The Regional Housing Alliance has hired a new executive director.
Karen Iverson, a senior planner from Anchorage, Alaska, is replacing Jennifer Lopez, who left in March for a joint position with the Department of Local Affairs and the Colorado Housing Finance Authority.
Iverson grew up in Albuquerque and earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of New Mexico, said Scott Graham, president of the alliance board of directors.
Iverson moved to San Diego after graduating and created a coalition of housing advocacy groups, which had an operating budget of $1.5 million when she left, Graham said.
She then went on to get her master’s in urban and regional planning from Portland State University.
“If we sat down as a board and created the perfect candidate for this job ... we would have come up with Karen. To have her walk in the door and be exactly that has been really great,” Graham said.
As Southwest Colorado continues to come out of the recession, Iverson will be in charge of providing gap financing to homebuyers, which helps the working class afford homes.
She also will help put the regional alliance’s new five-year housing plan into action. The plan is being released in June and describes how the RHA will meet its newly set goals to help housing needs in La Plata County.
Iverson was one of 37 candidates. She will start June 3. The RHA will give her up to $3,000 in moving expenses, and her starting salary will be $75,000. Lopez was making $80,000 when she left the organization.