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Spotlight on Elton Ogden, former President of Berkshire Housing Development Corporation

As the first part of our series profiling retiring leaders of organizations throughout Central and Western Massachusetts, please take a moment to learn a little about Elton Ogden of Berkshire Housing Development Corporation (BHDC).

We are grateful for his years of service and the impact he has made on the community development movement in Massachusetts and so many individuals in need.

How long were you an Executive Director at BHDC? What is your favorite memory?

I served as President of BHDC for 15 years from 2006 to 2021.  I have far too many positive memories from my time at Berkshire Housing to single out one.  In general, my favorite memories are the times when I heard staff talking excitedly about the work that they were doing to assist people with their housing. Two examples include a staff member telling me about a participant in our Section 8 Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program who was using her FSS savings account to pay the down payment on her first home, and a maintenance technician showing me a roll in shower he had constructed for an elderly tenant who could no longer safely use her tub.

What projects did you work on with CEDAC?

CEDAC was a resource for Berkshire Housing throughout my tenure.  Two recent projects are Bentley Apartments and 330 Cole Avenue. For Bentley Apartments, CEDAC provided a loan to the Community Development Corporation of South Berkshire (CDCSB) to acquire the former New England Log Homes site so the CDC could clean up the blighted polluted downtown property and redevelop it. Later, when BHDC and CDCSB were developing 46 affordable apartments on the site, CEDAC committed funding that enabled us to include additional extremely low-income units and apartments to set aside for tenants with special needs. 330 Cole Avenue in Williamstown was another redevelopment of a vacant brownfields site. CEDAC was a major funder of 330 Cole Avenue beginning with a predevelopment loan.  Permanent funding through CEDAC included HIF and CBH.

Pictured top to bottom: Bentley Apartments, 330 Cole Avenue. Photo credit: Joel Howe Photography

What do you consider to be the top three accomplishments during your time with BHDC?

1) Orchestrating the co-location of Berkshire Housing and Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority to create a virtual and physical “front door” for the combined services of the two agencies.

2) Promoting a culture at Berkshire Housing that placed our mission of serving people by increasing housing options in the forefront. Our staff have a strong sense of mission and an understanding that every staff member’s work contributes to that mission.

3) Spearheading the development of eight affordable housing projects with a total of 279 units and the refinance and rehab of five existing affordable apartment complexes totaling 209 units.

What is one thing you want people to know?

I was a lucky man to lead an organization full of talented hard-working people doing work that matters.

Do you have any special plans for retirement?

I am looking forward to having more time to pursue my many other interests, including spending time in the outdoors, but I also will continue to work in affordable housing.

Categories: CEDAC, Housing

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