Vargas Becomes Fourth Executive Director of the Haverhill Housing Authority in its 74-Year History

The Haverhill Housing Authority is headquartered in its 25 Washington Square elderly housing building. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Clara Ruiz Vargas has become the fourth person in the Haverhill Housing Authority’s 74-year history to become executive director.

Vargas, who had served as interim executive director since Joseph A. Hart left the post last fall, was selected by the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners last Thursday. The job was advertised as paying between $133,571 and $138,395 annually.

Vargas was not immediately available for comment, but a spokeswoman said Vargas has worked for the quasi-public agency for eight years.

Besides Vargas and Hart, the Housing Authority was administered by founding Executive Director Mary T. Watson from 1948 to 1982 and was succeeded by Dennis Soraghan for the next 32 years.

In advertising for the post, a search committee required the new executive director to have “the desire to fund, plan and develop new affordable housing within the City of Haverhill.” Job requirements included at least eight years’ experience in public or private housing, community development, public administration, non-profit administration or a closely related field that demonstrates strong management and organizational skills. It also required at least three year’s supervisory experience of a staff of 10 or more.

The Haverhill Housing Authority owns 296 units of state-aided elderly/handicapped apartments, 138 units of family apartments and six special needs units. It is also responsible for 462 Section 8 vouchers, 52 Massachusetts Rental Vouchers, 14 Shelter Plus Care units, 50 Department of Mental Health units and 62 state and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-aided units.

Housing Authority Commissioners include Chairman Robert Driscoll, Dorothy Early, Kalister Green-Byrd, Jonathan Goldfield and Fred Simmons.

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