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Ex-Nuestra director named Hub's new housing chief

Banner Staff | 3/12/2009, 9:13 a.m.

Evelyn Friedman has been selected by Mayor Thomas M. Menino as the new chief of housing and director of the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), the Mayor’s Office announced last Thursday.

Friedman, who previously served as executive director of Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation of Roxbury for the past 17 years, is expected to begin her new role next month.

Joanne Massaro, who has served as DND’s acting director since former housing chief Charlotte Golar Richie stepped down last summer to accept the position of senior advisor for federal, state and community affairs in the administration of Gov. Deval Patrick, is expected to return to her position as the department’s director of operations, according to a mayoral spokesperson.

“Evelyn Friedman has served the city well for many years in different roles with affordable housing and youth and community services,” Menino said in a statement. “Her background in affordable housing, real estate and community building will prove invaluable to advancing our work in reducing foreclosures and helping more Boston residents become homeowners.”

Under Friedman’s direction, Nuestra grew from a two-person organization owning 35 units of housing to a local development heavyweight, managing 725 units of rental housing and 65,000 square feet of commercial space, with a corporate budget of over $6.5 million and a staff of 45 employees.

The organization has developed more than 300 houses for low-income homeowners, created a loan fund of $6 million to make loans to low-income homeowners, and established three incubators for local small businesses. Nuestra’s services also expand beyond affordable housing to include community-organizing activities and services for youth in Roxbury and North Dorchester.

In her new role, Friedman will oversee programs and management of several divisions within DND, including affordable housing development; assistance to potential and existing homeowners, foreclosure prevention and counseling; repair programs for existing homeowners; management and disposition of city-owned properties; and neighborhood business development.

Friedman has a long history of playing an active role in the improvement of her community. She has previously served as director of the state’s Department of Youth Services Restitution Program and executive director of the Hyde Park YMCA, and is also a licensed real estate broker.

She serves as a board member of several local agencies and organizations, including the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation, the Boston Private Industry Council, Boston Community Capital, the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations, the Neighborhood Capital Corporation, the Boston Homelessness Prevention Steering Committee, the Governor’s Homelessness Prevention Task Force, and the Urban Land Institute.

A Roxbury resident, Friedman holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree in sociology from Boston College.