Saturday, April 4, 2020

Historic Overview - MHA


The United States Housing Act of 1937 (P.L. 75-412, 50 Stat. 888) created the public housing program. Under the program the Federal Government through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides subsidies to local public housing agencies (PHAs) that rent housing to low-income families.  Under the act assistance would be funded through the states to local entities that would provide and operate the subsidized housing. The policy assured that local government would share in the responsibility and public housing would not be forced upon communities that did not want it.

Below are some significant acts passed after the initial law in 1937 that direct and guide PHAs in implementation and administration of today’s public housing.

  • The Housing Act of 1949 announced a goal of a "decent home and suitable living environment for every American family" and funded "slum clearance" activities.
  • The Housing Act of 1954 enacted the urban renewal program.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965 created HUD to consolidate federal agencies that dealt with urban housing including, the Public Housing Administration, the Federal Housing Administration and Federal National Mortgage Association (popularly known as Fannie Mae), which operates extensive insurance and mortgage-buying operations from banks and selected other lenders.
  • The Housing Act of 1965 created a rent supplement program for use in privately owned housing.
  • The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 enacted a series of assisted programs for private housing that continued the shift to using federal subsidies for privately owned housing and away from publicly owned housing.
  • The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 consolidated community development programs into block grants and created the Section 8 housing assistance program.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited certain forms of racial discrimination in federally assisted programs.
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1968 enacted the Fair Housing Act which prohibits racial discrimination with a 1974 amendment prohibiting sex discrimination and a 1988 amendment prohibiting discrimination against families with children or handicapped persons.

PHAs are independent entities with limited accountability to local governments.  The Melbourne Housing Authority (MHA) was established under Florida Statute 421.27 as an independent special district on 27 February 1967.  An independent special district means that the Governor of Florida is responsible for appointing the Board of Commissioners who oversee and set policy for MHA.  On April 25, 1958, HABC signed its original Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) with HUD and this ACC is still our governing document today.  The special district's service area is in the City of Melbourne, and operates over 150 Public Housing units.