Mayor Michelle Wu announced Robert Terrell as Executive Director of the City’s Office of Fair Housing and Equity. The existing office, which is within the Equity and Inclusion Cabinet, prevents discrimination and ensures equitable access to housing in Boston.
“In this moment as Boston continues to grow, ensuring every resident has a safe, healthy, affordable home is the foundation for a brighter future for everyone,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “The Office of Fair Housing and Equity is crucial in tackling discrimination and ensuring every resident and family has equitable access to housing across all of our city’s neighborhoods. I’m grateful to Mr. Terrell for his leadership and commitment to centering equity in our housing work and serving our city.”
“Having Robert Terrell’s experience and passion for housing equity is essential to our mission of building a city for everyone,” said Chief of Equity and Inclusion Mariangely Solis Cervera. “I’m excited to work beside him as we create new solutions for equitable and fair housing practices for our residents.”
As Executive Director, Terrell will work to enforce local, state, and federal fair housing law in Boston to protect renters and buyers from discriminatory practices. Terrell’s work in Boston’s fair housing space has focused on the impact of gentrification and displacement in Roxbury and within transit corridors across the city. In this new role, he will build on this to play a key role in centering racial justice and housing equity in city processes and protecting the interests of Boston residents. Terrell will also work to expand the investigatory capacity of the office to better receive formal complaints when laws are violated, increase access to trainings about housing rights for residents, and ensure fair housing is embedded into city policies.
“I am very excited to join the Office of Fair Housing and Equity as its new Executive Director. I look upon civil rights and fair housing work as a sacred trust. I want to assure everyone in Boston that we will do our utmost to combat housing discrimination in whatever form it takes,” said Robert Terrell. “If you’ve ever been unjustly denied housing because of the color of your skin, the language you speak, the country you come from or whom you choose to love, our office is here to stand with you. We will enforce our fair housing laws justly, uphold the rights of our protected classes and we pledge to do so under all conditions and at all times”.
Recently, Terrell served as the Fair Housing, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for the Boston Housing Authority’s Office of Civil Rights. In this position, Terrell assisted in the development of the Boston Housing Authority’s Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative and chaired their Fair Housing working group, and supported the development of the Expanding Choice in Housing Opportunities (ECHO) Program that collectively created a framework central to how Boston removes barriers to fair housing today. This work eventually led Terrell to also play a role in creating a new Assessment of Fair Housing for the City of Boston.
Prior to joining the City of Boston, Terrell held leadership positions with many local organizations such as the Roxbury Neighborhood Council, the Madison Park Development Corporation Board of Directors, the Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association’s (CHAPA), Action for Equity’s Housing Committee, the Boston Branch of the NAACP, the Planning Committee of the Annual Fair Housing and Civil Rights Conference, and the Assessment of Fair Housing’s Community Advisory Committee and its Monitoring Committee.
Terrell also lectures part-time at Tufts University’s Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning where he received his Masters in Public Policy.
Robert also holds a BA in Government and Sociology from Bowdoin College.