For over eight decades, the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD) has been a committed leader in providing safe, decent and sanitary affordable housing for qualified low and moderate-income families in the City of Birmingham. HABD also strives to empower residents to achieve self-sufficiency, economic advancement and quality living for a successful future. HABD was incorporated in 1935 and in 1937 began participation under the provisions of the U.S. Housing Act. It is the largest public housing agency within the State of Alabama with approximately 4,022 conventional public housing units located at 14 sites within the Birmingham city limits.
HABD serves a population of nearly 4,837 families in public housing with occupancy of 97%. Additionally, HABD administers a Section 8 program which consists of approximately 5,247 vouchers. HABD is governed by a 5-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the Mayor of the City of Birmingham. The board is appointed in staggered terms and elects a chairperson and vice chairperson. The board members hire a CEO to administer the affairs of the authority. HABD is proud to be home of Smithfield Court Public Housing which is Birmingham’s oldest public housing community and the 4th oldest in the country. Part of Smithfield Court Public Housing is the Bethel House which was named a historic site.
Smithfield Court Public Housing is located at 150 8th Avenue North in the Smithfield neighborhood. It was designed by town planner Walter Holmquist and construction began in 1935 after six blocks of existing housing were demolished to clear the site. Smithfield Court was completed in 1937 with the aid of Works Progress Administration (WPA) funding as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Its 81 one and two-story brick buildings housed 544 low-income families. Smithfield Court was showcased during the “Housing” session of the inaugural convention of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare in 1938.