LexHAB believes thoughtfully designed and environmentally friendly homes should be accessible to all income levels.
In 1983, Lexington Housing Assistance Board (LexHAB) was chartered by the Town of Lexington and established by an Act of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to investigate and implement alternatives for providing affordable housing in Lexington for low and middle income households in response to a growing concern about rising housing prices.
For almost forty years, LexHAB’s 9 member volunteer Board of Directors and small staff have collaborated with the Town of Lexington to increase the stock of affordable housing in the community. Since LexHAB’s inception, the need for affordable housing has grown exponentially. Today the concern about the cost of local housing has become a crisis with a wide housing affordability gap in Lexington. LexHAB has 78 units throughout town. Our inventory includes one, two, three and four bedroom rental properties.
Sarah Morrison, Executive Director
Sarah Morrison joined LexHAB in January 2022, bringing over 20 years of experience in community organizing, advocacy, program development and management in the homelessness and affordable housing sectors. Most recently, Sarah led a network of human service providers focused on stabilizing vulnerable community members, including residents in affordable housing and public housing in the Boston area. Her experience includes developing and directing homelessness intervention programs as well as overseeing eviction prevention programs for affordable housing residents and public housing residents. She became passionate about advocating for affordable housing while working in homeless shelters, where she saw the devastating impact of displacement due to violence and poverty on families and children and the enormous need for affordable housing.
Sarah graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts and completed her Master of Social Work in Community Organization, Policy and Planning at Hunter College in New York City. Sarah was awarded the Leopold Schepp Fellowship, the Child Welfare Fund Fellowship and the Amy Watkins Scholarship in recognition of her commitment to social justice. She teaches Macro Social Work and Social Policy at Simmons School of Social Work.
Sarah lives in Lexington with her husband, two sons and one adorable dog. She is an active community volunteer and coordinates the METCO Family Friends program at Bridge Elementary School. In her free time, Sarah enjoys traveling, making art and being outdoors all year long: skiing, hiking and camping with her family.
Pearlene Varjabedian, Housing Director
Pearlene Varjabedian, joined the Lexington Housing Assistance Board in January 2018. She has over 30 years of experience in Human Resources, Housing and Hospitality Services.
Prior to working with LEXHAB, Pearlene was Director of Personnel and Training Director with the Sheraton Corporation and Omni Hotels. Pearlene enjoys working with people and brings an extensive background in personnel relations. She was the Housing Manager for the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Inc for many years and worked directly with Meeting Planners around the globe planning major conventions in the city of Boston and surrounding communities.
Through the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Housing and Development Officials, Pearlene has been certified in Personnel Management and Occupancy Cycles and continues to follow updated DHCD and HUD Guidelines to support our LEXHAB Community.
Pearlene is a strong advocate for community inclusion and diversity with a deep passion to support those in need. She truly enjoys seeing the success of the LEXHAB program and helping so many flourish toward a bright future for their family. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, cooking regional international dishes, gardening, and Folk Dance (and even teaches locally), but most of all she loves spending time with her family.
Our Board of Directors
Bob Burbidge, Chair
Bob Burbidge is the founder and CEO of Genesis HR Solutions, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) that serves the small and mid-sized business community. Since 1991, he has worked on behalf of the industry to promote legislative initiatives in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. He is a Past President of the industry’s national trade group (NAPEO) and currently is the Chair of the NAPEO’s New England Leadership Council and is a member of the Federal Government Affairs Committee. In 2006, he was awarded the Michaeline Doyle award which recognized his service to the industry.
In addition to LexHAB, Bob is a director of the Battlegreen Run Foundation and a member of the Lexington Minuteman Cane Award Committee. Past community involvement in Lexington includes the Lexington Symphony (board member), Genesis Community Fund (founder), Lexington Center Committee, Lexington Minutemen, Lexington Girls Softball and Lexington Men’s Softball Leagues (Commissioner), Sacred Heart Parish (“Mission Honduras” coordinator and CCD teacher) and Town Meeting Member. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University and an MBA from Boston University.
A member of LexHAB since 2009, and as a lifelong resident of Lexington, he has seen housing affordability in town diminish considerably over the years. As such, he is committed to increasing Lexington’s inventory of affordable housing units to provide the same opportunities that he and his family have experienced.
