Karen LaFraziaPresident and CEO
For more than 30 years, Karen LaFrazia has worked as a counselor, caseworker, advocate, community organizer, and program developer. During her twenty years at St. Francis House, Ms. LaFrazia has provided a guiding vision of growth for the agency and created a culture that fosters innovation and rewards creativity. Under her leadership, St. Francis House has become a model of integrated programs and services for homeless men and women and people experiencing poverty.
Most recently, in April 2016, in partnership with the Planning Office of Urban Affairs (POUA), Ms. LaFrazia led the purchase of the former Boston Young Men’s Christian Union (BYMCU) building at 48 Boylston Street in Boston. The property will be redeveloped by St. Francis House to create 46 units of much needed affordable housing in the community, strengthening St. Francis House’s mission to provide pathways to stability for individuals experiencing homelessness.
Ms. LaFrazia spearheaded the expansion of Next Step, the agency’s permanent supported housing program, and doubled the capacity of vocational rehabilitation services within the Sullivan Family Moving Ahead Program.
Ms. LaFrazia played an integral role in the oversight of two successful Capital Campaigns. She steered the planning and implementation of the $6 million construction and renovation of our 70,000+ square-foot building. She also led Under One Roof, a $15.9 million initiative to expand the capacity of the agency’s most successful programs. The Campaign concluded in December 2011, exceeding goal by $800,000 during the worst recession in decades.
In 2008, Ms. LaFrazia was a recipient of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s Unsung Heroine Award, and in 2009 she was honored by the Boston University Alumni Association for “Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Social Work.” In 2012, she was the first recipient of HomeStart’s Partner Award.
At the invitation of Mayor Marty Walsh, Ms. LaFrazia also serves on the City of Boston’s Leadership Council to End Homelessness. The Council looks for innovative ways to eliminate family and individual homelessness in Boston.
Prior to joining St. Francis House, Ms. LaFrazia was a social worker and later the Statewide Director of Social Services with the Salvation Army in Massachusetts. She has also worked as a supervisor at a residential treatment facility for adolescents and was a founding member and president of the Somerville Homeless Coalition.
Ms. LaFrazia has a Bachelor’s degree in social work from Regis College and a Master’s degree in social work from Boston University. She also is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Regis College, in recognition of her commitment to social justice and service to ‘the dear neighbor’.