Acton Housing Authority’s executive director retires

June 14, 2024
A group of people stand in a room with blue and silver balloons in the background. A woman stands in the middle of the group holding a large certificate from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A small boy is beginning to leave the crowd and walk towards the photographer.
Retirement celebration at Acton Housing Authority Left to right, Representative Simon Cataldo, Bernice Baran, AHA Board, Nancy Kolb, AHA Board, Sahana Purohit, AHA Board, Kelley Cronin, ED AHA, Melissa Wingfield, AHA Board, Melissa Bible, Assistant Director AHA, Representative Dan Sena with son, Senator Jamie Eldridge Photo: Alissa Nicol

Kelley Cronin, Acton Housing Authority’s Executive Director retired June 7 after 19 years with the Authority. In recognition of this milestone, Nancy Kolb, chair of the Acton Housing Authority, shared these recollections with the Acton Exchange:

Kelley first worked for the City of Boston Mayor’s Office and then for ten years she was Executive Director for the Emergency Shelter Commission there where she was responsible for coordinating shelter and essential services for homeless people. She secured over $40 million in federal resources to create new housing and support service programs. and she built lasting partnerships within the homeless community.

In 2005 she was hired as Acton Housing Authority (AHA) Executive Director.

Kelley is respected far and wide as evidenced by her recent role as Interim President of MA NAHRO (Massachusetts National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials) and her continuing work as a board member. She has received many statewide and national awards and citations during her professional career:

Commonwealth Heroine Award – for public housing leadership and advocacy

MA NAHRO Member of the Year – for extraordinary accomplishments worthy of recognition by all members of the association

Department of Housing and Urban Development Best Practices Award– for best Homeless Continuum-of-Care in the United States

Boston Management Consortium Award – first place award for management practices

American Red Cross Clara Barton Humanitarian Award – for outstanding contributions to the hunger and homeless services community

In Acton, Kelley’s untiring advocacy skills assured that our leaders in government understand and support public housing. She welcomed new board members, state legislators and local officials with an invitation to visit our housing units. She translated the complicated workings of public housing, and its many needs. Her strong collaborative and leadership skills supported AHA to work cooperatively with our Town government, our community and the State.

Kelley is an invaluable advisor and consultant. Her keen intellect and ability to understand not just the immediate implications of housing decisions but the long-range big picture have guided the AHA board and helped all in our community.

Kelley’s commitment to our community, AHA staff, and our tenants is tireless. She has deep respect for AHA tenants and she understands and appreciates the challenges they face.

Acton has been well served by Kelley’s extensive knowledge about public housing and building. It is rare that a housing authority of Acton’s size would be able to build and create new housing options. Under Kelley’s leadership two new building projects were undertaken: Whittlesey Village and our latest building project, Main Street McManus Manor.

Kelley’s efforts have affected thousands of people directly and improved their daily lives.

The Acton Housing Authority Board of Commissioners is most grateful to have had her at the helm for 19 years. Kelley will continue with AHA part time as a project manager to oversee the development and construction of McManus Manor on Main Street, our senior housing project.

Nancy Kolb is chair of the Acton Housing Authority and retired Acton Boxborough Regional School District administrator and teacher.

The Acton Housing Authority (AHA) is the largest provider of affordable housing in Acton. The AHA owns over 160 affordable rental units which are rented to low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities. AHA also manages over 170 vouchers to subsidize rents in the private market. Over three-hundred and thirty 330 households receive affordable housing, and pay no more than 30% of their income for rent, through the Acton Housing Authority.


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