Mathew M. Wambua, the new Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development was welcomed by Board Chair Herb Sturz and other members at the CNYCN April 26, 2011 Board meeting. Wambua replaces former Commissioner Rafael Cestero.
Wambua noted that CNYCN has achieved a great deal since its inception, and that he looked forward to helping chart the Center’s future course. Since 2008, CNYCN has established homeowner outreach programs and a neighborhood-based network of foreclosure experts that offer a range of foreclosure prevention programs. To date, CNYCN has provided free housing counseling and legal services to more than 13,000 homeowners, many of whom have received tangible financial solutions from their lenders and, as a result, have been able to stay in their homes.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in his announcement of Wambua’s appointment: “We’re two-thirds of the way through completing the most ambitious affordable housing plan underway anywhere in the nation, and Mat’s leadership, intelligence and financial acumen will help us meet our goals.”
Prior to becoming HPD Commissioner, Wambua served as Executive Vice President of Real Estate and External Relations of the New York City Housing Development Corporation, which is one of the nation’s largest issuers of multi-family affordable housing bonds, supplying capital to support the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the creation or preservation of 165,000 affordable units by 2014. From 2004 through 2008, Wambua was Senior Policy Advisor for the New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.
Wambua’s predecessor Rafael Cestero left behind a strong record of helping NYC’s affordable housing market, despite the economic downturn and relative weakness in the real estate market. Commissioner Cestero helped New York City strengthen its foreclosure prevention efforts by developing the $6.4 million dollar Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP). The program provides no-cost loans to homeowners seeking to achieve sustainable loan modifications. CNYCN is the administrator of this fund on behalf of the City.