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Habitat for Humanity welcomes new leader!

Sun Chronicle” article by Rick Foster, Staff photo by Mark Stockwell. Outgoing Habitat for Humanity Director Manny Cunard, left, incoming Director Kenneth Owens pose at site of the most recent Habitat house build on Holman Street in Attleboro.
New Habitat Director Ken Owens
(Staff photo by Mark Stockwell)
(Article below by Rick Foster Sun Chronicle Staff March 9, 2017, Updated March 10, 2017)

Habitat for Humanity welcomes new leader
Kenneth Owens at the helm of group, which is finishing up a house in Attleboro.

ATTLEBORO – A new face is taking over at Old Colony Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit volunteer organization that builds housing for families in need.

Kenneth Owens, who is currently the administrator for the Attleboro Municipal Council, has been named executive director of the group, replacing Manny Cunard who stepped down after 2 1/2 years with the agency. Owens, 44, plans to continue in his role with the city council while helming the local Habitat affiliate.

The appointment is effective immediately.

“I’m excited to be part of a team that is doing so much good,” said Owens.

Cunard, who has been involved with Habitat in a variety of locations for more than 20 years, said he is leaving the local agency in good hands.

“We are thrilled to have Ken on board to lead our affiliate in this important period of growth,” said Mark Kolligian, the president of Old Colony Habitat’s board of directors. “Ken stood out as the best person for the job because of his wealth of state and local government experience and his long track record in general management and in building alliances to advance strategic priorities.”

Old Colony develops affordable housing in partnership with families in 12 local communities, including a house currently nearing completion on Holman Street. It also operates a home repair program, A Brush With Kindness, that serves more than a dozen families a year.

Before his work with the city of Attleboro, Owens held a number of positions with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including director of unemployment benefits and director of hearings for the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, secretariat director of diversity and equal opportunity for the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, director of conciliation for the Department of Industrial Accidents and director of legislative affairs for the Joint Committee on Commerce and Labor.

Owens holds a law degree from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fairfield University.

A Connecticut native, he has lived in Attleboro for nearly 20 years.

(RICK FOSTER can be reached at 508-236-0360 or at rfoster@thesunchronicle.com)