JOSé alvarez, Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer
José R. Alvarez serves as Chief Operating Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), the second-largest public housing agency in the nation. José joined CHA in 2014 and has more than 15 years of executive experience in the public sector. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency, and for establishing and maintaining an effective leadership team. He is known for implementing innovative systems that have streamlined business practices, increased efficiency and supported inclusive policies and programs.
José is prominent for breaking ground in new capacities. At CHA, José was instrumental in launching the Section 3 Field Office, the first of its kind in the nation specifically tailored to Section 3 business concerns. This one-stop shop offers hiring and contracting assistance and training and resources for public housing residents and businesses. He also created the Office of Diversity and Inclusion that spearheaded the CHA Community Alliance, a partnership with non-profit agencies across the Chicagoland area designed to increase awareness of CHA programs and activities among underserved populations. Under his guidance, CHA also introduced the Language Access Policy and released the Language Access Plan (LAP) Compliance Report for the first time in CHA history.
Prior to arriving at CHA, José worked for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in key leadership roles, including Deputy Chief of Staff, and served as Chief of Staff for the State Education Office in Washington D.C. While in D.C., he established the Office of Federal Grants and Compliance, which eliminated eight years of “high risk” status due to systemic problems identified through audits of multimillion dollar grants. José started the Office of Data Research and Accountability, which developed the first student mobility study and revised the enrollment audit and projections process. And he was instrumental in terminating Petties v. DC litigation after 17 years of court supervision.
Also while at CPS, José was part of the team that successfully raised $50 million from the private sector to support the Renaissance 2010 plan, which created 100 new charter, contract, and performance schools. He assisted in developing Transition Advisory Councils (TAC) comprised of community leaders to advise the district on school programming in their communities. And he oversaw the operations of Modern Schools Across Chicago plan, which created 27 new and fully renovated schools in underserved communities.
José currently serves as the Vice-Chair of La Casa Norte, a non-profit agency that provides housing and supporting services throughout 43 zip codes in Chicago. He is a former Board member of Mikva Challenge, a non-profit agency serving over 6,000 high school students and 130 teachers ant 110 schools across the Chicago Metropolitan region. In addition, he also volunteers his time as a youth volleyball coach. José is a graduate of Columbia College.