Director of External Affairs

Open New York

About the organization

Open New York is a grassroots group advocating for abundant homes and lower rent. We believe in housing for all and housing of all types. That means we support more social housing, government subsidized housing, and market rate housing.

We believe that the current zoning laws of New York and its suburbs have caused a profound housing shortage, raising rents to historic highs and leading to the continuous displacement of long-standing communities. For far too long, residents in the wealthiest neighborhoods have abused zoning laws to prevent new construction, keeping their neighborhoods exclusive and property values high. Newcomers have been pushed into less well-off neighborhoods, outbidding long-time residents in the process.

In contrast, we want New York to be affordable and accessible to everyone. As such, we advocate for an end to exclusionary zoning, and for other policies that encourage homebuilding in wealthy, high-opportunity neighborhoods.


The Director of External Affairs will work closely with the Executive Director and ONY Board to develop and implement a government affairs and communications strategy designed to achieve the goals of ONY – in particular support the creation of more housing in high opportunity areas. The Director will build relationships at local and state levels of government, as well as create a housing toolkit and processes to realize a housing agenda.

In partnership with the Executive Director and ONY Board, develop and implement a government affairs strategy to achieve the rezoning and legislative priorities of ONY;
Build relationships with government stakeholders, including but not limited to the NYC Mayor and agencies, NYS Governor’s office, State Senate, State Assembly, NYC Council, Office of the Public Advocate, and Community Boards in priority areas;
Create a housing toolkit for elected officials and community partners to utilize and learn about the current and potential housing landscape of their respective district;
In partnership with the Organizing Director, activate members to effectively pressure and communicate a housing-first agenda in NYC
Educate government, elected and community partners about ONY’s agenda
Produce a wide range of day-to-day communications work, including drafting public remarks, news releases, quotes, email blasts, web and social media copy along with occasional correspondence and publications;
Serve as a primary media contact


5 or more years of experience in government affairs work, in one or more of the following types of organizations: city or state government, political and/or issue advocacy campaigns, lobbying, labor unions, non-profit, policy or community organizations;
Comprehensive knowledge of NYC's diverse neighborhoods and communities;
Strong working knowledge of the responsibilities and powers of Community Boards, as well as government agencies and processes;
Experience working collaboratively at a senior level;
Experience and skill in public speaking, including on and off-record experience with reporters;
Strong written and verbal communication skills;
The ability to work well under pressure and deadlines as well as prioritize tasks;
Demonstrated ability to build relationships with key stakeholders and community groups
Willingness to learn and embrace a broad range of technologies and systems;
Literacy in Spanish or Chinese is a plus;
Data analysis and research skills a plus;
A demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of Open New York.


100-110k per year

Application instructions

Contact email: [email protected]

Please submit a resume, cover letter and the contact information for three professional references to [email protected] Please include “Dir External Affairs” in the subject line.

Submission of an application package is not a guarantee that you will receive an interview. Only those candidates under consideration will be contacted.

Open New York is committed to a diverse workforce, and we seek diversity among applicants for this position. People of color, women, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.

Open New York is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

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