The Rochester Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) was created in the mid 1960's to administer a proposed urban renewal program. The City later decided not to pursue urban renewal and the HRA was dissolved.
During this time, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) sent a letter to the City of Rochester advising that funding for developing low income elderly and family housing through the Low Income Public Housing program was available, if the City was interested. HUD's offer was not pursued and the private sector provided much of the subsidized housing in Rochester through the Section 236 and Section 8 New Construction programs. These projects include Park Towers, Northgate Plaza, Central Towers, Fontaine Towers, The Hylands and Innsbruck. The first public housing constructed in Rochester was in 1983, about 15 years later than other communities in the state and region had developed their public housing.
In the early 1970's, Authority members were again appointed and in 1975, the HRA began administering its first program, the Home Improvement program, funded by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA). This rehabilitation program was available county wide. The Rochester/Olmsted Consolidated Planning Department, a County department, provided most of the staffing. (This arrangement continues today as the OCHRA contracts it's staff from Olmsted County and has no employees of its own).
The Section 8 Existing Certificate program, funded by HUD, was the first rental assistance program the HRA administered, beginning in the late 1970's. The HRA hired Realty Management Services to administer this program.
The first housing owned and managed by the HRA was developed with funds provided by HUD through the Low Income Public Housing program. The project, Homestead Green, opened in 1983 and is a 30 unit townhome project located in SE Rochester.
All programs continued to grow and as many programs as possible were offered county wide. In the early 1980's, Gene Parks became the first person hired for the specific purpose of administering HRA programs.
In the mid 1980's, the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners appointed a five member county Authority. After an organizational meeting, the OCHRA stopped meeting for several years. The OCHRA was re-activated when new members were appointed to assist with the financing of the Olmsted County Government Center and jail.
In the early 1990's, consideration was given to creating one county-wide agency. After much discussion, an agreement was reached. The OCHRA would consist of seven commissioners, four appointed by the City of Rochester and three appointed by Olmsted County. The County would approve all bond sales and the agreement would be submitted for approved by the State Legislature. The Rochester HRA would transfer all its liabilities and assets to the OCHRA.
In January 1995, the OCHRA was formed and the Rochester HRA was dissolved.