NEW BEDFORD — A former New Bedford School Committee member has been named as the city's next Housing and Community Development director, the mayor's office announced in a press release Friday.

Mayor Jon Mitchell appointed Joshua Amaral, currently the Assistant Executive Director of People Acting in Community Endeavors (PACE), to head up the department pending approval from the city council.

Amaral has worked for the local community action organization since September 2018, helping create the group's Housing Opportunity Center to assist residents with pandemic-related housing needs.

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He also came up with plans to scale up food pantry distribution by 500% during the COVID-19 pandemic, among other accomplishments at PACE, according to the mayor's office.

A graduate of New Bedford High School, Amaral became the youngest elected official in city history after he won a spot on the New Bedford School Committee in 2014.

He served on the committee for nearly a decade, and also holds seats on the Board of Library Trustees and as the chair of the Homeless Service Providers Network.

The Office of Housing and Community Development administers the city’s federal Department of Housing and Urban Development funds.

Department programs include the Community Development Block Grant program, the Home Investment Partnership Program, and the Emergency Solutions Grant.

Amaral holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in business administration.

"Josh’s demonstrated leadership in housing, education, and social services suits him well for this important position," Mitchell said.

"He has a record of innovation and accomplishment in his professional, elected, and volunteer positions, and I’m confident he’ll excel as a City department head."

It is unclear when Amaral will start in his new position, as his appointment has yet to be approved by the New Bedford City Council.

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