THA History

History of the Trenton Housing Authority


The Trenton Housing Authority was formed, like many other public housing agencies in the United States, with the federal government's creation and funding of nationwide public housing.  The Housing Act of 1937, however, drastically changed the federal government’s role in public housing by placing ownership and production under local control.  This important change allowed the City of Trenton to create its own housing authority on December 18, 1938 by City Ordinance, in accordance with New Jersey enabling legislation. 

Today, the Trenton Housing Authority is an autonomous body that is chartered by the State of New Jersey, partially funded by the federal government, and governed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners.  Five of the Commissioners are selected by the City Council, one is chosen by the Mayor and one is chosen by the Government.  

The very first public housing complex in Trenton—Lincoln Homes—was built in 1941.  The second development—Donnelly Homes—was built the following year.  Both sites were constructed to accommodate the housing needs of families from southern states, most of whom were African American, coming to the city to take advantage of job opportunities in the industrial sector.

The original housing complexes were predominately three-story walk-up and town house configurations.  In 1945, near the end of World War II, Prospect Village was built offering more housing opportunities to families in need.  In 1952, three additional developments were created—Kearney Homes, Campbell Homes and Wilson Homes. Kearny Homes was later sold and Campbell Homes is now known as Frazier Homes. 


In recent years, the Trenton Housing Authority has made a number of significant security and energy efficiency improvements to enhance the quality of life for our residents. In 2009, THA began work with Comtec to install various security measures (developed by Honeywell International) that would improve safety at THA-owned properties. Security measures were installed throughout THA-owned properties in the City of Trenton including the construction of a new security command center at THA’s Administration offices on New Willow Street and the installation of fixed and pan/zoom security cameras, key fob entry pads, video phones and new energy doors at THA-owned properties.

In 2009, THA began the first Phase of a three-phase process by making a number of energy efficiency improvements to THA-owned properties to help save both money and energy. Utilizing an energy conservation program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, THA installed new energy star windows, energy efficient refrigerators, new toilets, showerheads, aerators, steam traps, relief radiator valves and attenuators at various properties throughout the Authority. 


The savings from these energy conservation measures enabled the THA, in Phase II, to pay for the replacement of outdated heating systems in Haverstick Homes, Josephson Apartments, Abbott Apartments and French Towers, while installing, for the first time, central air conditioning systems with individual controls in the latter three buildings.


In December of 2013, the THA celebrated its 75th anniversary. The organization enters the next 25 years with a renewed commitment to providing a better place for citizens to live, work and raise families.


The numbers speak for themselves: During the past 35 years, the THA has served nearly 2,000 households. The THA expended over $150 million since March 2001, utilizing such items as the Capital Grant Fund, revenue bonds from the NJHMFA, ARRA funds, the HUD HOPE VI grant, and bank loans for energy conservation measures—all for the express purpose of enhancing the quality of life for THA tenants and other income-eligible Trenton residents. Later in 2014, the new Rush Crossing development, a modern, low-rise housing complex, will add 204 more residences to the city of Trenton.


In recent years, the THA has also offered many programs aimed at providing employment opportunities for adults and educational and recreational opportunities for children. With the assistance of federal, state, local and private organizations, the THA will continue to find new ways to serve the needs of its vital residents.