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History

Since 1939 Seattle Housing Authority has provided housing options for residents throughout the city, including programs for those with low incomes, the disabled, and senior citizens.

1937

The United States Housing Act of 1937 sets public housing policy. It is the first federal legislation dealing directly with housing for low-income and disadvantaged people.

1939

The Washington State Legislature passes the Housing Authorities Law and the Housing Cooperation Law. The Seattle City Council passes a resolution establishing Seattle Housing Authority, the first public housing authority in the state. The agency receives its first federal funds: $3 million to develop Yesler Terrace.

1940

The threat of World War II creates nationwide demand for defense worker housing. Congress passes the Lanham Act, which allows housing authorities to build and manage housing to meet defense workers’ needs. Holly Park, Rainier Vista and High Point are built using Lanham Act funds.

1949

Congress passes the Housing Act of 1949, permitting construction of additional locally owned homes for low-income people.

1953

Seattle Housing Authority acquires title to Holly Park, Rainier Vista and High Point at no cost under the Lanham Act and begins converting 2,700 units to low-income housing.

1967

Seattle Housing Authority opens Jefferson Terrace, its first new construction of low-income housing since Yesler Terrace. Demand is so great that all units are filled before the official opening.

1968

The "turnkey" program begins. In four years, the $48 million construction program produces 23 high-rises for the elderly, 141 townhouses for families in four "villages," and Center Park, one of the nation’s first public housing facilities for those with physical disabilities.

1973

Seattle Housing Authority moves its Central Office to its present location after more than 30 years at Yesler Terrace.

1974

The Section 8 program allows federal funding for low-income people to rent their own units on the private market.

1978

The Scattered Sites housing program begins, providing public housing for families on small sites throughout the city.

1979

Funding for public housing peaks, in inflation adjusted terms.

1981

Seattle voters approve a $48.1 million bond issue for housing the elderly and disabled. Seattle Housing Authority builds more than 1,000 units in low-rise buildings under the Seattle Senior Housing Program.

1986

Federal Omnibus Tax Reconciliation Act allows for low-income housing tax credits for the first time. Seattle Housing Authority won’t use them until mid 1990s.

1995

Seattle Housing Authority is awarded a $47 million HOPE VI grant for the redevelopment of Holly Park. HOPE VI requires a mixed-income neighborhood that includes market-sale homes as well as low-income rentals in order to erase the stigma of living in public housing.

1996

Seattle Housing Authority is chosen as a Moving to Work demonstration site by HUD, giving the agency some freedom within federal budgeting guidelines to better serve the local population. Rainier Vista is also chosen as one of seven Jobs Plus sites in the nation. Its job training and coordination programs serve as a model for the rest of the nation.

1998

Seattle Housing Authority is awarded a $17 million HOPE VI grant to redevelop Roxbury House & Village.

1999

Seattle Housing Authority is awarded a $35 million HOPE VI grant to redevelop Rainier Vista.

2000

Seattle Housing Authority is awarded a $35 million HOPE VI grant to redevelop High Point. Phase I of NewHolly is also completed and becomes a national model for its innovative partnerships. The NewHolly Neighborhood Campus opens, offering a public library, community college branch, day care and other services to residents of NewHolly and the surrounding area.

2006

The homeWorks program begins. It is a five-year program to renovate 22 low-income public housing high-rises, with the goal of protecting low-income housing by extending the service life of the buildings and providing a better living environment for residents.