Lester Savage, Vice Chair
Lester Savage is a broker associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices/ Commonwealth/ Lester Savage Real Estate, where he has been a top producing agent in the community for 38 years. Lester has been a member of the LexHAB Board of Directors since 2004, and currently serves as the Vice Chair. Additionally, Les is on the Boards of the Dana Home Foundation, the Lexington Historical Society and the Isaac Harris Cary Scholarship Committee. He is also on the Stone Building Reuse Committee and the Wright Farm Advisory Committee. Lester has been a recipient of the White Tricon Hat Award, The Captain John Parker Award, the Chamber of Commerce Charitable Service Award, the Berkshire Hathaway Medal of Honor and a variety of real estate industry performance awards. As a lifelong Lexingtonian, and as a local Realtor, Les recognizes a community responsibility to help others and to promote economic diversity.
Henry Liu, Treasurer
Henry Liu is the Senior Vice President and Compliance Director at Middlesex Savings Bank headquartered in Natick Massachusetts. After a successful career in sales, Henry obtained his undergraduate business degree from Bentley College in 1991, and worked as a Bank Examiner for the FDIC in the Boston Area for ten years, receiving certifications in the areas of both risk and compliance. In 2001, he joined Eastern Bank as their Corporate Compliance Officer, and joined Middlesex Savings Bank in 2006 as their Compliance Director. Henry earned a Masters of Business Administration at Boston College in 2017.
As Compliance Director at Middlesex Savings Bank, his primary focus is on regulatory risk management, working closely with the management team throughout the bank to help manage risks in their respective areas. He has been a frequent presenter at the ABA’s Regulatory Compliance Conference, and guest-lectures at Simmons College School of Management and the Hult International Business School about Compliance and Risk Management.
Henry is a lifelong resident of Lexington, Massachusetts with his wife, Linda, and son, Justin. He is a proud father of an Eagle Scout, and continues to volunteer many hours with a local Boy Scout Troop as Scoutmaster. Henry is also active in the local Revolutionary War reenactment community, serving as Captain Commanding of the Lexington Minute Men from 2004 to 2006. An avid golfer, he serves as Club Secretary for the Lexington Golf Club. Henry has been a member of the LexHAB board since 2015.
Tara Mizrahi, Clerk
Tara Murphy Mizrahi is an Owner and Executive Vice President at Affirmative Investments, a woman-owned development and financial consulting company that creates affordable housing and economic development projects across the country. Since its inception, Affirmative has facilitated the financing and development of nearly $1 billion of affordable housing, representing over 6,300 units and has structured $2.1 billion in financing for economic development projects in low-income communities.
In addition to the work Tara performs with numerous non-profit organizations around the State, Tara participates locally as the Treasurer of Boy Scout Troop 160 and was chosen to be on the Town of Lexington’s Task Force to study the creation of an Affordable Housing Trust Fund and exploration of a 501c3 affordable housing development organization.
She holds degrees from Boston College and Tufts University, is raising four children who attend the Lexington Public Schools and loves to play tennis with her Sun Valley tennis members.
Jonathan Silverstein has lived in Lexington since 2012 with his wife and three children. He is a land use and municipal attorney with over 25 years of experience, representing both public and private sector clients. He is a partner at the law firm of Blatman, Bobrowski, Haverty & Silverstein (BBHS) in Concord, MA. Prior to joining BBHS, Jonathan was one of the managing attorneys at the largest municipal law firm in Massachusetts. He advises clients with respect to development and redevelopment projects, including residential, mixed-use and commercial projects. He assists municipalities and developers with the preparation of zoning recodifications, urban redevelopment plans, special zoning districts, and negotiation of development and land disposition agreements.
Jonathan is frequently asked to present to government officials, planners and legal professionals regarding land use issues, including housing development. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” in Municipal Law in every edition of Super Lawyers Magazine since 2015. Jonathan attended Brandeis University and Boston College Law School.
During the course of his career, Jonathan has become acutely aware of the severity of the affordable housing crisis in Massachusetts. Jonathan joined LexHAB, because he recognizes the particular challenges the housing crisis presents for Lexington, with its ever-escalating property values, and he shares the vision of his fellow board members of working to create more housing and to address these challenges.