BOSTON- Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the appointment of Kate Bennett as Administrator of the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), the public agency charged with providing affordable housing to more than 58,000 residents in the City of Boston and surrounding communities.
Bennett was named Acting Director of the BHA in July, following the departure of the former longtime Administrator, the late Bill McGonagle, who retired after 40 years of public service at the BHA.
“Kate brings a wealth of experience to this role. She has worked closely on the BHA’s preservation and redevelopment initiatives, as well as with resident leaders to further expand resident empowerment throughout the organization,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am excited to have her on board to help continue to lead the BHA’s efforts forward to house our most vulnerable families throughout the city.”
Bennett began her BHA career in 1998 as a Senior Planner and previously served as Senior Deputy Administrator. As Administrator, Bennett will oversee public housing and housing choice voucher programs that provide affordable housing for more than 58,000 residents in the City of Boston and surrounding communities. She will also continue to spearhead redevelopment activities currently underway at several BHA developments, such as the Choice Neighborhoods revitalization at the Whittier Street public housing development in Roxbury, the redevelopment of Orient Heights in East Boston and at the Bunker Hill development in Charlestown.
“I am excited to step into this role and work with our residents, City partners, and the broader community on the critical work of strengthening and preserving deeply affordable housing opportunities within the City,” said Bennett.
Bennett has worked in affordable housing development, policy and planning for more than 25 years, with a particular focus on public housing revitalization. Prior to coming to the BHA, she managed affordable housing programs for the City of Chelsea and the City of Newton.
In her tenure at BHA, she has been instrumental in implementing several strategic initiatives for the Authority and its portfolio of more than 23,000 public housing and Section 8 units, including:
More than $1 billion in redevelopment initiatives and capital upgrades
Creation of an asset management division to ensure long-term preservation of deeply affordable units
Expansion of the BHA’s green, healthy housing and sustainability programs
Expansion of resident empowerment and self-sufficiency initiatives
As Director of Planning and Real Estate Development, she played a key role in redevelopment initiatives at the Washington Beech development in Roslindale and at the Maverick development in East Boston. Bennett holds a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She lives in Roslindale with her family.
Under the Walsh Administration, historic investments have been made in the city’s public housing stock to renovate facilities and offer additional vouchers to residents and families. In his State of the City address last week, Mayor Walsh announced that for the first time in Boston’s history, the City will issue city-funded rental vouchers to subsidize the rents of individuals with the most need. Earlier this year, the City issued 1,000 new rental housing vouchers by demonstrating the need for a higher Fair Market Rent (FMR), which sets the payment standard housing authorities can set for voucher-subsidized rents and determines subsidy levels for voucher holders. Mayor Walsh earlier this year also celebrated a $30 million capital investment to revitalize Boston Housing Authority’s Bunker Hill Housing development in Charlestown, the first time in the City’s history that City bond dollars have been invested directly into a BHA project.
As the largest public housing authority in New England, the BHA houses close to nine percent of the city’s residents. The BHA’s mission is to provide stable, quality affordable housing for low and moderate income persons; to deliver these services with integrity and mutual accountability; and to create healthy living environments which serve as catalysts for the transformation from dependency to economic self-sufficiency.
In total, BHA currently owns and/or oversees approximately 12,623 rental units of public housing in Boston and houses more than 25,000 people under the public housing program. BHA owns 63 housing developments. Of the 63 developments, 36 are designated as elderly/disabled developments and 27 are designated as family developments. Three of the 27 family developments have elderly/disabled housing on site and one of the elderly developments has designated units for families.