The Need to Address Substandard Housing in Anniston
In 1939, Mayor W. S. Coleman appointed a group of local citizens to serve on an ad hoc committee to review the matter of substandard housing in Anniston. To address the overdue need for better housing, especially for low-income persons, the committee submitted a two-pronged recommendation to the City Council requesting:
- Recommendation One
Passage of a substandard housing ordinance which would enable the City to more effectively address the problem of poor housing, consistent with the Housing Act of 1937
- Recommendation Two
The adoption of an ordinance setting into effect a public housing authority commensurate with state enabling legislation
Acting on these recommendations, the Anniston City Council adopted a resolution to establish a local housing authority. Shortly thereafter, the new agency was officially chartered and its first Board of Commissioners was appointed. By resolution on February 24, 1938, Mayor Coleman appointed Chairman J. Ralph Hamilton, Commissioners J. R. Morgan, W.P. Acker, Howard F. Trammell, and L.T. Smith.
The newly formed organization, officially known as the Housing Authority of the City of Anniston, submitted its first application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to construct 166 housing units. From this request, approval was granted to construct 164 units and later 101 units. The first two developments representing this new growth of housing in Anniston were Glen Addie Homes and Cooper Homes. In 1985, the last of Anniston’s Public Housing units were constructed. The Anniston Housing Authority now operates a total of 8 housing communities with Mr. Willie “Sonny” McMahand serving as the housing authority’s 5th Executive Director in its 85-year history.
Since 1939, the Anniston Housing Authority has endeavored to increase its housing stock in order to better help those requiring housing assistance. The Housing Authority, through its various programs, which include Conventional Public Housing and Leased Housing (Section 8), is providing housing assistance to approximately 1,000 households, with a total of nearly 3,000 persons. Additionally, the housing authority began a non-profit Housing Development Corporation (HDC) in 2002. HDC manages 24 section 8 new construction multi-family units and 6 other affordable housing units.