In Boston, buildings, including homes, account for 70% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. To ensure better buildings for residents, create high-quality jobs for workers, and facilitate a healthier climate for everyone, the city is investing $20 million in a nation-leading pilot program for energy retrofits in multifamily housing. The FUSE Executive Fellow will help implement this new retrofit program to preserve housing affordability, drastically reduce carbon emissions, and accelerate the commitments made in Boston’s Green New Deal.
Fellowship Dates: October 24, 2022 – October 23, 2023
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE Corps is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a sense of urgency for cities across America to lead the charge to eliminate economic inequality, dismantle structural racism and to mitigate the threat of climate change. With the election of their new Mayor in 2021, Boston, MA committed to a radical rethinking of their systems to begin addressing these issues through Boston’s Green New Deal. Under this plan, almost 80% of Boston’s buildings will need to undergo deep energy retrofits and decarbonization in order to meet their carbon neutrality goals by 2050. To meet this goal, the Boston City Council recently approved a $20 million allocation of American Rescue Plan funds to support a nation-leading pilot program to reduce emissions through energy retrofits in both deed-restricted and naturally-occurring affordable housing.
The new project explores avenues for smaller residential buildings to reach carbon-neutral standards and will work to retrofit three-deckers and other multi-family homes for energy efficiency, focusing on affordable housing in neighborhoods with historic disinvestment where residents disproportionately experience the effects of climate change. Importantly, the program will also focus on helping residents to remain in their homes during the rehab work, which may include modifying buildings for better insulation and weatherization, moving away from fossil fuel sources, prioritizing more efficient heating and cooling, and installing higher efficiency appliances. Ultimately, this work will lay the groundwork for future, scaled-up efforts to upgrade the city’s housing stock and achieve Green New Deal goals.
Boston will partner with FUSE Corps to help implement the new affordable housing retrofit program through varied approaches. The FUSE Executive Fellow will: explore flexible options to bring deep energy retrofits to existing housing stock; oversee operationalizing the program plan; and act as a liaison between the City, building owners, and contractors. Ultimately, this will help support the city’s goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions, increasing equitable availability of affordable housing, and improving the health and quality of life for its residents.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.
Beginning in October 2022, the FUSE Executive Fellow will work in the Mayor’s Office of Housing and in partnership with the Boston Environment Department and other community stakeholders to make much-needed improvements to Boston’s deed-restricted and naturally-occurring affordable housing building stock, lessening the effects of climate change on Boston’s residents.
The Executive Fellow will work to operationalize the retrofit program, beginning by building a pipeline of potential projects. This includes identifying eligible property owners and tenants and working with program partners to implement tenant-in-place rehabilitation projects. Emphasis will be placed on deed-restricted housing and naturally-occurring affordable housing in low- and middle-income, historically disinvested neighborhoods where residents are especially vulnerable to climate change hazards and risk of displacement.
The Executive Fellow will engage individual home and building owners in target neighborhoods to onboard renovation projects. This will require building partnerships and key relationships with relevant stakeholders such as neighborhood associations, landlord and property management associations, and community groups who are already invested and working in these target neighborhoods. The Executive Fellow will need to gain buy-in from these community partners for each building, showing how the retrofit program can yield benefits for the city, the environment, and the community – but especially the individual owners through a good return on investment for improved energy efficiency, health benefits, and climate resiliency.
The Executive Fellow will work to initiate tenant-in-place retrofit and rehabilitation projects, with a goal of establishing a pipeline of at least 100 total units by the end of the fellow’s engagement with FUSE. This will include administering a competitive process to award funds, working with assessors to diagnose building needs, hiring contractors, monitoring construction work, overseeing fund distribution, liaising between building owners, tradesmen, and contractors to facilitate smooth operations, and coordinating with outside firms to support planning around this construction work (as needed). The Executive Fellow will facilitate a knowledge-sharing network of best practices among these stakeholders to build more sustainable program operations until funds are exhausted.
By October 2023, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- Build a project pipeline – Determine overall objectives and methodology for goal setting, evaluating, competitively selecting, and initiating potential retrofit projects; build connections with residents, construction companies, community groups, and building owners in target neighborhoods; identify and recruit home and building owners for the program
- Operationalize rehab projects – Coordinate and leverage program resources for maximum impact; assess building retrofit needs; oversee hiring of contractors and monitoring construction work; oversee fund distribution; manage resident expectations and communications; and manage program implementation timeline aligned with the city’s priorities; advise and gain buy-in from building owners on the continued need for the program; and ensure residents’ disruption or displacement is minimized during the rehab process
- Support long-term expansion and development – Create a plan for continued deployment and evaluation of the program ensuring community needs and climate resilience is centered in all strategies; cultivate groups of contractors/tradespeople who are prepared and able to take on this work, advance equity goals by diversifying contractor pools
- Executive Sponsor – Jessica Boatright, Deputy Director – Neighborhood Housing Development, Mayor’s Office of Housing
- Project Supervisor – Joe Backer, Senior Development Officer – Neighborhood Housing Development, Mayor’s Office of Housing
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in development project management and/or green/energy efficient building technologies is strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
- Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing and excels in both active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.