Exemplary Service Award
Diane Johnson was the State of New Jersey’s highest-ranking federal housing and community development official for over 30 years. As HUD’s spokesperson to New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation, Ms. Johnson was the go-to person regarding all federal housing and community development activities in the state.
As Director of HUD, Ms. Johnson managed New Jersey’s annual $1.7 billion HUD allocations and ensured that more than 100,000 households received rental assistance through the Section 8 and public housing programs. Because of her expertise, Ms. Johnson was called upon to assist outside New Jersey, working with the local government of Detroit to establish low- and moderate-income housing as well as provide leadership during the rebuilding of 5,000 housing units in New Orleans after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Ms. Johnson was the top housing official during the 1995 government shutdown where she successfully managed all federal funds and programs in New Jersey and New York, and was also the lead federal official in New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy. To help plan long-term recovery efforts after Sandy, Ms. Johnson met regularly with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Cabinet, FEMA, and representatives of the state’s most- impacted communities. On December 31, 2013, Diane Johnson retired from HUD. On January 1, 2014, Diane Johnson was appointed by the acting Newark Mayor Luis A. Quintana to serve as his Chief of Staff. She served in this position until July 1, 2014 when Newark transitioned to a new mayor.