Sharmarke Issa was confirmed by the Minneapolis City Council to chair Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA).
Issa is the first immigrant and first East African to serve as chair of the MPHA Board of Commissioners. He is also the first Somali immigrant in the country to lead a public housing agency’s governing board.
“Having grown up in in Minneapolis public housing after coming to our city as a refugee, Sharmarke’s story of success highlights public housing as vital asset in Minneapolis,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “Sharmarke’s life experience and background in urban planning are especially important to MPHA’s mission. At a time when the federal government continues to shortchange housing funding, he will be a skilled steward of our public housing infrastructure who understands and centers the needs of residents.”
“I congratulate Sharmarke for his appointment to chair of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and I thank the previous Chair for all of his work,” said Councilmember Abdi Warsame (Ward 6). “Public housing is an integral part of our city’s affordable housing stock. I have a deep attachment to those that live in public housing. They are my constituents, my friends and my family. I know Sharmarke will be a strong advocate on behalf of those that live in public housing, and is committed to keeping Minneapolis public housing, public.”
“I believe that everyone has a fundamental human right to housing, which ensures access to a safe, secure, habitable, and affordable home,” said Issa. “I’m truly humbled by the mayor’s appointment and look forward to working with my colleagues on the MPHA board to guarantee that all of our residents can exercise this right to live in security, peace, and dignity.”
Issa grew up in Minneapolis Public Housing after coming to the United States as a refugee at age 11.
Approximately one-third of Minneapolis Public Housing residents are members of the East-African community.
Issa received both his bachelor’s degree and a master’s in urban planning from Minnesota State University in Mankato.