3-Minute Interview: Henry Alvarez

The new director of the San Francisco Housing Authority has been working in public housing for 20 years in cities such as San Antonio and San Diego. He has stepped into a job with many challenges, including a $15 million verdict that needs to be paid, dilapidated building conditions and security concerns.

What inspired you to work in public housing? I grew up in New Orleans in a very poor, poor family. I’m a mixture of many races. I was primarily raised by a village, but more specifically by a single dad. Eventually, I decided I wanted to give something back, so I went to work for the government.

What kind of relationship do you expect to have with the mayor and police? I expect it to be a tremendous partnership. We all need to work together to solve the issues of the day related to affordable housing. We just started mucking units together with the city administrator, basically cleaning out units, down in Potrero Hill.

The Housing Authority is currently in a lawsuit with the NRA about gun possession on public housing territory. Where do you stand on the gun ban? That’s not an area of my expertise. That’s a question I’d rather leave to a lawyer.

What are the biggest challenges you face coming into this job? The Housing Authority is facing a tremendous challenge as a financial institution. In San Diego, where I started my career in public housing, they’ve decided to do away with public housing altogether. I hope that will never be the case in San Francisco.

3-Minute InterviewBay Area NewsLocalpublic housing

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A ban on smoking or vaping in multi-unit buildings has drawn opposition from cannabis advocates, who say it would leave users with no legal place to consume a legal substance. (Shutterstock)
Cannabis group slams Yee’s proposed apartment smoking ban as ‘classist’

Legislation would impose fines of $1,000 a day on repeat violators

The most dangerous behaviors by drivers include failing to yield right-of-way at crosswalks, unsafe speeding and failing to stop at red lights or stop signs. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, which supplies water to San Francisco, is among the concerns of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is undergoing a change of leadership. <ins>(Courtesy SFPUC)</ins>
Changes in leadership at SFPUC spark concern, hope for future water policy

Will agency’s new commissioner continue to support Big Ag?

Supervisor Shamann Walton joined with community members to speak out against rising homicides, which have taken a heavy toll in the Bayview-Hunters Point in 2020. (Samantha Laurey/ Special to S.F Examiner)
SF homicides surpass 2019 total with month left in year

Police attribute rise to COVID-19, shootings and deadly gang violence

A screenshot from SFPD body worn camera
New videos show police shooting man armed with knife, frying pan

Police say Antonio Estrada set fire to apartment building before shooting

Most Read