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One of the Boston City Council’s leading voices on housing issues will become the next head of the Boston Housing Authority.

Councilor Kenzie Bok, who represents Beacon Hill, Back Bay, the Fenway and Mission Hill was named to the post by Mayor Michelle Wu on Wednesday morning.

“The Boston Housing Authority has been a lifeline for generations of Boston families, and in this moment of housing crisis, the BHA must be a model for housing as health, safety, opportunity, and community,” Wu said in a statement. “Kenzie brings a deep commitment to our BHA communities along with an expansive vision of how public housing should anchor our neighborhoods and city—I’m thrilled for her leadership and look forward to building on the strong foundation set under Kate’s stewardship by the entire BHA team. We are all so grateful for Kate’s decades of service to our residents and work to ensure a smooth transition over the coming months.”

Bok was elected to the council in 2019. Before that, she was senior advisor for policy and planning at the BHA, where she secured changes that let the authority vary the amount of federal Section 8 rental subsidies it administers by ZIP code. The Small Area Fair Market Rents program has been credited with giving Section 8 tenants much greater choice in where they apply for apartments.

On the City Council, Bok led the charge with former Councilor Matt O’Malley to eliminate parking minimums at affordable housing developments and worked with then-Councilor Lydia Edwards to pass the city’s affirmatively furthering fair housing zoning law, among other achievements.

Bok will take the BHA’s helm from Administrator Kate Bennett, named to the post role in 2020 after working for the BHA since 1998, including in senior executive posts. During her tenure at the agency, she oversaw redevelopment of the Whittier Street public housing complex in Roxbury and the Orient Heights complex in East Boston, and was a major motive force in setting in motion the mixed-income redevelopments of Jamaica Plain’s Mildred C. Hailey Apartments and Charlestown’s Bunker Hill public housing complex.

“Public housing is a public good, and all of Boston benefits when our public housing communities are strong,” Bok said in a statement. “I’m so excited to return to BHA to put our residents and voucher-holders at the heart of everything our City does, by providing safe high-quality housing for every family and by ensuring the best access to jobs, services, and all the opportunities Boston has to offer. To truly have a City for all, we have to boldly invest at the local, state, and federal levels in the BHA housing that continues to anchor so many of our communities. I was lucky to learn from my predecessors in this role, Kate Bennett and Bill McGonagle, that residents come first at BHA, and I’m looking forward to working with Kate over the coming transition to continue that essential focus.”

Bennett previously announced her plans to retire at the end of the summer. Bok’s office confirmed that she will leave the council in May.

“I am delighted that Councilor Bok will become the next Administrator at the BHA,” said Kate Bennett, current BHA Administrator. “She is the right person to take BHA to the next level. She is passionate about the Authority and its mission, she knows our staff and residents, and she is a brilliant housing advocate.”

Bok Named New BHA Administrator

by James Sanna time to read: 2 min