National Capital Housing Authority

1737 L. STreet NW.
REpublic 3201

Chairman David Lynn
Vice Chairman John Russell Young
Member John Nolen, Jr.
Executive Officer and Secretary John Ihlder
Administrative Officer James Ring

Creation and Authority.--The National Capital Housing Authority was established as The Alley Dwelling Authority in accordance with an act of Congress approved June 12, 1934 (48 Stat. 930). Amendments to this act were approved on June 25, 1938 (52 Stat. 1186). Members of the Authority were designated, and their duties generally outlined, in Executive Order 6868 of October 9, 1934, which was amended by Executive Order 7784-A of January 5, 1938, and by Executive Order 8033, dated January 11, 1939. The Authority consists of the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia, the Architect of the Capitol, and the Director of Planning of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Executive Order 9344, of May 21, 19843, changed the name of The Alley Dwelling Authority to National Capital Housing Authority.

Purpose.--Originally the activities of the Authority were confined to squares that contain inhabited alleys-alleys on which there are dwellings whose access is from the alley. At the time the Authority began its operations there were approximately 200 such squares. Under the act the Authority could redevelop an alley square for any purpose that served the interest of the city. As many of these squares were not adapted to low-rent housing, the Authority sought amendments


which would enable it to build on other sites dwellings for low-income families equal in number to those displaced by its slum reclamation. In the meantime, the United States Housing Act of 1937 was passed. At the next session of Congress, the Authority secured the desired amendments to its act, and at the same time was authorized to borrow from the United States Housing Authority on the same terms as local housing authorities in other cities.

Activities.--Until the beginning of the defense era, the work of the Authority was to reclaim slum areas and to provide and manage dwellings for low-income people. This work was then temporarily suspended and attention concentrated on provision of additional dwellings for defense workers and, later, for war workers. But expansion of military facilities, such as the Navy Yard and a military highway, which caused displacement of resident low-income families, necessitated provision being made for them. In its defense and war housing projects, the Authority has acted as agent for other instrumentalities of the Federal Government. Its present program includes more than 7,000 dwellings.


John Ihlder
Executive Officer


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Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation