Atlanta Housing Commemorates Birth of Public Housing at Former Techwood, University Homes Sites

October 11, 2022

Atlanta–Atlanta Housing (AH), in partnership with the Georgia Historical Society and Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, hosted dedication ceremonies today unveiling Georgia Historical Markers at the former sites of Techwood Homes and University Homes that commemorate the creation of public housing in the United States. Noting the markers have the same “core narrative,” Elyse Butler, marker manager at the Georgia Historical Society said, “The examples of Techwood and University Homes provide an excellent opportunity to discuss not only the birth of public housing in the United States, but also how the development of both communities was affected by the segregationist policies of the Jim Crow era.”

“We’re proud to be the birthplace of public housing in the United States and to have had leaders with the foresight to raze dilapidated neighborhoods and replace them with affordable, federally subsidized housing,” said Eugene E. Jones, Jr., president and CEO of Atlanta Housing. “These markers will stand the test of time and teach future generations of the progress we’ve made over many decades in providing affordable housing to citizens in need.”

The Techwood Homes marker notes the 604-unit development was conceptualized by developer Charles Palmer and replaced the overcrowded Tech Flats neighborhood. Dr. John Hope, the first African American president of both Morehouse College and Atlanta University, was a driving force in securing local and federal support for the construction of University Homes. Palmer and Hope worked closely to bring both projects to fruition.

The federal Public Works Administration in 1933 funded the construction of Techwood Homes for White Atlantans and University Homes for Black Atlantans, creating the nation’s first federally funded housing projects. Techwood Homes was completed in 1936 and University Homes the following year, leading to the founding of the Atlanta Housing Authority in 1938 by Palmer, who was appointed the first chairman of the board. Techwood Homes, integrated in 1968, was demolished in 1995, making way for Centennial Place Apartments.

At the former University Homes site now sits the newly developed Scholars Landing. AH is also nearing completion on the $10 million renovation of historic Roosevelt Hall, part of the original University Homes that provided a cultural and economic hub for residents until its closure in 2009. Giving homage to its important place in the history of the Westside, the re-imagined Roosevelt Hall will be a central gathering space benefitting residents and connecting the community with the faculty, staff and students of the neighboring Atlanta University Center.



Led by President and CEO Eugene Jones, Jr., the Housing Authority of the City of Atlanta, Georgia (AH), is the largest housing authority in Georgia and one of the largest in the nation. AH provides and facilitates affordable housing resources for nearly 27,000 low-income households comprised of approximately 45,000 people, including AH-owned residential communities, tenant-based vouchers, supportive housing, and homeownership opportunities. Programs are funded and regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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