In the mid-1960s, the City of Petersburg contained hundreds of substandard housing units in several once-proud but deteriorating neighborhoods. To address these community needs, the citizens of Petersburg approved, in an October, 1967, referendum, the establishment of the Petersburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority ("PRHA”).
In December, 1967, the Petersburg City Council formally created the PRHA by resolution, and appointed the first five Commissioners to serve as the directors of the agency. The first and organizational meeting of the PRHA took place on January 1st, 1968, when the Commissioners met in the City Council Chambers.
The PRHA enjoyed the support of the City's government, which provided operating funds until PRHA obtained its federal funding in May, 1969. The PRHA also enjoyed the support of the business community and the citizens of Petersburg. For example, the Authority's first offices were provided by the Brown &Williamson Tobacco Company, which made its Personnel Department offices on Market Street available to the Authority. Almost immediately, the PRHA engaged the challenges that lay before it. The PRHA applied for and received funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), for 400 units of public housing. The first public housing units were established in Pecan Acres (150 family units) on the old "City Home" site, in the west end of the City. Another 150 family units were developed in Pin Oaks, in the east end of the City. The remaining 100 apartments, for disabled and elderly residents, were developed in the "high rise" in Sycamore Towers, on Sycamore Street. The Sycamore Towers project was opened in November, 1972, and the Pin Oaks and Pecan Acres facilities were opened by 1973.
PRHA currently owns and manages approximately 410 units of public housing and administers approximately 737 units of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. PRHA also manages 38 units of rental housing that are part of the Low Income Housing Tax Credits program and 100 units in a HUD Section 202 program. PRHA also administers the Virginia Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance program (DPA) which provides grants to lower-income, first-time homebuyers for the purchase of their primary residence.