The City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development (HCD) was established in 1977 to address slum, blight, and deterioration in Memphis communities. HCD began its work in 1975 as a result of federal legislation (enacted in 1974) in the form of a Block Grant for cities nationwide. HCD, in conjunction with the Mayor, decided to target specific neighborhoods and take a comprehensive approach to fund distribution in order to address in a holistic approach the problems in the inner-city neighborhoods. Since it began, HCD has targeted 24 low-income neighborhoods, and has worked on issues from housing to infrastructure to building communities. In 1991-92, HCD expanded its endeavors to include economic development and has been instrumental in the revitalization of downtown as well as helping people start small businesses.
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 units 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 public-private HOPE VI development, LeMoyne Gardens, was renamed to College Park. It hosts 411 apartments and homes for tenants and owners of various income levels. In 2000, the city was awarded a second HOPE VI grant for $35 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the redevelopment of the historic Greenlaw, Manassas, and surrounding neighborhoods (also known as Uptown). The Uptown Project proposes to transform two public housing developments (Hurt Village and Lauderdale Courts) and create approximately 1000 mixed income units (affordable, public housing, and market rate).
MHA is governed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners, appointed by the Mayor of the City of Memphis and confirmed by the Memphis City Council.