Executive Team

The Executive Team plans, organizes and executes the organization’s operations strategy. The Executive Director and four key officers of each division meet regularly to discuss and confirm operational plans, establish organization priorities, set performance standards, coordinate projects between divisions, review progress toward organization and division goals, approve new procedures and assign project and program responsibilities. 


John Kownack

Executive Director

John Kownack

John Kownack accepted the position of Executive Directorfor the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority in March 2015.

Kownack began work with NRHA in April 2001 as its Program Services Director.  He subsequently held interim positions as Rehabilitation Services Director and Assistant Executive Director for Housing Operations.   In 2008, he administered project financing programs and was later named the Authority’s Chief Housing Reinvention Officer.  He became the Chief Community Development Officer in 2012, where he directed neighborhood revitalization, property rehabilitation assistance, housing development, home ownership assistance, and other related programs. 

Prior to NRHA, Kownack’s employment included 19 years of service with the City of Norfolk, including positions as Manager (Fiscal Division), responsible for grants and capital project budgeting and management; and Assistant Director of Human Services, responsible for administrative services, operations and financial management. Kownack has also served as the Chief Financial Officer for a private corporation specializing in the provision of therapeutic care for at-risk children.

Kownack is originally from upstate New York and attended the State University of New York at Albany (B.A. Economics) and the College of William and Mary (M.A. Government, Thesis Pending). He is married and has four children.

Contact: Phyllis Everette or 314.1679


Phyllis Armistead

Chief Housing Officer

Donnell Brown

Phyllis S. Armistead was appointed Chief Housing Officer in December of 2015 and is responsible for a portfolio of about 3,500 assisted-rental units at 15 properties and 2,800 Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV).  Armistead has worked at NRHA for over 25 years and served in such capacities as Midrise Manager, Elderly Programs Manager, Director of Property Management, Interim Director of Client Services, and Programs Development Director.  

Before joining NRHA, Armistead was the Associate Director of Resource Distribution and Planning, Peninsula United Way in Hampton, Virginia.  Armistead is a native of Norfolk.  She holds undergraduate (Sociology 1978) and graduate (Gerontology 1994) degrees from Norfolk State University.  She is also a Certified Apartment Manager, Accredited Resident Manager and Housing Counseling Professional.  

Armistead enjoys arts and crafts in her spare time.  She is proud to have recently celebrated 20 years of membership in the illustrious sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.  She resides in the Ingleside Community and is married with one grown daughter and a grandson.  

Contact Melanie Murphy or 757.314.2018.

Jim Hollomon

Chief Development Officer

Donnell BrownJames N. “Jim” Hollomon was appointed as the Norfolk’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Chief Development Officer in December of 2015.  He is responsible for all redevelopment, real estate management, development grants management, and property rehabilitation functions performed by NRHA.

Hollomon has worked NRHA for more than 38 years, and has served in such capacities as Real Estate Technician, Business Relocation Specialist, Relocation Manager, Renewal Services Director, and most recently, Real Estate Services Director. He holds a BA of Business Administration from Old Dominion University.

Hollomon is originally from Warrenton, North Carolina but has lived most of his life in Norfolk. His hobbies include golf and volunteering his time at Sacred Heart Catholic Church He has three adult children and three grandchildren and resides in the Larchmont neighborhood of Norfolk with his wife.    

Contact: Phyllis Everette or 757.314.1679


Clara W. Graves

Chief Financial Officer

Clara GravesAs Chief Financial Officer for the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA), Clara Graves leads professional staff in the areas of financial operations, budget, purchasing and administrative services.   Before her current assignment, Graves was NRHA’s Finance Director, Financial Controls Manager, and Internal Auditor. Mrs. Graves has been employed at NRHA since January 1985.    
Prior to NRHA, Graves’ employment included six years with the Bank of America as Vice President, Internal Audit, as well as employment in the Financial Operations Department at the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
Graves is a native of  Norfolk, raised in one of NRHA’s former locally-owned properties, Liberty Park. She attended Booker T. Washington High School and received her degree from the University of  Virginia (BS in business administration, concentrating in accounting). 

She is and has been active in many volunteer activities; Food Bank of Southeast Virginia, Habitat for Humanity, Physicians for Peace, walkathons for Suzanne B. Komen, sickle cell, House of Esther for teenage pregnancy, teaching GED classes and Sunday School, youth tutoring and mentoring programs, and held several financial officer positions and various scholarship and fundraising committee positions for her church and sorority.  She also is an avid bowler.

Graves is married, has two children as well as two grandchildren.

 Contact: Phyllis Everette or 757.314.1679


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NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATION - NRHA provides equal housing and employment opportunities for all persons. NRHA does not discriminate against any applicant, resident or employee on the basis of disability, age, race, color, religion, gender, familial status or national origin in the admission, access or operations of programs, services or activities. NRHA complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. An internal grievance procedure is available to resolve complaints. If you feel you have been discriminated against, you have the right to file a complaint of discrimination  by calling toll free (888) 799-2085. Qualified individuals who need communication aids, services or other accommodations to participate in programs and activities are invited to make your needs known to the 504/ADA Coordinator, Kim Thomas (757) 623-1111. Please give NRHA at least seven to ten days advance notice to meet your needs