POAH co-founder and former President and CEO Amy S. Anthony passed away this past weekend from a medical incident while on a trip to Africa.
She was the organization’s top officer from 2001-2015 and was considered one of the nation’s foremost experts in housing finance and policy. From 1983 to 1990, she served as Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Communities and Development, a $600 million Cabinet-level state agency devoted to producing affordable housing and promoting municipal, community, and economic development. She was appointed to the post by then-Governor Michael Dukakis, whom she considered her professional mentor.
“Amy was one of the truly great leaders in the affordable housing field, in a career spanning five decades. She was a pioneer, a practical visionary, an inspiration, and a mentor and good friend to so many of us,” said POAH President and CEO Aaron Gornstein. “A common thread throughout all of her accomplishments was that she taught us to challenge the status quo and to change public policy so that we can provide better housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents.”
Under her direction, Massachusetts created and implemented innovative, award-winning programs that produced more than 25,000 homes and have served for decades as models for other states. Anthony also played an active role in the development of national housing policy. In 1987, she was named to the National Housing Task Force which produced recommendations that resulted in landmark housing legislation, including the HOME Program.
From its modest beginnings in 2001 with a portfolio of 1,600 units in Missouri, Anthony led POAH’s organization’s growth to more than 9,000 affordable homes at more than 100 properties in 11 states and the District of Columbia.
The organization’s most prominent redevelopment is on the south side of Chicago where POAH was awarded one of the first HUD Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Grants in order to demolish a failing Section 8 property and build in its place, more than 800 mixed-income apartments and homes (with no displacement of the publicly-assisted residents) plus nearly 100,000 square feet of new commercial space and an award-winning community center. POAH also stabilized once-troubled blocks across the Woodlawn neighborhood by reclaiming and renovating more than 60 abandoned properties.
In 2017, POAH launched the Amy Anthony College Savings Program in her honor to help young people in POAH communities prepare for higher education.
Anthony served as President of the Council of State Community Affairs Agencies from 1987 to 1990, and as part of President-elect Clinton’s HUD Transition Team in 1992. Anthony was a founding member of the Multifamily Housing Institute and has also served on Fannie Mae’s Housing Impact Advisory Council, the Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and the Boards of: the National Equity Fund, the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership; and the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development; Homes for America; the Massachusetts-based Citizens Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) and the Affordable Housing Institute, a global impact non-profit consultancy.
Last year, Anthony received the 2017 Cushing Niles Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award from the National Low Income Housing Coalition for her many years of dedication, service, and innovative leadership in producing and preserving affordable rental housing for low income households.
In 2015 she was honored with an Excellence Award by the Mass. Housing Investment Corp.
In 2014, she was honored by the Lawyers Clearinghouse in Boston which provides pro bono legal services to nonprofit organizations and individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
In 2011, Anthony was inducted into the Affordable Housing Finance magazine Affordable Housing Hall of Fame.
In 2007, she received the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association Vision Award given to “affordable housing and community development leaders who have made valuable contributions to the field and demonstrated years of leadership, commitment and imagination.”
In June of 2015, hundreds of former and current colleagues, friends and industry associates attended Anthony’s retirement party, headlined by former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, to honor her legacy and contributions to the country’s affordable housing.
Amy was the proud mother of Sam E. Anthony and grandmother of Gretel and Erma.
She was a graduate of Smith College.
Amy Anthony In Memoriam - Banker & Tradesman
Amy Anthony, groundbreaking affordable housing leader in Massachusetts and beyond, dies at 74 - The Boston Globe