Martin Housing Authority was Martin Housing Authority was officially organized by the City of Martin in a special meeting on May 22, 1962. In attendance was Mayor Jack Vincent along with members of the city board of aldermen: Willard Rooks, C. E. Weldon, L.E. Puckett, Fred Wade; and City Recorder Max Burchard and City Attorney Harold T. Brundige. Also, in attendance were 12 residents who met with them to discuss the proposal.
A five-member board of commissioners was appointed by the mayor and the four aldermen, each naming one member.
Charter members of the board of commissioners were:
- Thomas E. "Tommy" Fuller (5-year term)
- Harry E. Brooks (4-year term)
- H. F. "Woodie" Whaley (3-year term)
- J. W. "Bill" Beard (2-year term)
- Alton Penick (1-year term)
Mr. Fuller was appointed chairman of the commissioners. The members of the commission drew for the terms of office varying in length. As each member's term was to expire, the mayor would appoint (and still does) a new member. Each new appointment was/is to be 5 years before being eligible for reappointment.
On May 26, 1962, Martin Housing Authority was officially incorporated by the State of Tennessee. It is a 501(c)1 local government entity and is not subject to government-imposed sales taxes.
It took two years to get approval from federal sources to build the first 60-unit property in Martin. It was completed in June 1967. Over the 20-year period from its beginning, a total of 299 apartments were built. As smaller communities within the county recognized a need for affordable housing, they asked that Martin Housing Authority take the lead and bring public housing resources to their communities.
List of Properties:
- East Heights and Lakeview Circles (Martin) 60 units completed in 1967
- Puckett Plaza (Martin) 60 units completed in 1972
- Port Ease Homes (Dresden) 40 units completed in 1972
- Westgate Terrace (Sharon) 14 units completed in 1973
- Twin Oaks (Greenfield) 28 units completed in 1981
- West Union Heights (Gleason) 29 units completed in 1981
- Puckett Plaza Annex (Martin) 48 units completed in 1982
- Northgate Terrace (Sharon) 20 units completed in 1982
Each property developed by MHA was funded by grants received through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or the federal agency at the time that was charged with developing such housing.
In late 1998, MHA began to look at expanding its influence on its residents and the overall community as they sought additional funding sources to pay for supportive services to its own and other low-income families. The intent was and still is to equip families with opportunities to regain self-sufficiency ad achieve upward mobility
The first effort resulted in the establishment of an after-school program that would be provided for low-income families at no cost to them. A stand-alone 5-bedroom house owned by MHA was converted into a community building where students in K-8th grade could come in after school and receive tutoring services, homework assistance and recreation.
Over a 14-year period, the program grew into two separate programs spanning two different buildings and including high school students.
The Learning Enrichment Center caters to K - 5th graders and has a capacity to serve 40 children. The after-school day is much more structured and meets the TN Department of Education guidelines for an after-school care facility. A healthy snack is served, and specific program goals drive students to excel in reading and math skills. The program is supplemented by arts, culture, and recreational programs supplemented by hundreds of hours of volunteer hours provided by UT Martin students and local community members.
The Crossroads Teen Center serves up to 50 middle and high school students providing homework assistance, tutoring services, recreation opportunities, leadership training, along with arts, culture, and community awareness programs. Again, UT Martin serves as a tremendous resource for providing mentors, volunteers, and tutors for individual student development.
In 2007, MHA was asked to take over the management of three 20-unit apartment complexes that specifically serve adults with mental illness diagnoses. The properties are in Martin, Union City and Dyersburg. In two years, the properties went from a "troubled" designation status to a standard performer.
MHA has also been employed by other housing authorities in the Northwest TN area to provide consulting services.
In August of 2011 MHA purchased a 24-unit apartment complex in Martin that had sustained a long-time reputation for troubled tenants, drug activity and other criminal activity. MHA was able to secure a grant and loan award that will infuse the property with approximately $730,000 of improvements and convert it to affordable housing for the community.
MHA has grown from 10 staff members to an average of 32 staff members and. Martin Housing Authority continues to strive for excellence in the affordable housing industry while providing quality ancillary programs for the community.