About Twin Falls Housing Authority

Public housing was established to provide decent and safe, affordable rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities at rents they can afford.


Fun Facts


In 1942 the Maximum Annual Income for eligibility was $600 with the average rent rate at $9 a month for a family of 5 or less.


The first official meeting was held in a room above the Orpheum Theatre on Main Street, January 11, 1940. 


The first loan for the Housing Authority was a personal loan of $500 provided by Mayor Joe Koehler to pay for administrative needs until the Housing Authority received funding to begin development.


In, 1940, one city block housed 8 to 10 people in one room shacks with no indoor plumbing, known at 'Shanty Town'. Criteria for the development of low-income public housing included the demolition of substandard housing to be replaced with affordable public housing. This block was demolished and rebuilt with 14 duplexes consisting of one and two bedroom apartments known as Pioneer Square.   


Background on Twin Falls Housing Authority

While public housing is a federally created and funded program, administered at the federal level by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the properties are owned and managed at the local level by quasi-governmental public housing authorities (PHAs) under contract with the federal government. Given this unique federal-local relationship, the program is governed in part by federal rules and regulations and in part by policies set at the local level. In accordance with the US Housing Act of 1937 Public No. 412, (Seventy-Fifth Congress) and amended 1938 (Title VI, Public Resolution No. 122, Seventy-Fifth Congress). Under the terms of the act, public housing properties would be built and owned only by state-chartered and locally governed public housing authorities (PHAs). This gave states and localities the right to choose whether or not to participate in the program by deciding whether or not to create PHAs. The federal government would provide capital financing under long-term Annual Contributions Contracts (ACCs). Further, the law required that for each new unit of housing built, an unsafe or unsanitary unit had to be eliminated (a concept often referred to as “slum clearance”).

Anticipating the need for affordable housing in the Magic Valley, The Twin Falls Housing Authority was established in October of 1940 by local leaders in the community.   In accordance with Federal Law, the committee met with the Mayor of Twin Falls and identified there was a need for Public Housing.  The First meeting of the Housing Authority was held on January 11, 1940.  Resolution #4 TFHA and/or Resolution #164 for the City of Twin Falls, was made on the 30th of October 1940.  The Resolution outlines the Cooperative Agreement for the demolition, condemnation of a number of unsafe or unsanitary dwelling units within the City’s jurisdiction limits, at least equal in a number of the new dwelling units to be provided in the project undertaken by the Housing Authority. 

The original 5 board members were C. H. Thomas, H.H. Hedstrom, Eugene C. Scott, U.N. Terry, and Vernis Richards.  Advisors in the project included O.P. Duvall and F. W. Rose.   The Twin Falls Housing Authority was the first Public Housing Authority established in Idaho. Washington Courts was actually the first development built and has provided safe, sanitary, affordable housing for hundreds of families since 1942.  Pioneer Square was the second development, also in 1942.  Sunny View Courts 1963, Duvall Courts 1967, and Terry Courts 1971.  Washington Courts consists of 56 family units while Pioneer, Sunny View, Duvall, and Terry consist of 140 elderly units.  It should be noted that Public Housing was added to the Idaho Statutes in 1967 (Title 50, Municipal Corporations, Chapter 10, 50-1905). 

In August of 1997, the Housing Authority was approached by a developer to see if there would be interested in selling 20 apartments located on the west side of Elm St N. in the Washington Courts Development.    Since the Twin Falls Housing Authority was unable to develop and build new housing at that time, the possibility of a property exchange in which we could receive 20, new, modern, energy-efficient homes at a location that would be agreeable was considered.  

The Housing Authority took the proposal to our tenants in September of 1997 in accordance with HUD Regulations.  After receiving the approval of the tenants and the City of Twin Falls Mayor and City Council, along with Housing Authority management, and submitted an application to HUD in April of 1998.  Since this was the first time this type of transaction had actually been presented to HUD it took considerable time and an act of congress to get the final approval.   Then, of course, an appropriate exchange agreement had to be composed that was agreeable to the developer, Twin Falls Housing Authority, and HUD.  After a dedicated effort by our HUD Regional office in Portland, Oregon, specifically Elizabeth Santone and Deborah Mann, we received final approval from HUD to proceed with the exchange on November 3, 1999.  A committee was formed consisting of Housing Authority Staff, Board Members, and residents to approve the plans and specifications for the development.  HUD then reviewed the plans, gave final approval, and the construction process was started.  The ground was broken in May 2002 and the final exchange of deeds took place on April 4, 2003, for Elizabeth Courts.

Twin Falls Housing Authority provides public housing for low-income families.  We have a total of 196 units consisting of zero, one, two, three, and four-bedroom units.  Our complexes are located on six (6) separate sites throughout the City of Twin Falls.

Background on Public Housing

The Low-Income Public Housing Program is authorized under the United States Housing Act of 1937, as amended.  It authorizes the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide technical and financial assistance to public housing agencies (PHAs) in the provision of decent, safe and sanitary dwellings at affordable rents to low-income families.  The public housing program is administered at the local level by PHAs which are non-Federal public agencies authorized by State legislation and generally established by action of a town, city, county, regional area, or state.

The PHA functions in the capacity of the developer, owner, and manager of its lower-income public housing developments.  The PHA has the responsibility for planning, financing, constructing, and managing its properties subject to applicable laws and contractual relationships with HUD and the local governing body.  The landlord-resident relationship of the PHA is established by virtue of its ownership of the properties and the provisions of individual leasing agreements with its residents.  The PHA performs all of the functions of a private landlord, including leasing units, collecting rents, maintaining the properties, and all of the other responsibilities related thereto.

PHA responsibilities for public housing developments are embodied in the State enabling legislation and an Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) entered into between the PHA and HUD.  A PHA is required to operate each low-income project for the purpose of providing decent, safe and sanitary dwelling units within the financial reach of low-income families and to operate the project with efficiency, economy, serviceability, and stability.

HUD assists PHAs financially through the ACC by providing capital funds for developing new projects and by making annual contributions (debt service payments) according to the ACC.  In addition, the Department provides PHAs with annual operating subsidies to assist in maintaining the low-income character of the developments, providing adequate administrative and maintenance service, and ensuring financial solvency.  Operating subsidies help cover annual deficits arising as a result of rent limits and the costs of operations, including utilities that exceed scheduled rents.

SMOKE/TOBACCO FREE PROPERTIES:  Resident and members of the Resident’s household shall not smoke or burn other materials such as incense anywhere in the unit rented by the Resident, in the building where the Resident’s dwelling is located or in any of the common areas (or adjoining grounds of such building or other parts of the rental community), nor shall resident permit any guests or visitors under the control of the Resident to do so within 25 feet of entryways, windows or common areas.