What is a Housing Authority? (Overview, Roles, and Responsibilities)

While shelter is a basic need, many people struggle to pay for housing. That’s where a housing authority comes in. These entities provide housing for low-income families and individuals in the form of low-rent or free apartments. 

This post will walk you through everything you need to know about housing authorities. We’ll also examine how software solutions for local governments, such as meeting management software, streamlines housing authority board meetings, city council meetings, as well as other local government meetings. 

What is a Housing Authority? 

A housing authority is an independent governmental body that provides affordable housing to low-income families and individuals, the elderly, and people with disabilities. As such, it helps to ensure all citizens can access decent and safe housing. 

A housing authority typically holds the power to acquire, construct, and operate property as well as spend and repay funds. It can also lease, rehabilitate, and sell a property. 

Given the important role housing authorities play, their work is often considered a form of civic engagement. And because housing is a necessity, housing authority board meetings must run efficiently to ensure they can serve the public. As a result, many housing authority boards turn to meeting management software to streamline processes and enhance collaboration.

Housing Authority Roles and Responsibilities

A housing authority typically has three primary roles, including: 

Providing Free or Low-Income Housing 

With the cost of housing and rents rising across the country, many low-income earners, the elderly, and some individuals with disabilities struggle to afford housing. Housing authorities provide low-rent or free housing to such individuals.

Acquiring and Redeveloping Housing 

As mentioned above, one of the roles of a housing authority is to provide free or low-rent housing to low-income earners. To achieve this feat, housing authorities usually acquire and redevelop properties, install the necessary amenities, and then offer the homes or apartments to low-income earners. 

Housing authorities can also acquire land and construct housing for those in need, so long as applicants meet the qualifications.

Overseeing Section 8 Vouchers 

The Section 8 voucher program offers assistance to low-income families to afford housing. The housing authority is tasked with overseeing Section 8 vouchers. 

Voucher holders search for rentals in the private market. There are different types of voucher programs, with each having different criteria for where a family can live, and whether a family will keep on receiving assistance if they relocate. 

Generally, a voucher holder is required to pay 30% of their monthly income in rent, and the voucher covers the rental deposit and makes up the difference. For a family to qualify for a voucher, its income should not exceed 50% of the medium income, often determined by the last census of the area where the family resides. 

Housing Authority Board Meetings 

Most housing authorities exist as independent government bodies and have a board of directors with the final authority. Housing authorities are typically tasked with providing low-rent or free housing to low-income earners, overseeing Section 8 vouchers, and acquiring and redeveloping housing, among other tasks. In order for housing authorities to effectively execute their mandate, these boards need to hold productive meetings. 

Meeting management solutions, such as eScribe, enhance the effectiveness of housing authority board meetings by improving communication and simplifying processes. The software also enhances the quality of meetings by providing a platform for housing authority board members to engage with one another as well as with citizens. Additionally, eScribe enables housing authority members to track tasks and deadlines for improved accountability. 

Meeting Minutes Made Simple with eScribe 

From capturing minutes and action items to managing requests and calculating votes, eScribe ensures housing authority meetings, standing committee meetings, planning authority meetings, and other local government meetings run as effectively as possible. 

Moreover, besides affordable pricing, eScribe provides the following features to streamline meeting governance for housing authorities: 

  • Meeting Manager: This feature enables you to keep tabs on hundreds of meeting items, ditch paper and manual processes, eliminate busy work, and track meeting proceedings. 
  • Meeting Minutes: With the meeting minute feature, you can automatically capture accurate minutes and streamline citizen requests.
  • Reporting and Workflows: This feature allows you to track statuses, manage deadlines, save time, and easily handle reports and approvals. 
  • Collaboration Tools: Collaboration tools ensure everyone can access key meeting materials and communicate seamlessly, regardless if they attend in person or virtually. 

Want to see a real-life example of how eScribe improves meeting effectiveness for government agencies? Take a look at the City of Greensboro Case Study.