Press Statement - Eric Johnson Retirement



For Immediate Release                                     MEDIA CONTACT: Greer McVay

March 20, 2019                                                                             (510) 874-1563


The Oakland Housing Authority Executive Director Eric Johnson Announces

His Retirement After 11 years With the Agency

OAKLAND, CA - Eric Johnson, the Executive Director of the Oakland Housing Authority, has announced his intention to retire at the end of 2019, after 11 years of service to Oakland and over 29 years in the affordable housing industry.

A nationally recognized leader in affordable housing, Mr. Johnson has made tremendous strides to facilitate and increase access to affordable housing opportunities and development of new affordable housing in Oakland, dramatically improved the transparency of its programs and finances, and brought empowerment, resources and opportunity to residents and neighborhoods.

“I took on this work in 1990 knowing that systems will never change or improve without people of vision and purpose making those changes within the agencies tasked with their administration.” Johnson noted, “It has been very rewarding to work for a Board, with a Mayor, and in a City where that is not only tolerated, but admired.  I will be forever grateful for that.”

“Oakland city leaders have benefited immensely from Eric’s leadership at the Housing Authority, and many more of our vulnerable residents and families enjoy a sense of housing security thanks to his personal mission to make federally funded programs work better for those who most rely on them,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf.  “As a member of the city’s Housing Cabinet, Eric approached his role with a refreshing blend of technical expertise and humanity. During the worst affordable housing crisis in a generation, Eric has created initiatives which serve as a model for the region, and consistently fought to break down silos in the human service sector that have historically kept communities from ending cycles of poverty. My colleagues and I will miss him dearly and wish him well in all his future endeavors.”

“Eric has exceeded our highest expectations and has been a pleasure to work with,” Greg Hartwig, Chair of the Oakland Housing Authority Board of Commissioners stated.  “He has always kept the welfare of our residents and the need to expand our reach to serve even more people as his highest priority; adding new life enhancing services for our residents and significant numbers of new affordable housing units.  His leadership in mitigating the effects of the worst rent and housing crisis in Oakland history has been exceptional.  In addition, Eric has positioned OHA for long term success in an era of uncertain government funding and has won both local and national recognition.  He will be dearly missed by all of us.”

Accomplishments include:​

  • 1,922 units of new affordable housing in Oakland created by the Housing Authority, either completed or under development, since 2008.
  • Increased the Section 8 Project Based awards from 570 units in 2008 to 5,208 units by the end of 2018, and partnered with the City of Oakland NOFA to award many of these vouchers through one competitive process.
  • Developed innovative inter-governmental systems alignment for special needs populations, including emancipated foster youth, chronically homeless and re-entry populations in partnership with the City of Oakland and County of Alameda.
  • 289 services-enriched Single Room Occupancy units in Oakland awarded an operating subsidy preserving the housing stock and allowing for housing stability and services at these properties in the last two years.
  • Secured the first data sharing agreement between a local school district and a housing authority in the country in 2010, which has resulted in developing and growing educational Promise Plus pilot programs to increase parent engagement and address chronic absenteeism for our families.
  • Increased the Authority’s annual investment in resident training and employment opportunities, including expanded summer employment for youth and bringing a competitively awarded four-year $2.7 Million dollar Jobs Plus job training and placement HUD grant for West Oakland.
  • A strong advocate for resident leadership and empowerment, created a Resident Leadership Center to facilitate giving residents access to professional office space to further their individual and collective advocacy in many areas, including housing, health, and education.
  • Preserved 1,806 former public housing units by moving the 249 properties onto the Section 8 Project Based rental assistance program through HUD’s Section 18 Disposition process, which dramatically increased the HUD monthly assistance to the properties allowing for their on-going replacement and restoration.  In addition, 261 public housing units in mixed finance developments are scheduled to convert to RAD Section 8 Vouchers in September of 2019.
  • Awarded for five consecutive years the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA), for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.  OHA is one of only three public housing authorities in the nation to receive this award.

"It has been a challenging and very rewarding experience being with the Oakland Housing Authority for the past 11 years.  The work we have done together is unparalleled in the industry, and I have been honored to lead this agency, and better position it to face the challenges to come from our current political climate and uncertainty in Washington,” Johnson stated.

The Oakland Housing Authority will be conducting a national recruitment process seeking a new Executive Director, and expects to name a new Executive Director in the Fall of 2019.

For more information about the Oakland Housing Authority, call (510)874-1510 or visit