While New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fruitless campaign for presidency moves along, public housing residents just want him to keep his promises.

This week, the New York City Housing Authority was introduced to a new leader, but the Rev. David Brawley, the lead pastor of St. Paul Community Baptist Church and member of the East Brooklyn Congregations/Metro Industrial Areas Foundations New York, is making sure de Blasio feels the heat just as much as the new guy.

“Many of my members come from public housing,” said Brawley. “We’re surrounded by public housing. Some of our members use oxygen tanks because of mold and mildew. Lead-based paint is affecting our children. It’s in our personal interest to organize.”

In an email, the EBC/Metro IAF mentioned that NYCHA needs as much as $32 billion in investment to make the necessary repairs to make living conditions safe. They also want an agency created, with its own funding, to lead the new repairs, lower rents and build more homes for seniors. No matter who’s in charge, Brawley demands that they do right by public housing residents.

“The position was unoccupied for quite a long time,” said Brawley. “With that being said, we’re hopeful that NYCHA will head in the right direction. But it’s early. We’ll still hold the mayor accountable for all the results of public housing.”

Much of this will fall on NYCHA’s new chair and CEO Greg Russ. He’s hit the ground running, meeting with NYCHA executive staff and senior staff departments to discuss various projects. In the next two weeks, Russ will visit different developments around the city, meet with tenant association leaders and property management staff, and meet with senior staff from all NYCHA departments.

The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, a non-profit housing advocacy organization, praised de Blasio’s appointment, saying Russ will do right by New York City (Russ is on CLPHA’s board of directors).

“Greg Russ is the right leader at the right time to oversee NYCHA and tackle the challenges facing the nation’s largest and oldest public housing authority,” stated Sunia Zaterman, executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. “Greg is a distinguished public housing executive and proven change maker who has led with innovation to positively transform affordable housing for residents and communities.

“Throughout his career, Greg has shown a commitment to preserving and improving the public housing stock while promoting self-sufficiency and economic opportunities for HUD-assisted families in PHAs across the nation,” concluded Zaterman.

Russ said he was grateful to be appointed to raise NYCHA back from the dead.

“I’m grateful and excited for the opportunity to help improve the quality of life for NYCHA residents across the city, and will begin by looking floor-by-floor at the challenges they face so we can bring about the repairs they need,” said Russ in a statement. “I’m committed to working with our federal partners to make fundamental improvements to the Authority and marshaling the necessary resources and talent to make it happen.”

But the words ring hollow for some. Brawley hopes de Blasio, Russ and company get going because NYCHA residents are losing patience.

“With the control he has over the operating budget for New York City, he has the ability to build affordable housing. He has to still provide leadership and influence with the systemic repair of public housing. There is an opportunity to make a difference and set the next mayor up for success.”

But one organization in Russ’ current place of residence, the Defend Glendale & Public Housing Coalition, a group made up of public housing residents in Minneapolis, said Russ’ presence could spell doom for NYCHA.

“Since his first day at MPHA in February 2017, Russ aggressively pushed to privatize Minneapolis’ entire public housing portfolio under the RAD and Section 18 programs with a very expensive public relations campaign,” read DGPHC’s statement. “He hired a new team, used unethical tactics and manipulation to silence and demonize public housing leaders who were fighting to stop his privatization schemes through RAD and Section 18. Russ allowed public housing leaders to be bullied, intimidated, physically attacked, racially profiled and attempted to arrest them in order to silence and to make sure the white local media of Minneapolis who normally silences POC voices push his false narrative and PR campaign. Mayor Jacob Frey and the entire City Council watched Russ’s abusive tactics on residents and supported him.”

According to a DGPHC spokesperson, Russ and his network of developers got the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey on board with privatization to end public housing, and the spokesperson cited this as proof that Russ is pushing Trump and Ben Carson’s agenda to privatize all of public housing. Russ’ family are the largest owners of federally subsidized low-income housing tax credit properties in Minnesota (Thies & Talle Inc.) and have similar investments in other states.

Nevertheless, Brawley said that he’d continue to fight on behalf of his constituents.

“We’re failing 400,000 to 500,000 New Yorkers every single day,” said Brawley. “We’re going to continue to organize and mobilize our people until they get the kind of living conditions we deserve.”