Some Massachusetts housing activists say they’re disappointed with Gov. Maura Healey’s appointment of Ed Augustus, who will serve as the state’s first housing secretary in 30 years.

Healey revived the position to help address Massachusetts’ spiraling housing crisis. In a statement Monday announcing Augustus’ appointment as leader of the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, she credited him with overseeing the development of various new housing complexes while he was Worcester’s city manager from 2014 to 2022.

“He left Worcester a stronger city than it was a decade ago, with booming economic development in the downtown and thousands of new housing units,” Healey said.

But housing activists in Worcester argue that’s misleading, noting the vast majority of those new apartments have been too expensive for low- to moderate-income renters. They add that housing prices in Worcester soared and homelessness rose to record highs while Augustus ran the city.

Today, a year after Augustus stepped down as city manager, nearly 50% of Worcester renters are cost-burdened, paying more than a third of their income on rent and utilities. Longtime residents are increasingly leaving Worcester because they can no longer find affordable housing in the city.

“He was the city manager, the CEO of the city, at a time where his role [was] to organize and oversee the current wave of gentrification that is not benefiting — and is in fact harming and pushing out — the most vulnerable segments of the population,” said Addison Turner, who advocates for homeless people in Worcester.

Other Massachusetts housing advocates have applauded Augustus’ appointment, arguing his experience with housing at the local level could prove valuable.

“Congratulations, Secretary Augustus!” Rachel Heller, CEO of the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, said in a tweet. “Your experiences in local and state government are vital for developing policies and supports to produce the homes that people, our communities, and the Commonwealth need in order to thrive!”

By some estimates, the commonwealth will need as many as 200,000 new residential units by 2030 to address its housing crunch. Building those apartments and houses will involve convincing localities to re-zone for more multifamily housing, a delicate effort that Augustus will lead as housing secretary.

Still, activists who specialize in affordable housing say Healey’s choice raises questions about her administration’s housing priorities. Andrea Park, an attorney with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, said state leaders need to focus on creating housing for the lowest-income families, rather than housing in general.

“How are we going to create permanent affordability?” Park said. “That includes moving people out of homelessness, out of shelter. So we would put that challenge forth to the new secretary and hope to work with him to really address the crisis.”