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- Our Work
Karen E. Kelleher brings more than 20 years of experience driving housing affordability and building strong, inclusive communities to her role as Executive Director of LISC Boston. She also brings deep expertise in housing, finance, development and policy. Before joining LISC, Kelleher served as Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (“MassHousing”), where she led a reinvention of the agency’s multifamily loan programs and policies, resulting in record lending volume and record levels of affordable housing preservation. Kelleher also led MassHousing’s rollout of several new opportunity fund programs, including its $100 million Workforce Housing Fund and, together with DHCD, a $100 million fund to preserve affordability for very low-income residents of at-risk Section 13A properties and a Community Scale Housing Initiative for small developments of less than 20 units. Finally, she oversaw approximately $1 billion of single family lending to low- and moderate-income borrowers and launched MassHousing’s down-payment assistance program for first-time homebuyers.
Before joining MassHousing, Kelleher was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of The Community Builders, Inc. (“TCB”), a Boston-based nonprofit developer that transforms communities through housing development and community investment. While at TCB, Kelleher worked extensively on complex development transactions and building effective programs to leverage greater community impact, including tax credit investment funds, a neighborhood stabilization loan program, and TCB’s initial new markets tax credit allocation. She previously practiced affordable housing law at Nixon Peabody LLC and served as program counsel for Community Planning & Development programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Kelleher started her career as a teacher at Nativity Preparatory School, a middle school serving boys from low-income families living in Boston neighborhoods.
Kelleher earned her bachelor’s degree from Boston College and her J.D. from Georgetown University. She is a member of the Mayor's Supplier Diversity Advisory Council and the Mayor's Housing Task Force in Boston. She is a member of the Urban Land Institute (Public Private Partnerships Product Council), Real Estate Finance Association, and the Massachusetts Bar. She is also a member of the Board of the Massachusetts Community and Banking Council. She was previously a member of the Boston Bar Association (former chair of Affordable Housing Committee), ABA Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development (former chair of Nonprofit Organizations Subcommittee) and the investment committee of the Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund, and previously served as a board member at Nativity Preparatory School and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.