The PHA has been an independent governmental unit since 1977. Its historical roots are in the Housing and Redevelopment Authority of the City of Saint Paul (HRA), a unit of the City of Saint Paul established by the Minnesota State Legislature in 1947. The HRA's initial goal was to remove slums and construct low income housing in Saint Paul.

The Housing Act of 1949 established a national policy and goal of "a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family". Under that goal, and with federal funding, the HRA began the construction of the first public housing in Saint Paul. Over the next 27 years, the HRA constructed four large family housing developments and constructed or purchased 16 hi-rise buildings for elderly and disabled people.

During the 1950's and 1960's, family public housing in Saint Paul took the form of townhouse style developments. All but a few units have direct, ground-level access, yards and nearby outdoor gathering space. Since the completion of the last townhouse development in 1966, the PHA bought over 400 scattered site units. These family housing units are located in all neighborhoods in the city and help residents integrate into the community. All sixteen public housing hi-rises in Saint Paul primarily house elderly people and people with disabilities. The PHA currently owns and manages 4,262 public housing units.

In the early 1970s, the HRA began administering a federal rent subsidy program for eligible low income households living in privately owned housing. The program evolved into the Section 8 Existing Housing Assistance Program. In Saint Paul, that program now serves more than 4,000 families.

The PHA was created by the Minnesota legislature in 1977 to assume administration of subsidized housing programs and ownership of the public housing properties in Saint Paul. The PHA is funded by federal housing subsidies, rents paid by residents, special purpose grants, and investment revenues. It receives no financial support from City or County taxes and makes a payment in lieu of taxes to defray the cost of city and county services.

Saint Paul Housing Project: A Plan for Slum Clearance and Low Cost Housing

This 1934-1935 study was recently discovered. The book contains findings on health, poverty and affordable housing development in the neighborhood that became Mt. Airy Homes. The book was scanned and donated to the St. Paul Public Library system.  Click here to see the book in its entirety.  Click here to view the book online at the Minnesota Digital Library’s “Minnesota Reflections” website.

Video History of St. Paul Public Housing Agency