CHA History and Present

The Columbia Housing Authority (CHA) was formally established in 1956 by City Ordinance.  The establishment of a local housing authority allowed for the award of federal urban renewal grant funding to provide safe and clean dwellings at rents which low-income persons could afford. CHA has served thousands of Columbia and Boone County’s most vulnerable citizens with housing and supportive services for over 65 years.

CHA has steadily increased its annual budget, staffing capacity, assets, housing portfolio, voucher programs and supportive services over its 67 years of operations.  The organization has experienced many phases of growing its facilities and programs, as well as various phases of reinvestment in its facilities, operations, and community partnerships.  CHA has continued to expand and renew partnerships with the City of Columbia, the County of Boone, the business community, local nonprofit partners, and the community at large.

The Columbia Housing Authority is an enduring organization that has continued to grow its programs, modernize its operations, and renew its commitments throughout its history of service to Columbia and Boone County.  CHA currently serves over 2,000 households and nearly 4,000 individuals with affordable housing and a variety of supportive services and programming.


Noteworthy Milestones in CHA’s History:

1950:  The Missouri Housing Authorities Law was passed in 1950 as Chapter 99 of the Missouri Revised Statutes allowing cities to establish independent public corporations.  Missouri law defines a housing authority as a “municipal corporation.”


April 1956:  Established by City Ordinance in April of 1956, the Authority’s primary purpose was to address what the City Council described as a shortage of safe and sanitary dwelling accommodations of affordable rental housing.  CHA was the 7th housing authority established in the State of Missouri.


November 1956:  The first CHA Board of Commissioners, led by the Chairman B.D. Smith Jr., passed a resolution authorizing the preparation of an application to the Public Housing Administration for the construction of 250 dwelling units of low rent housing.  Dowell Naylor Jr. of Paris, Texas began his tenure as the first Executive Director of the Columbia Housing Authority.


August 1956:  68 Units of CHA’s initial public housing were completed at Stuart Parker.  During the next 6 years, 226 additional family units were developed in central city locations.


February 1962:  96 Additional CHA units were completed at John Williams Boone Apartments west of Douglass High School on Providence Road.  The Boone Community Center was later completed in January 1964.


June 1962:  70 Units bordering Park Avenue were completed at Jesse Wrench Apartments.


November 1965:  44 CHA units were completed on a three-acre site bounded by First, Second, Pendleton and Allen streets.


December 1966:  CHA’s first high rise, Oak Towers, an eight-story elderly facility, was completed in December of 1966.


1968:  Marvin Kinney was appointed to the CHA Board of Commissioners and is recognized as the first African American appointed to the CHA Board of Commissioners and is reported to be one of the first Resident Commissioners in the United States.


November 1973:  100 Units at Bear Creek were completed on Elleta Blvd off Missouri Highway 763.


May 1973:  200 Units were completed at CHA’s second high rise development, Paquin Tower, serving elderly and disabled residents.  A partnership with the City of Columbia, Parks and Recreation Department helped also include Paquin Park improvements serving as outdoor space for Paquin residents.


September 1973:  Groundbreaking for CHA’s Day Care Center on Park Avenue east of Douglass High School, which served as a partnership with Boone County’s local Head Start provider.  Construction of the property was on Columbia Public Schools land with $269,000 in funds from CHA’s modernization grants and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.


March 1976:  On March 16, 1976, the CHA Board of Commissioners adopted Resolution 590 authorizing CHA to enter an Annual Contributions Contract for the Section 8 Program.  CHA’s first Section 8 participant report was provided to Commission in July of 1976 and reported 5 successful lease ups through the Section 8 Program.


April 1980:  By end of fiscal year 1979, CHA had grown to 26 full-time staff and close to $15 million in assets, while serving 1,128 households through its housing sites and Section 8 program.


September 1984:  The Columbia Housing Authority Advisory Board was formed in Spring of 1984 and met in September for the first time as result of the Mayor’s Task Force on Low Income Housing.  One significant policy change and recommendation from the Advisory Board included formulation of CHA policy based upon new HUD policy allowing for residents of Oak and Paquin Towers to own pets.  The result was a 16-point pet policy that was adopted by the Commission on June 6, 1985.


1989-1991:  CHA facilitated additional partnership with the City of Columbia and HUD to provide additional security services at CHA.  CHA hired 3 security officers during this time to address growing concerns of violence and drug activity.  CHA worked in partnership with the Columbia Police Department (CPD) to establish one-way streets and other space planning efforts to reduce criminal activity.  CHA experienced significant improvements in reducing crime and providing a safe environment through the late 1990s to current through working in close partnership with CHA security, CHA residents, property management, CPD, social service providers and the community at large.  These efforts created the foundation to dramatically reduce crime and create a culture of safe housing that still exists at CHA in present time.


