The concepts surrounding Housing Authorities have been with us since during the late 1930s, and in the years that followed, the housing programs that were activated on the federal level were adopted by individual states. Oklahoma adopted legislation in 1965 and, as a result, passed the Oklahoma Housing Act that same year.
Stillwater residents started to realize the need for a local Housing Authority in the late 1960s, but chose to initiate an Urban Renewal Program as an initial step toward the improvement of its residential neighborhood in 1970.
In the years immediately following this action, as Stillwaters economic and social base started a rapid expansion, the residential needs of the Stillwater community also experienced shortages in available housing units due to increasing demand placed on the market for all types of housing.
This housing shortage, combined with inflation, higher utility rates, and an increase in the number of retired persons, prompted the City of Stillwater and its Housing Advisory Board to analyze the housing needs of the community. As a first step, the city conducted a City Services Evaluation Survey in January 1977. By using direct mailing and neighborhood meetings, the city was told by over 1,000 citizens that housing, especially for the elderly, should be expanded.
Based on the results of further research and assessments, the City Commission and the Housing Advisory Board held a public meeting on November 7, 1977. Based on the positive response that was received from the citizens of Stillwater during this meeting, a local referendum was slated for December 20, 1977, and the need for a Housing Authority was confirmed by over 65% of the Stillwater voters.
In the days that followed, the City Commission appointed the members of the Housing Advisory Board to the Housing Authoritys Board of Commissioners. The Housing Authority conducted it first meeting shortly thereafter on the 14th day of February and by March 1, 1978, the Housing Authority had completed its first application for 76 units of elderly housing.
The Stillwater Housing Authority, which was formed through the enterprise of the citizens of the Stillwater community, can be described as an agency to be used by the community as a tool to provide better housing for the elderly and low-income families with a primary emphasis on the fixed income elderly and handicapped.
Funding obtained from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is the primary support for the programs that are offered by the Stillwater Housing Authority and additional income is provided by the rent that is collected from residents living in Public Housing. Although the Stillwater Housing Authority receives funding from the federal government, the Housing Authority is an agency of the local government under the direction of the Board of Commissioners.