RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s long search for a permanent chief executive officer is over after its board of commissioners picked Steven Nesmith to fill the role.

RRHA’s board of commissioners voted to hire Nesmith “after an extended search” following the departure of former CEO Damon Duncan, who announced his resignation after less than a year in the position and left in May 2020.

Nesmith, the CEO of an advisory firm and a former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will take over as RRHA’s CEO on Oct. 1.

“I am pleased to be here,” Nesmith said in a statement. “I know the Mayor and the City have some aggressive goals related to advancing affordable housing and economic development and I look forward to RRHA being a part of that solution.”

The authority’s redevelopment of Creighton Court, one of the public housing communities overseen by RRHA, is underway as crews demolish units. According to RRHA’s plans, the demolition will make for up to 700 townhouses, apartments and homes for sale and rent that offer “different levels of affordability.”

RRHA, the largest public housing authority in Virginia, serves more than 10,000 residents and manages nearly 4,000 units, according to its website.

The housing authority has been led by interim CEOs, including current interim CEO Sheila Hill-Christian, during a search that started at end of 2020 and was put on hold last year.

Nesmith, a Philadelphia native who has lived in Virginia for 17 years, grew up in public housing and served on the community’s resident council, according to RRHA. He graduated from American University and received his law degree from Georgetown Law School.

“Our Board is thrilled to welcome Steven as our next CEO,” Barrett Hardiman, RRHA Board Chairman, said in a statement. “He has breadth and depth of knowledge combined with his passion and experience will ensure that RRHA strengthens its commitment to our residents and re- establishes itself as a leader in the creation of affordable housing.”