About Public Housing

Cumberland Maryland’s Oldest and Largest Affordable Housing Rental and For Sale Housing Provider

History of Public Housing

On June 16, 1933, as a part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Public Works Administration (PWA) was created to develop a program for the “construction, reconstruction, alteration, or repair under public regulation or control of low-cost housing projects.  In the spring of 1934, the PWA Administrator directed the Housing Division to undertake the direct construction of public housing, a decisive step that would serve as a precedent for the 1937 Housing Act, and the permanent public housing program in the United States that we have today.

In 1937, the Housing Act of 1937 replaced the temporary PWA Housing Division with a permanent, quasi-autonomous agency to administer housing known as the United States Housing Authority.  The Housing Act of 1949 dramatically expanded the role of the federal government in both public and private housing and initiated construction of a significant public housing program with the goal of  a “decent home in a decent environment for every American,” Several additional housing acts were passed after 1949, altering the program in small ways but no major legislation changed the mechanisms of public housing until the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965. This act created the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a cabinet-level agency to lead with housing. In 1973, funding for housing projects was halted.

Public Housing (PH) is rental housing that is owned and managed by a Public Housing Authority.  A Public Housing Authority (PHA) is an agency defined by the Federal Government and HUD that is responsible for the administrative, financial, management, and maintenance of the public housing and making sure that the housing is maintained as safe, decent, and affordable.   The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development oversees and assist the PHA.  Public housing comes in many sizes and types, from single family houses to large apartment buildings.  If you qualify for public housing, you have the option of spending about 30% of your income on your housing.  If your income goes up after you’ve moved into public housing, you can stay in your public housing unit, but will have to pay more rent up to the flat monthly rent for your size unit that is not tied to your income (even at full cost, public housing units are usually cheaper than most market rate rentals).

Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland

The Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland, Maryland was established in 1949 as a HUD Public Housing Authority operating under the federal guidelines of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is chartered under the Annotated Code of Maryland Article 44A. The Housing Authority operates as an agency within the Cumberland Housing Group and completely independent from that of the local city/county government.

The Housing Authority of Allegany County was established in 1986 and responsible for Public Housing outside of the City of Cumberland and Frostburg.  On April 1, 2019 the Housing Authority of Allegany County was merged into the existing operations of the Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland to provide improved operational and cost efficiencies for the much smaller county Public Housing Authority.

The Housing Authority is governed by a Board of Commissioners consisting of five Commissioners. These Commissioners are appointed upon recommendation by the Housing Authority Board by the Cumberland City Council. Commissioners shall be residents of Cumberland, or be employed within the City of Cumberland and are residents of the Corporation’s service area. Diversity of Directors. No more than four (4) Directors will consist of representatives of various areas of the public sector. This may include, but shall not be limited to, representatives of labor, finance, business, insurance, real estate, and community service organizations whom have positions and duties consistent with the operations of the corporation. One Commissioner is a resident of an affordable housing development owned by the Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland. Commissioners are appointed for five year staggered terms that are renewable.

The Housing Authority is a full-service agency with all property management, financial and maintenance operations conducted within the main office located at 635 East First Street in Cumberland.  The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cumberland Housing Group is responsible for the operations of the Housing Authority and is assisted by the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

HUD Public Housing Assessment System

The Housing Authority is evaluated annually by the HUD Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) utilizing the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) which is performed through a third party physical inspection and HUD online evaluations which measures four areas:

1.  Financial Management and Condition – 25% of the composite score;

2.  Physical Condition of properties and units – 40% of the composite score;

3.  Assessment of Management operations – 25% of the composite score; and

4.  Assessment of the use of the Capital Fund Program – 10% of the composite score.

Each year since 1999, when HUD implemented the Public Housing Assessment System, we have been consistently rated as a High Performing Agency with a score of 90% or greater.

Our most recent score for fiscal year 2022 was 92%.

PHA Annual/Five Year Plan

The HUD PHA Plan is a comprehensive guide to the public housing agency (PHA) policies, programs, operations, and strategies for meeting local housing needs and goals.  As a HUD qualified PHA (High Performer with less than 550 units), the Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland is only required to prepare and maintain a Five Year Plan and is not required to perform an Annual Plan.

After the draft plan is prepared by staff, it is presented to the Resident Advisory Board to obtain their recommendations and comments.  After consideration of those recommendations and comments, the Five Year Plan is modified as needed and is then made available for a 45 day Public Review.  The 45 day review period is advertised in the local newspaper, a notice is posted at each development and it is posted on our website.  The Five Year Plan can be reviewed at any development office on our website.  At the end of the 45 day period, a Public Hearing is conducted to gather any comments.  All comments and recommendations gathered during this process, which have been documented in writing, are then forwarded to the Board of Commissioners for review.  At the next Board meeting the Commissioners take formal action to adopt the plan.  The Plan, supporting documentation, comments and recommendations and additional certifications are then sent to HUD for review and approval.

The Housing Authority of the City of Cumberland must assure that its Five-Year Plan is consistent with information and data available in the City of Cumberland Consolidated Plan.  A Certification of Consistency with the Consolidated Plan, form HUD-50077SL must be signed by the local official certifying that the PHA Plan is consistent with the Consolidated Plan of the City of Cumberland and submitted to HUD.

Plan Documents

It is the responsibility of each PHA to make the approved plan and supporting documentation available to the general public.  The following is our PHA Plan documents which describe the purpose, goals, and commitment to the highest standard of operations.

2023 Annual Plan Documents

Notice of 2023 Public Review, Comment and Hearing Letter

2023 – 2027 Capital Fund Five Year Rolling Action Plan

4/1/2020 – 3/31/2025 Five Year Public Housing Agency Plan

4/1/2020 – 3/31/2025 HUD PHA Plan Approval Letter

Civil Rights Certification to be completed after public hearing

Board of Commissioners Certification to be completed after public hearing

Minutes of the Public Hearing to be completed after public hearing


5-Year Plan Documents

4/1/2020 – 3/31/2025 Five Year Public Housing Agency Plan

4/1/2020 – 3/31/2025 HUD PHA Plan Approval Letter

2020 Board of Commissioners Certification

2020 Civil Rights Certification

2020 Certification of Consistency with Local Consolidated Plan

2020 Deconcentration of Income Levels by Development

Admissions and Continued Occupancy PlanEffective 1/1/2020

Resident Advisory Board Meeting Notice – 2019

Resident Advisory Board Meeting Minutes 9/17/2019

2020 Section 3 Report

Notice of Public Hearing for Five Year Plan – 2019

Minutes of the 2019 Public Hearing