The United States Housing Act of 1937 laid the foundation for today’s public housing programs. The Act promised federal financial and technical assistance to states and localities that would embark on clearing slums and providing decent housing for low-income residents.
States in turn, were required to pass “enabling” legislation permitting city and county governments to create local housing authorities in accordance with provision for the state legislation.
In fact, in directing that federal monies be made available for developing housing and slum clearance, Congress stipulated, “the maximum amount of authority and responsibility shall be invested in local public housing agencies.” Local governments, in turn, passed ordinances creating local public housing authorities.
To receive federal assistance, local housing authorities were required under the 1937 Act to enter into a contract with the federal government.