Chris Thomas MHK resigned from the housing role in July.
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Kate Lord-Brennan MHK, said: ‘I am delighted that David is joining the Cabinet Office and particularly pleased that he will now chair the Housing and Communities Board.
‘David has significant local and national government experience which will be of immense assistance as we continue to deliver Our Island Plan.’
Mr Ashford will work closely with both the Housing and Communities Board and the housing division in the Department of Infrastructure to develop proposals for a national housing association.
Minister for Infrastructure, Tim Crookall MHK, said: ‘I absolutely recognise the importance of having a clear strategic plan for housing.
‘If Tynwald backs plans to develop the housing association model, I will ensure that David is given every support to take this forward.’
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Ashford, said: ‘I am delighted to have been asked by the Chief Minister to take on the role as Chair of the Housing and Communities Board.
‘Housing policy is of central strategic importance to the future of our island.
‘I look forward to using my previous political experience in this area to deliver better housing outcomes for our community.’