History of MHA
Memphis Housing Authority Historical Background Frontrunner in the public housing movement. The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) was established in 1934. The following year Memphis became the second city in the nation, following New York, to establish a local housing authority. Under Chapter 615 of the Private Acts of 1935, the Tennessee General Assembly authorized the Memphis Housing Authority (MHA). Memphis' first two public housing developments (Dixie Homes and Lauderdale Courts) opened on land that was once occupied by slums. As a reflection of the racial policies of the time, Lauderdale Courts was designated for white families and Dixie Homes for black families. In 1954, the enactment of the federal Urban Renewal program greatly expanded MHA's role. Its focus was no longer strictly housing management.
From 1970-1975 the number of public housing developments in Memphis increased from nine to twenty-two. The newer units became smaller and the density was cut in half. During that time four high-rises for the elderly were also built. In 1991, Dr. W.W. Herenton became the first African American Mayor of Memphis. One of his primary goals was to increase affordable housing for Memphis citizens.
In 1994, the Memphis Housing Authority received a $481,000 HOPE VI planning grant and in 1995 received a $47.2 million HOPE VI implementation grant for the LeMoyne Gardens housing units. The city's first HOPE VI development, LeMoyne Gardens, was developed through a public-private partnership and renamed College Park. A total of 411 apartments, including 70 single family homes were developed on the revitalized site.
MHA is governed by a six-member Board of Commissioners, appointed by the Mayor of the City of Memphis and confirmed by the Memphis City Council.