Former Worcester City Manager with record of creating thousands of housing units will lead administration’s new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities
BOSTON – Governor Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll today announced that they are naming 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 Governor Healey’s new 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.”
“The establishment of a cabinet-level secretariat dedicated solely to housing will have a major impact on Massachusetts’ ability to address this crisis and lower costs across the state. Ed Augustus has the right experience, vision and drive to lead this important work,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “His motto is ‘How do we get to yes?’ which is an approach our entire administration is embracing. We’re committed to partnering with cities and towns to ensure they have the resources and support they need to give a hearty “Yes!” to housing development in their communities.”
“I’m honored that Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll have placed their faith in me to lead the new Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities. Massachusetts’ housing crisis impacts every single community in our state, but we know what the solution is – build more housing,” said Augustus. “This administration recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to achieving this and that we must work closely with communities to deploy a diverse toolbox of options to meet their unique needs. That’s what this new secretariat will be committed to doing.”
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.
As City Manager, Augustus managed a $750 million budget, as well as the $90 million, 20-year Urban Revitalization Plan. Notably, he spearheaded the $240 million landmark redevelopment of Worcester’s Canal District, including leading the complex negotiation to relocate the Boston Red Sox AAA-affiliate (now the WooSox) to the city and construction of the multi-use Polar Park stadium, hotel, and housing development, as well as the Kelley Square intersection redesign.
Prior to joining the City of Worcester, Augustus served as Director of Government & Community Relations for the College of Holy Cross, State Senator for the 2nd Worcester District, Chief of Staff for Congressman Jim McGovern, and Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs at the U.S. Department of Education under President Clinton’s Administration. He most recently served as Chancellor of Dean College.
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.
This new cabinet-level secretariat will be solely dedicated to housing and driving solutions to create more homes and lower costs. It will focus on the urgent need to build places to live that are affordable and closer to public transit – giving residents access to jobs, medical care, groceries, and other essential services. 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.
Statements of Support:
Congressman Jim McGovern
“This is an excellent choice by Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. Ed Augustus was an extraordinary City Manager for Worcester and helped the city make important progress, especially when it came to housing development. Throughout his career in public service, he has focused on lifting people up and delivering results for his community. He is a talented, tenacious and visionary leader who will make an incredible Housing Secretary.”
Joe Finn, Executive Director for the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance
“I’ve seen firsthand Ed Augustus’ commitment to addressing homelessness and expanding access to affordable housing. Especially during the most harrowing days of the pandemic, he embraced innovative, empathetic solutions that centered those facing housing insecurity. This experience will be invaluable as he leads the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s response to the housing crisis, including the Emergency Assistance Shelter system.”
Patrick Lee, Founder & Principal at Trinity Financial
“Ed Augustus spearheaded the sale of the Worcester County Courthouse, which we converted into a mixed-use project with dozens of residential units at all income levels. He saw the value this building had to offer to connect residents with affordable, secure housing and revitalize the neighborhood. These are the types of results that I know he will deliver across Massachusetts as the state’s first Housing Secretary in decades.”
Jay Ash, President and CEO of Massachusetts Competitive Partnership
“Ed Augustus’ leadership was instrumental in bringing the WooSox to Worcester. Notably, he saw the potential for this site to not just house a stadium, but to be completely revitalized with new retail, restaurants, housing and more. It has transformed the Canal District, brought in significant economic benefits, and put Worcester on the map as a desirable destination for residents and visitors alike. This is the leadership that Ed Augustus will bring to the Healey-Driscoll Administration, and the entire state will benefit.”