhancing employee motivation, commitment and productivity, union negotiations, and training to further develop employee skills.  The administration department also ensures that all employees are aware of the latest health and safety procedures. 

Director of Modernization

Jorge Valencia -

908-965-2400 ext. 128

Continuing its goal to uphold the Authority’s Mission to provide Safe, decent, and affordable housing for all its residents, the Modernization Department has for the past decade improved upon existing structures with the use of the Capital Fund Program Dollars.

As Director of Modernization for the Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth my primary responsibility is to maintain the rehabilitation and modernization of existing structures for all public housing facilities eligible under the Capital Improvements Program.  Additionally, my responsibilities encompass the administration of millions of dollars in capital improvement funding secured through the HUD Capital Fund Formula. HACE has been fortunate to be selected as the recipient of $4.3 million in non-competitive capital improvement funds through the American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA), as well as two additional competitive grant awards (1) $1.8 million (2) $500,000.00  This has added a substantial portion of capital funds  which helped speed up critical improvements to several facilities.

The competitive ARRA fund award of $1.8 million was utilized to implement upgrades to heating systems in three facilities: Mravlag Manor, Ford-Leonard and O’Donnell- Dempsey. Additionally, the funds were also appropriated to perform complete upgrades and restoration to all kitchens at Mravlag Manor.

The acquisition of additional funding is a welcome infusion of resources to continue our efforts to make needed upgrades to our facilities as well as to create and/or retain new jobs for residents and local contractors.  

Recent current projects completed in accordance with HACE Capital Five year Plan, the department has completed the following projects:

Mravlag Manor: 

  1. New Construction of the Community Center which now houses HACE’s Family success Center, site wide Bathroom Renovations of all 423 apartment units, the upgrade included the installation of water saver closets and sinks.
  2. Security Systems: The Authority partnered with the City of Elizabeth Police Department and in 2010 completed the installation of a new exterior building security camera system.
  3. H.A.C.E. is now in the final phase of the New Heat and Hot Water System upgrade for the site,  at a cost of approximately $6,000,000.00, the existing steam heating boilers and hot water heaters have been replaced with brand new high energy efficient hot water boilers and water heaters.
  4. H.A.C.E. has recently completed plans to add a site manager’s office to the Mravlag Manor Community Center.  The building addition will consist of office space for the site management staff currently being housed in an apartment unit. The new office will be handicapped accessible and have a waiting area, four management offices, an open area for cubicles and two bathrooms.  

Senior High Rise Sites:

  1. Significant work has been done at all four sites have received bathroom upgrades, including water saver toilets and sinks.  Kennedy Arms, Ford Leonard and O’Donnell Dempsey have received new kitchens, the last of these having been completed in 2010.
  2. Most recently improvements have been done at the lobbies of Farley Towers and Ford Leonard Towers.  Completed in the summer of 2013, the first floor lobbies, common areas and community areas all received new flooring, repainting of the walls, new security desks, new energy efficient lighting, updated restrooms and community kitchens and new lobby furniture.  The remaining senior sites are in line to receive these upgrades within the next fiscal year.

Under HUD’s asset/project management operating system, the challenges are formidable but we, at HACE, are firm in our resolve to meet the challenge. We envision this new challenge as an exciting window of opportunity to establish a legacy of excellence in making our facilities and programs a shining example of public housing nationally. 

Director of Redevelopment

Jose Sabater -

908-965-2400 ext. 106

In keeping with the mission of the Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth, the Re-development Department is dedicated to the ongoing re-development of our neighborhoods and the creation of new, healthy, decent, energy efficient and affordable residential units. Since 1997, HACE has undertaken major development projects including the implementation and completion of the HOPE VI; Elizabethport Neighborhood Redevelopment Program.

This project included the demolition of 655 public housing units and the construction of 557 new residential units and a Community Center for the residents.  This neighborhood redevelopment plan succeeded in reducing the density and concentration of poverty while spearheading major private investment in real estate.  The total investment in infrastructure improvements, geo-technical and environmental remediation, site acquisition and construction was over $122,813,994.00.

Simultaneously as part of the HOPE VI program, the staff develops and implemented the award winning Community Supportive Plan which included an investment of over 4 Million dollars in educational programs, youth services, case management and workforce development.

In 2011, the J. Christian Bollwage E’port Commons senior housing project was completed. This project consist of a mixed used development with 30 units of affordable one-bedroom apartments for seniors and on the ground floor 3,760 SF of commercial space. The commercial space is owned and occupied by the Elizabeth Development Company. The project is certified as a LEED Gold building and the total development cost was $10,817,266.00.  The Housing Authority was the developer of this project.

HACE is presently an active partner in the redevelopment of the residential project known as Oakwood Plaza. HACE contributed 3 Million dollars of Replacement Housing Factor Funds (RHF) for the re-development of the Westminster Heights, an 84 unit family rental project located at 380 Irvington Avenue. The total project development cost was $20,988,257.00.

The Housing Authority is the developer of the E’port Homes a 36 family rental unit project in the Elizabethport neighborhood. This project is still in progress at a predevelopment phase and the total development cost is projected to be $8,822,514.00.

HACE development strategies has always rely in the strategic investment  on the creation and preservation  of affordable housing units and  the developments of partnerships with developers, social service agencies and public and private  entities.