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CEO of Chicago Housing Authority abruptly resigns

Eugene Jones is credited with turning around housing authorities and has 35 years of experience in the industry

A set of two silver keys on a ring next to a white envelope with blue and green Chicago Housing Authority logo in the corner.

On Tuesday, the Chicago Housing Authority’s CEO Eugene Jones announced his resignation. Jones was the longest-serving boss in more than a decade of the third largest public housing agency in the country. Many people view his departure as a surprise and the city will face a challenge in searching for replacement.

Jones joined CHA in 2015 as Chief Property Officer and two months later was named acting CEO. In January 2016 then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel made him the permanent CEO. Lightfoot had full confidence in Jones too. Before Chicago, he had 35 years in housing operations and a reputation for bringing mediocre programs in Toronto, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Kansas City up to high standards.

In a WBEZ interview Wednesday morning about the news, an activist and former Cabrini-Green resident said: “We just lost the Michael Jordan of housing.”

Jones put out a statement about his resignation which goes into effect September 27 and thanks the public and his supporters. It reads:

“Since my arrival at CHA four and a half years ago, I have been committed to meeting CHA’s goals of producing more housing and to supporting the city in its efforts to expand housing opportunities in every Chicago community.”

Highlights from Jones career include the development of three co-located housing and libraries, the establishment of a field office that connected with residents, millions set aside for Section 3 (a federal program that supplies jobs and contracts to public housing residents), and a landmark settlement this year in the Gautreaux case.

It’s unclear where Jones will go next, and he doesn’t explain his departure in the annoucement, but the housing expert was shortlisted for a top position in New York City’s Housing Authority back in March. That position has since been filled, but its clear that Jones is in high demand.