The year was 1938 and a housing crisis gripped our nation. As in many other cities, seventy-five percent of the housing occupied by low and moderate income Nashvillians was grossly substandard.
With the passage of the first United States Housing Act in 1937, the citizens of Nashville began to work to establish a municipal housing authority. Following a vote of approval by the City Council on October 31, 1938, the Nashville Housing Authority was formed and its first meeting was held November 9, 1938.
The Nashville Housing Authority began its work immediately. In May 1939, an application was submitted to the U.S. Housing Authority for the construction of two low rent housing projects. Approval of this application was received in July of that year and construction soon began on Boscobel Heights (later renamed in honor of James A. Cayce, first active Board Chairman who died during construction) and J.C. Napier Homes. In August 1939, the Nashville Housing Authority also took over the operation of Cheatham Place and Andrew Jackson homes from the U.S. Housing Authority.
From those earliest years and on through new construction and renovation that continue to today, the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency has served the citizens of Nashville, currently providing safe, decent and affordable housing to thousands of families.Along with the expansion of its housing programs, MDHA has assisted over the years in all phases of land assembly, design and development, and has seen the initiation and completion of several downtown development projects during these decades of Nashville's growth. Among the recent projects with which MDHA has been involved are LP Field, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville Public Library, and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.