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Our History

Our History

In 1937, the federal government recognized the need to give U.S. cities aid to clear slums and to replace them with decent, affordable housing. To provide this aid, Congress created the U.S. Housing Authority, giving it power to make loans to local housing authorities for the construction of affordable housing projects. On August 15, 1949, The Housing Authority of the City of Gainesville, Georgia (GHA) was created by the Gainesville City Council after being authorized by the Legislature of Georgia under the Housing Authorities Law of 1937.

Gainesville was the fifty-ninth housing authority developed in the State of Georgia. Its first development was Melrose which is located at 854 Davis Street and now houses 114 families next to Good News at Noon. The second development, Green Hunter Homes, was built in two phases. The first phase consisted of an eighty-housing development and the second phase developed another fifty apartments in the infill area next to the existing units on Atlanta Street. Next, several scattered sites were developed around town, including units next to Good News Clinic on Martin Luther King, Will and Pine, Banks, Summit and Johnson Street.  Later, more Scattered Site infill units were built around town in small parcels; these are Butler Apartments, Mill Street, Tower Heights and Collins Street. These homes were all built in the 1960s.

Changing directions

In the 1950s, the population using public housing gradually changed from transient, upwardly mobile residents seeking temporary housing during the postwar shortage to economically and educationally disadvantaged citizens with few opportunities to climb the socio-economic ladder. Public housing was racially integrated by federal law in the 1960s and the nation began to view it as in important resource for the poorest of the poor.

In 1969, 1970 and 1971, Congress enacted the Brooke Amendments, which limited rents charged to public housing residents to 25 percent of a family’s adjusted income. GHA was required to admit tenants who would pay no rent at all and to lower the rent for many existing tenants. The law’s impact was substantial. Public housing in Gainesville quickly deteriorated. Many tenants were paying little or no rent while operating costs escalated. By the late 1970s, this created a precarious financial situation.

The late 1960s and early 1970s were a period of tenant dissatisfaction and activism on a local and national level.  Lawsuits were filed by tenant groups regarding grievance procedures. This ultimately resulted in many policy changes throughout the country. A national push was made to bring active resident councils into existence in all developments.

Turnkey III

In 1970, GHA participated in the Turnkey III Homeownership Opportunities Program, a program in which low-income families would move into homes as renters and progress to homeownership through conventional or FHA-guaranteed loans. This program of 100 apartment units for mostly large families was a new concept and the first of this type undertaken by GHA. At this time, Harrison Square was developed at two sites; 75 units were constructed across from the old Butler Gym off Old Athens Highway and 25 units were constructed across from Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

Section 8 (Housing Choice Voucher program)

The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 made available to Georgia a completely different type of low-income housing program called Section 8. The intent of the new program was to subsidize the rent of low-income families to help them afford decent housing in the private market. HUD would make up the difference between what a low-income household could afford and the fair market rent for an adequate housing unit. Under this program, very few Housing Authorities in the State of Georgia were allowed to administer their own program as a result the State of Georgia created the Department of Community Affairs which is the primary Administrator for the Section 8 Program for the entire State of Georgia.


GHA continues to foster community partnerships. The Multipurpose Community Center is a perfect example of how several agencies can work together under one roof to serve the community. At the center, GHA has partnered with the Gainesville State College, Brenau University, Women’s Clubs and Scholastic Reading Programs. Clients can access reading and math programs, job search, resume writing, job skills building programs, acces e-mail and government information websites, including community safety and healthcare information and services in one convenient location.

GHA continues to meet its clients' needs in the most fair, effective and efficient ways possible. With GHA assistance, residents will continue becoming self sufficient, contributing citizens.

Today, Gainesville Housing Authority – like other Housing Authorities across the nation – is an Independent Corporation authorized by enabling Federal Legislation and created in accordance with the Housing Authorities Law of the State of Georgia. It operates under the supervision of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Evaluated annually through the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) – a method used by HUD for judging the successful operation of a housing authority, the Housing Authority scores a Standard Performing status for the Public Housing Programs.

Because of this score, the Housing Authority is more likely to be eligible for grants from Federal & State sources. Many of the award winning programs that enhance the lives of GHA residents are funded through those sources.

Gainesville Housing Authority Application
Who We Serve
Main Office:

750 Pearl Nix Pkwy.

Gainesville, GA 30501


Tel. 770.536.1294

Fax 770-536-5150

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