Philadelphia Housing Authority

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Philadelphia Housing Authority
Philadelphia Housing Authority logo.png
Agency overview
TypeMunicipal Authority
JurisdictionCity of Philadelphia
Headquarters2013 Ridge Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Employees1,049 (see web site)
Annual budget$396 million[1]
Agency executive

The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) is a municipal authority providing Public housing services in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1]

It is the fourth-largest housing authority in the United States and is the largest landlord in Pennsylvania.[2] PHA houses over 76,000 people in the city of Philadelphia.


During the Great Depression, the housing in Philadelphia for low income people, especially African Americans, was in very poor shape, and in many cases unsafe to live in.[3] This crisis finally came to a head in December 1936 when two slum houses collapsed near 15th and Lombard, killing 6 people and injuring 20. While visiting the site of the collapse, Mayor Wilson called on governor George Howard Earle III to allow the establishment of a Housing Authority to build low cost houses in Philadelphia to replace the estimated 2000 unsafe dwellings at the time.[4] The Housing Authorities Law of Pennsylvania was passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in May 1937, which permitted the creation of new agencies of the state to improve housing in any cities that requested them, and the Philadelphia Housing Authority was established on August 26, 1937.[5]

The mayor selected the five people to act as the first board of PHA: William Harry Barnes, James McDevitt, John McShain, Roland Randall, and Judge Frank Smith as chairman.[6] PHA sought its initial funding from the Federal government, and during a visit to Philadelphia, the administrator of the United States Housing Authority, Nathan Straus Jr., commented that the housing in Philadelphia was the worst in the nation.[7] By July 1938, the authority had secured the Federal funding of $16.8 million for its first three projects at Glenwood and Ridge, 30th and Tasker, and 9th and Fairmount, with the goal of rent no more than $4.50 per month.[8] Construction of the first project officially began on May 15, 1939 at 25th and Glenwood, with the announcement that it would be named in honor of James Weldon Johnson, an African American writer and civil rights activist.[9]

Board of Commissioner[edit]

It is governed by a Board of Commissioners.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "What is The Philadelphia Housing Authority?". The Philadelphia Housing Authority. 2007.
  2. ^ "PHA Fast Facts". The Philadelphia Housing Authority. 2007.
  3. ^ "So, They Were Shocked". Philadelphia Tribune. December 9, 1937. p. 4. Retrieved July 17, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  4. ^ "6 Killed, 20 Hurt As 2 Houses Fall; Slum Probe Begins". Philadelphia Inquirer. December 21, 1936. p. 8. Retrieved July 17, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  5. ^ "Philadelphia Housing Authority Act 130 Report" (PDF). Philadelphia Housing Authority. 2013. p. 10. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  6. ^ "Discuss Slum Clearance". Philadelphia Tribune. September 30, 1937. p. 4. Retrieved July 17, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  7. ^ "Phila. Slums Held Worst in Nation". Philadelphia Inquirer. April 2, 1938. p. 3. Retrieved July 17, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  8. ^ "$4.50-a-Room Top Is Housing Goal". Philadelphia Inquirer. July 26, 1938. p. 2. Retrieved July 17, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  9. ^ "Work Begun on Housing Project". Philadelphia Inquirer. May 16, 1939. p. 19. Retrieved July 17, 2020 – via ProQuest.