On September 1, 1937, President Roosevelt signed the United States Housing Act of 1937. This created the United States Housing Authority (USHA) and provided $500 million for subsidies to be paid from the U.S. government to local public housing agencies (LHAs) to improve living conditions for low-income families.
The Austin City Council established the Austin Housing Authority on December 27, 1937. The housing authority made an application to the USHA for $500,000 to build 186 units of public housing at three sites. Austin’s housing agency became the first in the country to receive funding and to start construction on its USHA low-rent housing.
Constructed between 1938 and 1939, Chalmers Court in the East César Chávez neighborhood of East Austin is one of the first federal housing project completed under the 1937 Housing Act and was constructed specifically for white families. Chalmers Courts consisted of 86 units originally. The city built additional buildings to bring the current number of units to 158.
The other two sites included in the USHA funding were Rosewood Courts, originally built for African-American families, and Santa Rita Courts for Mexican-American families. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 legally ended segregation in housing. All three housing projects are now integrated and still in operation. They are managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA).
Rosewood Courts Historic District - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form http://www.thc.state.tx.us/public/upload/preserve/national_register/draft_nominations/Rosewood%20Courts%20HD%20SBR%20DRAFT.pdf
Project originally submitted by Larry Moore on June 4, 2014.
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