If you’re an Annapolis resident, you’ve probably heard of Housing Authority of Annapolis but don’t really understand its function. HACA, as it is more commonly known, was created from a hybrid of federal and city laws and regulations to provide public housing.
HACA owns and manages 790 public housing units in six projects in Annapolis---Bloomsbury Square, Harbour House, Morris Blum Senior Apartments, Newtowne Twenty, Eastport Terrace and Robinwood---that serve low and moderate-income residents. Its seven person Board of Directors is responsible for the operations of HACA and the hiring of the Executive Director.
HACA is a separate legal entity but with strong ties to the City government. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the chief regulatory and governing entity for HACA not the City. Directors are nominated by the Mayor and approved by the City Council and the annual plan and policies submitted to HUD must have City approval. While the City occasionally funds certain programs and initiatives of HACA, the major source of funding comes by formula from the HUD. HACA must submit annual audits to the City and reports quarterly to the City Council.
Recently, the City has required HACA to have all of its units inspected and licensed by the City. Federal funding to support the operations of HACA have been increasingly declining and HACA is facing severe fiscal stress. Crime on and around HACA properties has been a long-standing problem.
The housing units owned and managed by HACA are some of the oldest and most deteriorating in the City. Beginning a decade ago, HACA redeveloped four of its projects with 253 units through public private partnerships, These partnerships involve a private developer which secures funding from the State and Federal housing tax credits. After the project is redeveloped, the developer serves as the managing partner and the property managers with HACA as a minority partner.
These new communities are not public housing but continue using different programs to serve comparable low and moderate-income residents. In Annapolis, these redeveloped properties are Obery Court in the Clay Street area and Annapolis Gardens on Admiral Drive. One of the ongoing policy debates is whether these partnerships are the appropriate approach to solving public housing needs or if having HACA continue owning and operating public housing is preferred in the face of declining public funding.
Trudy McFall is an Annapolis resident with 50 years of experience in affordable housing. She was HACA’s chair from 2003-2008 and ran for mayor in 2009. In 2014 the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition honored her as the Housing Person of the Year.