A housing authority is a body of independent public service that is usually a municipal corporation, but may also be a state agency. It is not an integral part of the local government. However, it is governed by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a federal agency.
As a result of the Great Depression, the first housing authorities were created in the U.S. These were designed to assist low-income families with affordable housing. They were also aimed at fighting blight and other problems.
Today, the Chicago Housing Authority is a ten-member board of commissioners. They serve the Chicago community through the operation of public and Section 8 housing.
The Housing Choice Voucher program, which is also known as Section 8, helps very low-income families find affordable rentals. In addition, the program gives preference to the elderly and disabled.
One of the biggest challenges for a housing authority is the budget situation. Many agencies are struggling with the downward trend in the budget. This has led to major changes for them. For example, many housing authorities are leasing property to qualified residents for a very low cost, while others are providing free apartments to disadvantaged residents.
While most housing authorities are privately run, some do manage Section 8 voucher programs. Often, these programs are managed by nonprofit organizations, but housing authorities are also involved in these programs.
The housing authority can lease or sell property and can oversee the rehabilitation of the properties. Some authorities also manage the rental subsidies, which pay owners the difference between a tenant’s ability to pay and the contract rate.