For Immediate Release - November 10, 2009


Lays out critical areas of focus on preserving affordable housing, creating workforce housing & bond financing; recommends Dirrane for vice-chair position

BOSTON - Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - Governor Deval Patrick announced today that he has appointed Ron Homer, a business and civic leader with 39 years of financial services experience and current member of the Massachusetts Housing Finance Board (MassHousing), to chair the MassHousing board. The Governor also called on MassHousing to focus its attention on the following key areas: affordable housing preservation, workforce housing creation and bond financing for state public housing.

"Ron has served on the board for over a year and has the experience and knowledge in real estate finance that is necessary to carryout MassHousing's expanded agenda," said Governor Patrick in a letter delivered to the board today.

Homer is currently the president and managing director of Access Capital Strategies, an asset management company that he co-founded in 1997 and was acquired by the Royal Bank of Canada in 2008. Prior to Access Capital, Ron was the president and chief executive officer of the Boston Bank of Commerce (BBOC), New England's largest minority-owned financial institution. During his tenure from 1983 to 1996, the bank was a leading lender in affordable housing, home mortgages, and small business in Boston's neighborhoods. The rejuvenation of Grove Hall, Codman Square and Ruggles Center in Roxbury began during Ron's tenure at BBOC. Ron also served as a former director for Sallie Mae and the Nynex telephone companies.

"I look forward to working with my fellow board members and the MassHousing team as we continue to navigate through this unsettled period in the housing finance market and find ways to enhance the availability of quality affordable housing to all residents of the Commonwealth," said Homer.

Ron received a BA from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Rochester. He also holds honorary degrees from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and Cambridge College. Ron is a past chairman of the National Bankers Association and a former member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Consumer Advisory Council. He was the founding chair of the American Bankers Association Center for Community Development and the vice chair and founding board member with HBC Professor Michael Porter of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. He has served as vice chair of the Boston Foundation and the United Way of Mass Bay and Merrimac Valley and was a long time member of the business community's Vault. Homer currently resides in Brookline.

Governor Patrick also announced that current chair Mike Dirrane, a 16-year member of the board whose term expired in September, will continue with the board and the Governor is recommending that the board consider Dirrane for the position of vice-chair.

In his letter, Governor Patrick noted Dirrane's many years of service to the board. "I greatly appreciate his commitment and dedication to the area of housing which he has admirably shown through his continuous service," wrote Governor Patrick.

"I congratulate Ron Homer as he takes on this important role at a critical time and I thank Governor Patrick for his vote of confidence in me. I look forward to continuing to work with Ron and the other board members and the MassHousing staff to provide innovative and creative affordable housing programs while maintaining our financial stability and the confidence of Wall Street investors," said Mike Dirrane.

In his letter, the Governor laid out critical areas of focus for MassHousing, including the preservation of existing affordable housing, the creation of workforce housing opportunities, and bond financing for future rounds of state public housing.

The preservation of affordable housing is a cost effective and efficient alternative to the creation of new units. Workforce housing opportunities meet the housing needs of workers across a range of incomes, including the poor and middle class, and aid in the recruitment and retention of workers in the Commonwealth.

MassHousing has also played a crucial role in the initial round of comprehensive redevelopment of state housing, leveraging new resources to preserve vital housing assets in our communities, such as the Musterfield units in Framingham and High Rock in Needham.

"Congratulations to Ron Homer on his appointment as chairman of the board of MassHousing. I look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Homer and the rest of the board to create and preserve affordable housing for the people of Massachusetts," said MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason. "MassHousing just had a record-breaking year, the best in its 43-year history, despite the unprecedented turmoil in the housing and financial markets. As the new Chairman knows from his tenure on the Board already, we have a financially healthy organization and a great group of housing professionals who are poised to meet the challenges ahead."

"Ron has a deep knowledge and background in affordable housing issues and represents important new leadership for MassHousing as they face the challenges of these difficult economic times," said Aaron Gornstein, Executive Director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Association.

MassHousing is an independent, quasi-public agency created in 1966 and charged with providing financing for affordable housing in Massachusetts. The Agency raises capital by selling bonds and lends the proceeds to low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners, and to developers who build or preserve affordable and/or mixed-income rental housing. MassHousing does not use taxpayer dollars to sustain its operations, although it administers some publicly funded programs on behalf of the Commonwealth. Since its inception, MassHousing has provided more than $5.6 billion for rental housing and more than $4.8 billion for homeownership. For more information, visit the MassHousing website at