History of the Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority
Founded in 1968 as the Ravenna Metropolitan Housing Authority (RMHA), the housing authority initially sought federal funds for the renovation of the Maple Grove Development in Windham. Maple Grove, originally built as temporary World War II housing, was converted into family housing as a private owner. RMHA twice made unsuccessful efforts to obtain funds to improve this 900-unit development, and became relatively dormant.
In 1976, under the leadership of Robert Durst, RMHA obtained its first HUD funding for 150 units under what is now known as the Housing Choice Voucher program. In 1978, Executive Director Frederick Spataro led the agency through an expansion to include all of Portage County and a name change to Portage Metropolitan Housing Authority to reflect its broader geography. The number of Housing Choice Vouchers tripled and PMHA’s first public housing proposal was approved. By 1980, PMHA had built 54 Public Housing units in Ravenna and Kent. Since 1980, PMHA has shown consistent and sensible expansion, growing its Public Housing program to 303 units, increasing its Section 8 program size to over 1,800 Housing Choice Vouchers and owning and managing twenty-four private market rent units. In 1998, under the leadership of Christie Anderson, PMHA was approved as a Moving To Work (MTW) Housing Authority by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Having earned the HUD designation of “High-Performer,” a category that only select Public Housing Authorities nationwide qualify for, PMHA has established itself as a proven leader and innovator in the affordable housing community and as a great asset and sustained affordable housing resource for the many families served by the agency since its inception.