4 Public Housing Authorities That Changed Names and Re-branded


Re-branding is something we hear of a lot in the private sector.  However; government entities do not really do something like that.  The government is a brand so to speak and the various services that are offered need to be clear and easy to access.  In the last 5-10 years, I noticed that several public housing authorities (PHA) in the United States changed their names.  Do you know of other PHAs outside of this article that changed names?  Let us know at info@housing-futures.org  or let us know what you think.  Lets take a look at a few of these agencies and get to the reasons behind why they did this.

  1. Home Forward- Formerly Portland Housing Authority-  This change took place in 2011.  At the time, the Executive Director Steve Rudman said the following,”We continue to grow and be a national leader in affordable housing. In developing the new name and identity, we are harnessing that momentum and re-emphasizing our commitment to engage our residents in moving their lives forward.  Homes are just the beginning of the process.  It is interesting to note that that Home Forward also serves a larger area than Portland.  There seemed to be several driving forces in this name change.
  2. Whittier Falls- Formerly the Dover Housing Authority:  The main motivation for this change at this smaller PHA seemed to be driven by removing stigma for residents.   Executive Director Allan Krans, said the organization will legally remain the Dover Housing Authority (DHA), but it has also registered a trade name of Whittier Falls. Krans said the reason for the change is to protect residents from the negative connotations of words like “projects” and “housing.” You can read the article here. 
  3. Housing Catalyst-Formerly Fort Collins Housing Authority: This PHA picked a really catchy name and the reason for it really matches.  It is as simple as wanting the organization’s name to match its vision.  The vision is for the housing to be a catalyst for change for residents living in the housing there.   There is some interesting work being done in the realm of real estate development and branching out from federal programs at this organization.  It seems like the leadership, staff and board picked a great name for a great organization.
  4. Metro West Housing Solutions-Formerly Lakewood, Colorado Housing Authority:  This PHA has gone from a traditional section 8 shop to a developer of extremely high quality housing. The organization actually sold all of its public housing and now owns/operates 8 times the amount they used to have.  Being innovative in a time of federal budget cuts is a major win in this environment.

What do you think?  Should a PHA re-brand?  Do you think it is a positive thing for the residents, agency and city for something like this to happen?  What are the possible negative sides of doing a re-branding?  We at Housing Futures would love to hear from you at info@housing-futures.org

2 thoughts on “4 Public Housing Authorities That Changed Names and Re-branded

  1. After MANY years most people seeking housing in Portland have figured out what HomeForward is and does; it’s legal name is the Housing Authority of Portland (HAP) which is doing business as (DBA) HomeForward.

    A majority of Commissioners (5) are appointed by the City of Portland, with the remaining appointed by the City of Gresham and Multnomah County. While HomeForward is the premier local housing authority, the Portland MSA has four other housing authorities collectively serving the metro area; Vancouver (in Washington State); Washington County, Clackamas County and Yamhill County all within Oregon.

    The Portland Housing Bureau is the principal financing entity within the City with 14,000 permanently affordable units in its portfolio. The three largest borrowers within the portfolio are REACH CDC; HomeForward and Central City Concern. PHB’s website has a life to date synopsis of production citywide and using Tableau, you can see the pipeline of each entity engaged in the business of affordable housing, locally.

    Interestingly, REACH is a bi-state regional affordable housing provider having merged/acquired Affordable Community Environments (ACE) in Washington State.

    My take: branding needs to fit local values and launched with care to avoid consumer confusion. As professionals we should drive to make access to affordable housing easier, not more difficult.


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