Governor Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll announced that they have named former Worcester City Manager Edward (Ed) M. Augustus to serve as the state’s first Housing Secretary in more than 30 years. Augustus, who helped to create thousands of new housing units at all income levels during his tenure in Worcester, will lead the newly created Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities beginning June 1.
“Ed Augustus is the leader Massachusetts needs to take the helm of our new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities and drive an ambitious, collaborative strategy to increase housing production and lower costs across the state,” said Governor Maura Healey. “He left Worcester a stronger city than it was a decade ago, with booming economic development in the downtown and thousands of new housing units. Importantly, he is intimately familiar with local government and knows what it takes to collaborate with municipalities to move our state forward on our housing goals.”
Augustus served as City Manager of Worcester, functioning as the Chief Administrative and Executive Officer of the Gateway City of more than 200,000 people, from 2014-2022. During his tenure, he oversaw the commitment or distribution of $25.3 million in Community Development Block Group, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and Worcester Lead Abatement and Healthy Homes Program funds to develop or preserve more than 2,000 affordable housing units throughout the City. Worcester is the city with the third largest subsidized housing inventory in the state. Augustus also dedicated $30 million of the ARPA funds coming into the city to housing, including $15 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Governor Healey filed Article 87 legislation to create the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities on March 1. The legislation moves the Department of Housing and Community Development out of the current Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development into the new secretariat and broadens its scope of work to also include housing production. The HBRAMA welcomed the establishment of a separate cabinet secretariat for housing and submitted written testimony in support for the governor’s bill to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.
The Housing Secretary will work collaboratively with stakeholders – public housing authorities, cities and towns, the federal government, non-profits, developers, landlords, renters and advocates – to develop a comprehensive housing development and stabilization strategy. The secretariat will also administer financial assistance and programs focused on housing production, rehabilitation, preservation, affordability, stability and security, while centering fairness and equity with every opportunity.
“We believe that, as a former municipal leader, Secretary-Designate Augustus understands the dire need for new housing of all types and the steps that must be taken to facilitate rapid solutions. His experience directing housing policy at the local level will be immensely important to the swift implementation of recently passed state legislation, including Chapter 40Y, which enables more starter home construction, and the MBTA Communities Law. We welcome the leadership that Secretary-Designate Augustus will bring in solving the immense challenge of getting more housing built,” said Joseph Landers, HBRAMA Executive Director.
A copy of the HBRAMA testimony in support of the bill to create the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities can be found here.