The Boston Housing Authority is a public agency that provides subsidized housing to low and moderate income individuals and families. In addition to conventional public housing within the City of Boston, the Authority administers several rental assistance programs such as the Section 8 program. The Authority receives federal and state assistance in order to operate these programs and, as such, is governed by any applicable housing regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.
By enactment of Chapter 88 of the Acts of 1989 (“Chapter 88”), approved May 23, 1989, the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) is managed and controlled by an administrator who is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Mayor of the City of Boston.
Effective as of June 10, 2009, Mayor Thomas M. Menino appointed William McGonagle as Administrator, with “the power and authority to act as the Mayor’s agent with respect to all matters affecting the BHA, including without limitation the power to execute any and all documents as needed with such matters.”
The BHA Monitoring Committee, comprised of nine members, including at least five public housing tenants, is appointed by the Mayor to periodically review matters relating to the management and performance of the BHA and to report thereon to the Mayor.
The BHA was established by the Mayor and City Council in October of 1935 in accordance with the provisions of General Laws, Chapter 121, secs. 26 I et seq.
The BHA’s mission is to provide stable, quality affordable housing for low and moderate income persons; to deliver these services with integrity and mutual accountability; and to create living environments which serve as catalysts for the transformation from dependency to economic self-sufficiency.
In keeping with its mission, the BHA has established specific policies governing eligibility both for admission to and continued occupancy of all its public housing developments and units. Housing developments are built and operated with either federal or state financial assistance. The federal program dates back to the initial occupancy of the Mary Ellen McCormack Houses in May of 1938. State legislation in 1948 initiated the state-aided program.
The Boston Housing Authority owns 60 developments, a few of which have both state and federal components, and has also participated in the mixed-finance redevelopment of six of its developments. These six developments contain public housing units and the BHA continues to own the land on which they sit. The BHA owns and manages some scattered site properties throughout the City of Boston as well. Of the 60 developments, 36 are designated as elderly/disabled developments and 24 are designated as family developments. Two of the 24 family developments have elderly/disabled housing on site and one of the elderly developments has designated units for families. In total, the BHA currently owns and/or oversees approximately 14,000 units of public housing in Boston and houses about 27,000 people under the public housing program.
In addition, the BHA administers approximately 11,000 rental assistance vouchers that allow families to rent in the private market and apply a subsidy to their rent. With this assistance, residents are able to pay approximately 30-40 percent of their income toward rent and the BHA pays the remainder. The BHA helps provide housing to approximately 25,000 people under this program. The BHA also provides subsidy to an additional 1,330 households under its Section 8 Project Based Voucher and Moderate Rehabilitation programs.
Federally-assisted public housing was first established through the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. Its original purpose was to assist the national economy to recover from the disastrous effects of the 1930’s depression by providing decent, safe and sanitary housing for low-income people. With the onset of World War II, public housing's priority shifted to assist "certified war workers" and, later, those veterans who returned home and sought suitable housing. Although public housing has continued to evolve in response to the nation's changing social and economic conditions, it remains an integral part of our nation's commitment to meet the basic housing needs of its people.
here for a list of all the different developments.