jacques jiha haitian budget director
Jacques Jiha, a native of Cap-Haitien, has served as New York City Budget Director since the fall of 2020.

NEW YORK – When Jacques Jiha settled in Brooklyn in 1979, his main goal was earning an education and gaining more opportunities than he could have had in his native Cap-Haitien. During his first six years, he woke up before dawn every day to work as a parking lot attendant. He went to bed at night after attending classes at Fordham University for his economics degree. 

Those college years and those at The New School for a graduate degree were among the hardest of his life, he recalled. Yet, he never lost sight of his goals. 

“I came here for a reason,” said Jiha, 63, of Bayside, Queens. “I had my goal that I wanted to reach, regardless of the difficulties.” 

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Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America corps member. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at sam@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @sambojarski.