Federal Housing Initiative
The beginnings of today's federal housing programs can be traced back to the passage of the Wagner-Steagle Housing Act of 1937 by the United States Congress. The Act provided for the establishment of the United States Housing Administration, an agency that would be responsible for providing funding for low-income housing initiatives to the individual States. The Act provided that the initiative for providing the ownership and operation of the housing would be the responsibility of a local entity known as a public housing authority, an agency appointed by local elected officials.
In 1939, the Idaho Legislature and Governor C.A. Bottolfsen enacted the first piece of affordable housing law in the State of Idaho, House Bill 201, the Housing and Cooperation Act. In 1967, the law was amended by the Legislature and Governor Don Samuelson and established the ability for localities to create local housing agencies known as Housing Authorities. The law, known as the Housing Authorities and Cooperation Law, was enacted as Title 50, Chapter 15 of the Idaho State Code.
50-1905 “In any city of the state of Idaho, there may be created an independent public body corporate and politic to be known as a housing authority, which shall not be an agency of the city; provided, however, that such authority shall not transact any business or exercise its powers hereunder until or unless the governing body of the city, by proper resolution, shall declare, at any time hereafter, that there is need for an authority to function in such city. The determination, as to whether or not there is such need for an authority to function (a) may be made by the governing body on its own motion or (b) shall be made by the governing body upon the filing of a petition signed by twenty-five (25) residents of the city, asserting that there is need for an authority to function in such city and requesting that the governing body so declare. The governing body shall adopt a resolution declaring that there is need for a housing authority in the city if it shall find (a) that insanitary or unsafe inhabited dwelling accommodations exist in such city or (b) that there is a shortage of safe or sanitary dwelling accommodations in such city available to persons of low income or rentals they can afford. In determining whether dwelling accommodations are unsafe or insanitary, said governing body may take into consideration the degree of overcrowding, the percentage of land coverage, the light, air, space and access available to the inhabitants of such dwelling accommodations, the size and arrangement of the rooms, the sanitary facilities and the extent to which conditions exist in such building which endanger life or property by fire or other causes. Nothing in this act shall prevent governing bodies from jointly creating by resolution an independent public body corporate and politic to carry out and effectuate the purposes and provisions of this act and to serve the best interests of their respective citizenry. In any suit, action or proceeding, involving the validity or enforcement of or relating to any contract of the authority, the authority shall be conclusively deemed to have become established and authorized to transact business and exercise its powers hereunder upon proof of the adoption of resolution by the governing body declaring the need for the authority. Such resolution or resolutions shall be deemed sufficient if it declares that there is such need for an authority and finds in substantially the foregoing terms, no further detail being necessary, that either or both of the above enumerated conditions exist in the city. A copy of such resolution, duly certified by the clerk, shall be admissible in evidence in any suit, action or proceeding.”
Establishment of the Boise City Housing Authority
In 1967, 51 residents of the city of Boise petitioned the Mayor and City Council members to establish the formation of a Housing Authority in order to “plan, construct and reconstruct suitable low cost housing for the elderly persons of this City.”
On May 22nd, 1967, Boise City Council Members Ralph Frazer, Anna Hettinger, H.F. Koch, William Onweiler, Sherman Perry, and Edward Rice unanimously passed Resolution #1180 declaring the need for a Housing Authority to operate within the city of Boise and authorizing the creation of an independent public body, corporate and politic, to be known as the Boise City Housing Authority. The resolution directed Mayor Jay S. Amyx to appoint five (5) persons as Commissioners of the newly established entity.
Upon the resolution’s directive, Mayor Amyx appointed C.D. Cotner, Wyland Lind, Laura Larson, Arden Harris, and George Schoedinger to serve as the initial Board of Commissioners for the Boise City Housing Authority. Mayor Amyx swore in the newly appointed commissioners on October 16, 1967, and appointed George Schoedinger as the Acting Chairman of the Boise City Housing Authority.
