The Houston City Council created the Houston Housing Authority in 1938 in response to federal legislation (U.S. Housing Act of 1937) and enabling state legislation that charged local entities with providing decent, safe and sanitary housing for low to moderate income families and individuals. While independent of Houston city government, the Houston City Council appointed the first Board of Commissioners and Executive Director that same year.
In 1939, the agency opened its first housing developments and subsequently went through an incredible early growth phase with the creation of more than 1,500 units in the 40s and 50s. The agency's public housing construction slowed during the 60s, but flourished again with the creation of additional 1,500 in the 70s and 80s.
The agency's Housing Choice Voucher Program, commonly referred to as Section 8, was established in 1975. In 1995, the Housing Authority began operating its homeownership programs. Beginning in 2000, the agency experienced a resurgence of affordable housing development activity with the construction of about 2,000 units of quality affordable housing. Over 2,600 households were added to the Housing Choice Voucher Program in 2011.
Today, the Houston Housing Authority serves more than 60,000 low-income Houstonians, the most in the agency's history, including over 17,000 families housed through the Housing Choice Voucher Program and another 5,500 living in 25 public housing and tax credit developments around the city. HHA also administers the nation's third largest voucher program exclusively serving homeless veterans.