Since 1935 the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) has been responsible for planning, building, and managing housing for low-income families and the elderly in Boston, Massachusetts, with financial assistance from state and federal agencies. Until 1980, when BHA was placed in receivership, overall policy- and decision-making power was vested in its board of commissioners. Board of commissioners administrative files were created by the board in carrying out its responsibilities.
Files contain correspondence, memorandums, reports, agenda items submitted for consideration at board meetings, minutes of meetings, budgets, and newsclippings, among others. Included are correspondence with city, state, and federal housing officials and tenant organizations; communications with BHA lawyers prior to and during the consent decree of 1977; management reports; budgets for modernization programs; and administrative files relating to filling top management posts in BHA and travel to national conferences.
The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) was established by order of the Boston City Council on October 1, 1935, pursuant to St. 1935, c. 449, s. 5 which empowered cities and towns of Massachusetts to establish housing authorities. Such a body is responsible for providing decent, safe and sanitary housing for families unable to afford housing without public subsidies and for clearing substandard, decadent or blighted open areas under the provisions of MGLA c. 121B. To carry out these responsibilities BHA develops and manages housing projects and leases housing when necessary. It also performed the functions of an urban redevelopment authority until such a body was established separately pursuant to St. 1957, c. 150. The management and governance of the BHA has deviated from that of other housing authorities since 1975, when BHA was sued in Boston City Housing Court by a group of BHA tenants, represented by Greater Boston Legal Serives, over poor conditions in housing projects under the authority's control. As a reult of the ruling in favor of the tenants, a court-appointed master prepared a report listing recommendations that provided the basis for a consent decree signed in 1977 by BHA, Greater Boston Legal Services and the Boston Public Housing Tenants Policy Council. The decree detailed a series of improvements that BHA was to make over the course of three years. The master, responsible for monitoring BHA's compliance with the consent decree, gave approval for all major decisions made by the BHA board and administrator. In 1979, the judge ruled that BHA had failed saisfactorily to fulfill the terms of the consent decree and BHA was placed in receivership, with its board of commissioners and administrator replaced by a court-appointed receiver. Since 1990, when the receivership ended, BHA has been directed by an administrator whose activities are reviewed by a nine member monitoring committee appointed by the mayor of Boston.
Source: Massachusetts State Archives catalog record
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Boston Housing Authority records were transferred to the City Archives from the Massachusetts State Archives on January 26, 2010.