The first meeting of the Boise City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners occurred on November 9th, 1967. The Commissioners discussed the procedures needed to establish a formal organization under Idaho State Law, and delegated responsibilities among the members for creating the organization’s By-laws and preparing a budget. On November 20th, 1967, the Board of Commissioners met at the Bishop Rea Center where they held officer elections and adopted the agency By-Laws. Commissioner Arden Harris was elected as the Vice-Chairman of the Board, and Laura Larson was elected as the Secretary. The Commissioners adopted an initial estimated operating budget for the agency totaling $1,620.
On July 15th, 1968 the City Council Members passed Resolution #1217 approving a Cooperative Agreement between the City of Boise and the Housing Authority. The resolution authorized Mayor Amyx and City Clerk, Joseph Foster, the ability to execute the Cooperative Agreement with the Boise City Housing Authority enabling the agency to secure a Program Reservation of “400 units of low-rent housing to serve the needs of the city.” Mayor Amyx and Assistant City Clerk, Elizabeth Adelmann, executed the Agreement on July 16th, 1968.
On July 29th, 1968 the Boise City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners passed Resolution #6 approving the form of the Cooperative Agreement between the City of Boise and the Housing Authority, and authorizing the approval for the Board Chairman or Vice-Chairman and Secretary to execute the agreement with the City of Boise. Arden Harris, Vice-Chairman of the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, and Laura Larsen, Secretary, executed the Agreement on August 5, 1968.
The documents were forwarded to the San Francisco Department of Housing and Urban Development for approval, and in October 1968 officials from the agency declared that that they had approved the ability for the Boise City Housing Authority to construct 160 units of low-cost housing to meet the housing demands of the city of Boise. The program reservation provided $64,000 in funds for implementation of the housing project.
On December 24, 1968, the Boise City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners approved the creation of an Executive Director position to manage the day-to-day functions of the Housing Authority. On March 6, 1969, the Board of Commissioners approved the hiring of Jamie Thomson as the Boise City Housing Authority’s Executive Director.
Expansion into ADA County
In June 1975, the Department of Housing and Urban Development contacted the Boise City Housing Authority about the possibility of receiving additional funding to administer housing programs covering the entirety of Ada County. Per the legal conditions provided in Title 50 Chapter 15 of the Idaho State Code, it was determined that such an operation would exceed the jurisdictional boundaries allowed to the Boise City Housing Authority. As a result, the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners comprised of Norton Graham, Fermin Albecoa, Jewel Vincent, Charles Warren, and Juliette Mustard began talks began with the Ada County Commissioners of the possibility of creating a separate Housing Authority to provide low-income housing initiatives outside the capital city.
On December 2nd 1975, the Ada County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution declaring the need for Housing Authority to operate within the jurisdiction of Ada County. On March 10, 1976, Vernon Emery, Chairman of the Ada County Commissioners, executed a Cooperative Agreement approving the Boise City Housing Authority “to provide management services for the administration of a low-income public housing program within the boundaries of Ada County.”
On March 10, 1976 the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners met for the purpose of establishing the Ada County Housing Authority. During the meeting, the Board adopted the agency By-Laws, elected officers, and organized the establishment of the Ada County Housing Authority. Juliette Mustard was elected as the Chairman for the Ada County Housing Authority.
Shoreline Plaza Inc.
In 1977, the Boise City and Ada County Housing Authority Board of Commissioners envisioned plans for the construction of a new high-rise apartment complex in order to expand the affordable housing stock available to the low-income elderly residents of Boise.
On May 16th, 1977, the Boise City and Ada County Board of Commissioners comprised of Norton Graham, Juliette Mustard, Fermin Aldecoa, Jewel Vincent, and Charles Warren held a special meeting of the Board for the purpose of establishing a non-profit corporation known as Shoreline Plaza Inc. The Board members approved resolution #97, citing a the need for “at least 80 additional units of housing” and establishing the foundation of the corporation in order to “assist in making feasibility the financing and production of these 80 units of housing.”