PORTLAND — The Portland Housing Authority is honoring the career of Executive Director Cheryl Sessions as she retires this month, after a long career in public housing and community development. In July of 2022, the PHA Board of Commissioners selected Brian Frost to succeed Sessions as executive director upon her retirement. Frost joined PHA in 2020 and has served as deputy executive director since 2021.

“My time with Portland Housing Authority has been some of the most rewarding of my career, but in April of this year, I knew the time had come to move toward enjoying retirement with my family,” said Sessions. “It’s been an honor to serve our residents and our City, and I will forever be proud of the work we’ve accomplished and the team we have built here at Portland Housing Authority to provide safe, quality affordable housing for thousands of low-income families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities.”

Sessions first joined PHA in October of 2017 as deputy executive director, and succeeded Mark Adelson as executive director in November of 2019. Prior to PHA, she worked for the Lewiston Housing Authority and practiced real estate and corporate law. Sessions helped lead the housing authority in Maine’s largest city through the COVID-19 pandemic while advancing innovative community partnerships and housing development projects, while also growing PHA’s talented team of housing professionals. Sessions was instrumental in advancing innovative partnerships with community organizations including Youth & Family Outreach and Community Housing of Maine to add over 150 housing units in the city of Portland.

Frost is a longtime affordable housing professional who joined Portland Housing Authority in 2020 as asset manager from Subsidized Housing Partners. Frost began his career in affordable housing at the Maine State Housing Authority in 1992 and transitioned to private management in 1994. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine Presque Isle and a master of business administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is a Certified Tax Credit Compliance Professional and holds the CPM designation from the Institute of Real Estate Management.

“Brian is an excellent choice by our commissioners,” said Sessions. “For more than two years we have been working side by side to reposition and rehabilitate Portland Housing Authority’s portfolio of properties and transition to tax credit property management through Porthouse Management. I have the utmost confidence in him and wish him the very best of luck.”

“Under Cheryl’s leadership, and despite the years-long disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, PHA has made great progress in our strategic plan to provide and expand affordable housing in Portland,” said Brian Frost. “To name a few examples, we successfully completed our award-winning Solterra (58 Boyd Street) development; we completed phase I and have begun phase II of our Front Street redevelopment, which demolished 50 units and is building back 105 new units; we are well underway on a total renovation of our 100-unit Washington Gardens property; and we are finalizing plans for a major rehabilitation of our Harbor Terrace property, which will include new community facilities and the addition of 59 new units at Riverton Park. We are also working to secure historic recognition of Sagamore Village and Franklin Towers for additional equity, combined with low-income tax credits, to perform major renovations of these two historic properties and possibly add 48 new units in Sagamore.”

“I look forward to working with the board of commissioners, the City of Portland, HUD, our fellow public housing authorities, and all our community partners to continue this critical work, at a time when safe, quality affordable housing is greatly needed in our city,” said Frost.
Established in 1943, the Portland Housing Authority provides long-term, affordable fair rental housing and assistance to more than 3,000 low-income families, seniors and disabled individuals through its Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs. PHA houses over 6,500 residents, close to 10 percent of the City’s population. PHA believes that providing safe, quality, affordable housing gives residents the stability and opportunity for success they need and deserve. For more information, visit http://www.porthouse.org.