1990:  Marvin Kinney was again appointed to the CHA Board of Commissioners to serve as a community representative and served a 1-year unexpired term.  Mr. Kinney was later elected as Chair in 1992.


January 1993:  CHA entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with HUD due to operational performance concerns and being identified as “troubled.”  CHA underwent a significant level of improvements to its operations over the next several years.


September 1993:  CHA finalized significant operational improvements through software upgrades and automation of inventory controls, accounting, work orders.


December 1995:  By end of fiscal year 1995 CHA made significant progress in improving its operations.  CHA completed $6 million in renovations through HUD’s Comprehensive Improvement Assistance Program (CIAP) and continued expending funds under a $2 million Comprehensive Grant Program (CGP).  The modernization efforts funded the upgrade of living units, community centers, and grounds.  Improvements included new appliances, painting, flooring, electrical upgrades, sidewalk improvements, furnaces, and water heaters.  By end of FY 1995, CHA’s “troubled” status was removed due to the significant improvement in operations and finances.


April of 2000:  CHA was awarded $100,000 in CDBG funding to install fire suppression systems at Paquin and Oak Towers.


July 2000:  A new CHA Administration Building was completed in July of 2000 with keynote address provided by U.S. Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond.  The facility cost $1,022,377 and was paid from federal grants set aside over a three-year period.  CHA also received a commendation from HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo as a Successful Performer under HUD’s new national performance assessment program.


2000:  Received HUD Best Practices Award in 2000 for operation of the Section 8 Shelter Plus Care Program.


April 2001:  CHA was approached and selected by Boone County to administer its Section 8 Program beginning in April 2001, given CHA’s capacity and track record of success.  This expanded CHA’s service territory beyond the city limits of the City of Columbia to include all of Boone County.


October 2001:  CHA approved a homeownership program for up to 15 Section 8 participants.


April 2003:  CHA Low-Income Services (CHALIS) was established as a subsidiary non-profit entity to leverage CHA’s ability to obtain additional grants and donations to further CHA’s housing and supportive services.  501c3 Designation was later received in July of 2003.  The Statement of Revenues for CHALIS in September of 2004 identified $9,895 in total grants and contributions for the initial fiscal year.  CHALIS’ annual budget now exceeds $1 million direct supportive services in 2023 including Afterschool and Summer School Programming, Independent Living Programming, Case Management, Employment and Food Pantry Services.


2004:  CHALIS was awarded Drug Free Communities Grant, significantly growing the work of CHALIS.


May 2005:  CHA completed its first Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) Grant application.  The FSS Program provides CHA families the opportunity to create a 5-year plan to increase their income, education, employment, credit, and household savings.  The FSS Program currently has 125 households enrolled in the program with $244,000 currently in CHA FSS Resident household savings accounts.


2006:  McBaine Townhomes was completed, which included 6 fully accessible units of additional affordable housing held under CHALIS.


2008:  Marvin Kinney was named “Commissioner of the Year” by the Missouri Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials which represents 130 public housing authorities in Missouri.


2010:  Columbia School Board Superintendent, Peter Steipleman, was appointed to the CHA Board of Commissioners, which helped foster continued growth in services and supports for CHA youth and families.


2013:  Significant planning efforts came underway by CHA’s CEO Phil Steinhaus and the CHA Board of Commissioners that resulted in over $75 million in investments in renovations and expansion of CHA’s housing portfolio.  CHA conducted these efforts as the first public housing authority in the State of Missouri to participate in HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD), allowing public housing authorities to access low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) financing and empowering public housing authorities to be more financially sustainable and independent from the public housing capital fund.


March 2016:  CHA’s Patriot Place development within the Veterans Campus was completed consisting of 25 units for homeless Veterans through partnership with CHA and the VA.  This was CHA’s largest housing portfolio expansion since 1973.  Major renovations and RAD Program conversion was completed on 284 units at Stuart Parker and Paquin Tower in 2017.  These were the first CHA public housing units converted from public housing to LIHTC.  Major renovations and RAD conversion were also later completed at Bear Creek family site on Elleta Blvd in 2017.  Oak Towers had major renovations and RAD conversion completed on its 147 units for elderly populations in 2018.  Major renovations and RAD conversion were completed on 90 units of family housing at Bryant Walkway I and II in 2019


July 2022:  CHA was awarded local American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) funds and LIHTC funding for its Kinney Point project consisting of a 24-unit expansion of CHA’s housing portfolio.


December 2022:  CHA was awarded local ARPA funds and LIHTC funding for the demolition of 70 units and reconstruction of 79 units at Park Avenue.

If you have any questions