Ismael Guerrero leaving Denver Housing Authority for national nonprofit

The head of DHA will now lead Mercy Housing.

Mercy Housing’s Home/Maker art exhibition on Market Street downtown, April 23, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Mercy Housing’s Home/Maker art exhibition on Market Street downtown, April 23, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver Housing Authority’s leader is leaving to take over a national affordable housing nonprofit.

Denver-based Mercy Housing announced Monday that following a national search, Ismael Guerrero will become its president and CEO starting July 1. He succeeds Jane Graf, who is retiring from Mercy Housing after 33 years, the last six as president and CEO.

Mercy Housing moved to Denver soon after a nun founded it in Nebraska in 1981. It now owns more than 300 properties that are home to more than 40,000 people in 41 states, making it one of the country’s largest nonprofit developers and managers of housing that is rented at below market rates.

Guerrero has been executive director of the Denver Housing Authority for more than 12 years. He previously helped develop affordable multi-family housing for US Bancorp Community Development Corporation. He’s been at Mercy before, serving from September 2000 to July 2003 as the nonprofit’s vice president and director of real estate development in the Denver regional office.

In a statement issued from DHA, Guerrero said he would work with the authority’s senior leadership team and board of commissioners “to plan for a transition which will set DHA on a course for continued success. I have every confidence our legacy of positive impact and accomplishments in Denver will only grow stronger.”

The authority announced last fall that it had closed on the issuance of $129.8 million in Intergovernmental Agreement bonds to be used to boost the city’s affordable housing strategy. Guerrero said at the time that it was the largest single financing in DHA’s 80-year history.

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