Cathy Mercado

Executive Director

Cathy, an MVHP homebuyer and lifelong resident of Lowell, assumed the position of Executive Director in 2022, after having joined the staff in 2015. Cathy has extensive involvement in the community through numerous boards, including The Center for Hope and Healing, Abundant Housing MA, Acre Family Child Care, Common Ground Housing, and Fortaleza, among others. Cathy’s certified as a HUD Homebuyer Counselor, and has certificates for the Core Program at Tufts University’s Institute for Nonprofit
Practice, LEADS Executive Education Fellowship, and the Nonprofit Management from Middlesex Community College.

Jennifer Phengdara

Program Associate, Homebuyer Counselor
Jennifer has a professional financial history in residential mortgage lending from local community banks and national mortgage companies, helping an extensive variety of homebuyers into their first homes. With a background in Affordable Housing, she is well-versed in program options for many types of buyers and has a passion for first-generation homeownership. When she is not working, she enjoys all things travel and is a self-proclaimed foodie.

Nelly Portuhondo

Program Associate, Homebuyer Counselor
Nelly is an experienced HUD counselor, bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role. With a strong background in the financial industry, Nelly’s previous positions as a Loan Officer and Loan Processor have equipped her with a deep understanding of the intricate workings of the mortgage industry. Her hands-on experience in these roles has given her a unique perspective on the challenges faced by individuals when it comes to accessing affordable housing.