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In 1938, the Waco City Council, responding to the need for safe, sanitary, and decent housing for low-income families, elderly, and disabled persons in the community, acted to form the Housing Authority of the City of Waco. Today, the Authority continues to work to address that same need.
As programs and methods have changed, the Authority has changed, moving forward with the times, now serving the housing needs of thousands of Wacoans with 902 units of public housing and 2130 eligible families and individuals participating in the rental assistance program administered by the Authority.
But today, as in 1938, the need for available, adequate, and reasonably priced housing still exists. Hundreds of Wacoans, eligible for, needful of, and deserving public housing or rental assistance, fill the Authority's long waiting list. Today, Waco and Wacoans are struggling to overcome the economic hard times which are more localized and regionalized, but just as tough as those throughout the Authority's History.
While Wacoans face hard times, lower earnings, and growing unemployment or under-employment among wage earners on the income ladder's lowest rungs, tight federal budgets have made few new dollars available for public and assisted housing programs. The Authority has not been able to expand its services to meet all the needs of Wacoans.
However, in the face of increasing need and flat or diminishing funding, the Authority has not stood still. Since 1980, the Authority has developed and implemented a long-range modernization program to preserve and improve every public housing unit. Almost $15,000,000 in federal funding has been obtained to keep the 902 units habitable, available, and appealing. There has been a fifty percent increase in the number of families assisted in the Section 8 Rental Assistance Program. Full use has been made of the "Voucher" rental assistance program, which offers residents more flexibility in the choice of housing, and family rent contributions. Many residents participate in our family self-sufficiency program. In cooperation with the City of Waco's rental rehabilitation programs, older existing units have been upgraded to meet habitability requirements and appeal to potential renters. Today the Authority is keeping alive the promise of 1938 in maintaining and improving public housing, while constantly striving to improve and expand rental opportunities.
The Authority has continued to proceed into the future aggressively and competently. Its management and staff understand the mission for which it was created. Although program names and rules change, the goal is the same...to provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing.