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First Black woman to lead housing authority

Home Forward hires new executive

Ivory Mathews will serve as the new executive director of Home Forward, the low-income housing authority for Portland and Multnomah County.

After a national search, Home Forward, the low-income housing authority for Portland and Multnomah County, has selected its next Executive Director, Ivory Mathews of South Carolina.

Mathews has 10 years experience in leading various housing authorities and affordable housing agencies, most recently as the Chief Executive Officer at Columbia Housing in Columbia, S.C., where she gained valuable experience and skills in Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policies, including finance and government relations. She has also completed the coursework in pursuit of her Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration.

She will be the first Black woman to lead Home Forward when her work in Portland begins in March, officials said, making the hiring announcement on Friday.

Mathews reflected on her enthusiasm for the job, in prepared remarks.

“Home Forward is known as a premier provider of affordable housing and a leader in taking bold steps and shattering the status quo. I am looking forward to joining and leading this extraordinarily talented team in developing, delivering, and scaling new innovative solutions to providing equitable opportunities to affordable housing for Portlanders,” she said.

Mathews will succeed Michael Buonocore, who announced his resignation in September after serving 20 years at Home Forward, seven as its Executive Director.

Under Buonocore’s leadership, Home Forward added 3,492 vouchers for low-income renters, increased revenue by $112 mlilion, increased the value of assets by $546 million, had 7 years of clean financial audits and added 280 new affordable homes. The agency also preserved 2,213 homes through major rehabilitations, added at least 1,046 homes to the development pipeline through 2024, and built a foundation for racial equity initiatives to reconcile historic harm.

“I am thrilled to welcome Ivory to Portland and hand over the reins of this organization that I love to her,” Buonocore said. “She’s incredibly talented and I can’t wait to see how she leads Home Forward into a bright future.”

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