On January 20, 1934, New York City Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia filed a certificate establishing the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) as the first public housing authority in the country. Less than one year later, on December 3, 1935, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for First Houses, the city’s first public housing development. Where tenements had once been, there were now 123 new apartments, each with a private kitchen and bath, electrical outlets, an electric refrigerator and a stove. Eleven thousand New Yorkers submitted applications for the first apartments.
NYCHA’s first Board — Langdon Post, Louis H. Pink, B. Charney Vladeck, Mary K. Simkhovitch and the Reverend E.T. Roberts Moore — couldn’t have known that 70 years later, NYCHA would be the premier public housing authority in the country and the largest in North America.
Today, nearly 420,008 New Yorkers make their homes in 345 NYCHA developments throughout the five boroughs. NYCHA has remained true to its mission to provide decent and affordable housing in a safe and secure living environment for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. But NYCHA is more than bricks and mortar. Every NYCHA resident has access to an array of community, educational, employment, and social service programs.
NYCHA's 70th year promises to be an exciting one as the Housing Authority prepares to meet its challenges while ensuring the existence of public housing for future generations.
What's in a Name
First Houses Photo Gallery