HAKC History


The Housing Authority of Kansas City, Missouri (HAKC) was created on July 14, 1941 by City ordinance and mayoral appointment of a five-member Board of Commissioners, in accordance with Missouri enabling legislation. Plans and financial arrangements with the federal government for development of low rent public housing complexes were immediately initiated.

World War II caused suspension of Housing Authority operations from 1942 until 1946. In 1946, the HAKC was reactivated to provide housing for returning veterans. Under contracts with the federal government to operate the Veterans Temporary Housing Program, HAKC acted as rental agent for newly constructed emergency housing projects for a period of nearly nine years. The program was later expanded to include low rent units for families.

By 1965, the HAKC rental inventory was comprised of Riverview Gardens (constructed in 1952), Theron B. Watkins Homes (1954), Guinotte Manor (1954), Chouteau Courts (1959), Pennway Plaza (1960), Wayne Minor Court (1962) and West Bluff(1964), totaling some 2200 units.

As federal policies shifted to new concepts of leasing, acquisition and turnkey development programs, HAKC also reoriented its activities. In 1967 and 1968, 200 units were leased from private owners for sublease to Authority tenants under a rent-supplement program. From 1968 to 1970, 50 foreclosed single family homes were purchased from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Veterans Administration (VA) by the HAKC for lease to public housing tenants.

Proposals from developers for turnkey housing were requested and Brush Creek Towers, a high-rise for the elderly, and Dunbar Gardens were completed under this program in 1972. Heritage House, a former downtown Kansas City hotel, was rehabilitated for the elderly in 1973.

The rehabilitation and modernization of existing structures became a priority for the HAKC in the mid-1970’s. HAKC obtained nearly eight million dollars for modernization of HAKC housing stock between 1975 and 1980. In 1978 and 1979, another 50 single-family housed were acquired and rehabilitated for rental by low income families. Lounneer Pemberton Heights, a high-rise for elderly residents, was completed in 1981. Mr. Pemberton, for whom the development was named, served as an HAKC commissioner for 14 years.

For the next decade, a succession of executive directors oversaw the Authority. Tenants became dissatisfied with the conditions of what were formerly well-maintained units and sued in 1989 in federal court to hasten the rehabilitation of one of the older developments, Theron B. Watkins. In 1993, the federal court placed the Authority in receivership. In 1994, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared the HAKC a “troubled agency.” Also, in 1994, the court named Jeffrey K. Lines, president of TAG Associates of Kansas City, Inc., as Receiver for the HAKC. From that date to May 2014, in one of the more ambitious rehabilitation undertakings in public housing history, more than $175 million has been spent to rehabilitate the entire housing stock of the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Missouri.

A systematic process began to transfer the control of the Housing Authority back to a Board of Commissioners. The Housing Authority is Now governed by a seven member board of commissioners.