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About LHC - History of The Louisiana Housing Council

The organizational meeting of the Housing Council of the State of Louisiana was held June 14, 1962, in Opelousas, Louisiana.  William J. Guste, Jr., the temporary chairman, presided over the meeting.  

The purposes of the association were:   the improvement of administration and operation of low rent housing to develop means for meeting the housing needs in the state of Louisiana to coordinate the efforts of all working in the housing field

A constitution and by-laws were adopted. They adopted a resolution opposing H. R. 688 and H. R. 995.  Dues were set at $10 an agency.     The first officers of the association were: President- J. Gilbert Scheib, Housing Authority of New Orleans Vice-President- Yorick Chachere, Housing Authority of Opelousas Secretary/Treasurer – B. E. McCranie, Housing Authority of Bossier City

The Council represented the fifty-eight active housing authorities in the state of Louisiana.    

A contact committee was appointed consisting of: William J. Guste, New Orleans Richard T. Martin, Westwego Marshall A. Stewart, Bogalusa Ira Breaux, Morgan City Ruth Albritton, Bunkie Mrs. Grover C. Vidrine, Oakdale Frank Smith, Monroe F. D. Jackson, Shreveport Mrs. Clara M. Richard, Crowley Jas. C. Baker, Lake Charles

In 1966, Mr. Robert Hawks, of Stanley Brown, Architects made the first request to become an associate member.

By 1967, the Council was working to bring urban renewal to the state.

A two-day “Shirt Sleeve Maintenance Clinic” was held in Opelousas in 1967.  It covered such subjects as lawn care, safety, locks, preventative maintenance, and tenant relations to HA personnel.

Phil Miller, Lake Charles H A, was elected President of the Southwest Regional Council for 1968-1969.

The constitution and by-laws were revised February 2, 1972.  The 11 charter members of the Council at this time were: New Orleans, Bunkie, Lake Charles, Parish of St. Landry, Opelousas, Shreveport, Bossier City, Westwego, Crowley, Bogalusa, and Ville Platte.

In 1975, the Louisiana Council of Housing approved a resolution to make Congress and ultimately HUD aware that the Section 8 program was not being properly administered by the HUD Regional Director Richard Morgan.  He refused to consider any programs involving “new construction” or “substantial rehab” thus discriminating against those engaged in either of the aforementioned programs and causing money appropriated for the region to be spent elsewhere.

Over the years the Council continued to take action to protect the integrity of their programs.

In 1976, Clyde T. J. McHenry, New Orleans H A, became the first African-American president of the Council.

The Louisiana Housing Council Chapter of NAHRO became incorporated in 1981 with help from D. Michael Hayes of the Natchitoches H A. 

Gertrude Broach was very active in the Council and worked for the passage of Senate Bill 339 in 1981, which established the interlocal risk management program.  This was the beginning of LHC’s present day comprehensive insurance program and also served as a springboard for other states to establish their self-insurance programs.

The 44th SWRC/NAHRO Annual Conference was held in New Orleans in 1984 during Frank Wilcox’s LHC presidency.  

In 1987 it was prohibited by the Code of Governmental Ethics for a housing authority tenant to serve as an E D or as a governing board member for a local housing authority.  Some years later it became a requirement that there be a resident board member on each local housing authority board.  

The LHC Scholarship Program issued its first application in 1989 with three scholarships being offered for a total of $6,000.

In 1990, under Jim Firmin’s presidency, LHC’s senior leadership set a new direction for the next 2 years.  New committees were established, more members were added to committees, and each agency was given a directory of officers, committees, and regional information.  Leadership development was a goal with increased participation at the regional and national levels as a desired result.

At the Southwest Regional Annual Conference in 1992, the first Mike Hanratty Extra Mile Award went to Jim Firmin for his work with the LHC and Southwest scholarship programs. 

This is the beginning history of this organization as taken from the LHC scrapbooks.