Mayor Michelle Wu and the Office of Housing announced that Karen Rebaza of East Boston has been appointed Deputy Director for the Boston Home Center. Ms. Rebaza is an experienced and respected community banking leader in Greater Boston. Most recently, she served as a Vice President, Residential Community Development Officer at Rockland Trust, where she specialized in working with first-time home buyers. Prior to working at Rockland Trust, she served as the Assistant Director of the Boston Home Center, helping to launch the discounted One+Boston mortgage product.
“We are pleased to welcome Karen Rebaza back to the Office of Housing to lead the Boston Home Center’s efforts in its work to increase homeownership among Boston residents and to assist those that are already homeowners,” said Sheila Dillon, Director, Mayor’s Office of Housing. “Homeownership provides a path to generational wealth and housing stability and is key to equitable growth in Boston. Karen has been a champion of this important work throughout her career, and I look forward to working with her to create new opportunities.”
Ms. Rebaza’s new role at the Boston Home Center merges her passion for community building with her background in the residential mortgage field. As Vice President for Residential and Community Development for Rockland Trust, she was responsible for growing Rockland Trust’s first-time home buyer efforts by providing educational workshops, working with community housing organizations, and exploring opportunities to expand its residential mortgage product and program offerings.
In her previous experience with the Office of Housing, she served as the Assistant Director for Homebuyer Services, during which time she helped launch the One+Boston mortgage product, managed the Neighborhood Homes Initiative, which uses City-owned land to create affordable homeownership opportunities for Boston residents, and directed the Home Center’s foreclosure assistance and financial assistance programs. Prior to this role, Ms. Rebaza worked at Rockland Trust as a Vice President and Citizens Bank as a Senior Loan officer. Throughout her extensive career in the residential mortgage field, she specialized in CRA community lending, focusing on the first time home buyer programs in an effort to increase home ownership among Black, Indigenous and People of Color in Massachusetts. Because of her passion and dedication to the community and efforts to narrow the home ownership gap, she has received multiple awards throughout her career recognizing her work in the mortgage field as well as her dedication to the community.
She has also served as a member of the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) Selection Committee, and the Advisory Board at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
In her new position, Ms. Rebaza will oversee the Welcome Home, Boston initiative and the management and operations of the Boston Home Center.
The Welcome Home, Boston initiative will utilize $60 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for the development of income-restricted homeownership opportunities on 150 parcels of City-owned land to be made available for eligible Boston residents. The funding will also enhance financial assistance programs to help residents in buying homes by providing grants that will deliver lower mortgage interest rates and up to $50,000 in direct assistance, including down payment and closing cost assistance, to income-eligible first-time homebuyers. Funding will also be used to launch a homeownership program for qualified Boston Housing Authority residents
“I am very excited to return to city government to be of service to the people of Boston,” said Deputy Director for the Boston Home Center, Karen Rebaza. “I look forward to working with the Wu Administration, Chief Dillon, and the staff of the Mayor’s Office of Housing to increase the opportunities for homeownership and help homeowners in the City of Boston. I look forward to helping Mayor Wu achieve her historic housing goals for our city.”
The Office of Housing’s Boston Home Center is charged with creating programs to help Boston homebuyers buy a home in Boston, and assisting existing homeowners with home maintenance issues. These programs include first-time homebuyer education; down payment and closing cost assistance to first-time homebuyers; lead paint abatement for housing units in Boston; and home repair programs for qualified residents and older Bostonians. The Boston Home Center also oversees City programs that assist homeowners with avoiding foreclosure and works to enhance the City’s relationships with banks, mortgage companies, and nonprofits to promote City programs and coordinate homeownership opportunities.
In this position, Karen will oversee a staff of 29 employees and manage an annual divisional budget of $16.9 million.
Karen Rebaza lives in East Boston with her family and is deeply involved in advocating for the Boston community. She currently serves on the board of advisors for the East Boston YMCA, the advisory board for MAHA’s STASH Program, and board of advisors of Latina Center Maria.