Celebrating 80 Years of Service 1941- 2021

Making History

The year 2021 marks the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino’s (HACSB) 80th anniversary of serving families in San Bernardino County. 

As documented in our “Why Housing” publication from the 1940s, low-income families lived in deplorable housing conditions, slum dwellings and unsanitary living conditions that plagued the County.  Providing much needed safe and sanitary housing, was a social responsibility and an opportunity to improve the living conditions, health, and well-being of hundreds of families. 

To address these issues, HACSB was established in 1941, under the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 and the California Housing Authorities Law of 1938, for the purpose of providing affordable housing for low-income households in San Bernardino County.  As a result, in 1943, HACSB started building affordable housing communities known as Public Housing, which at the time was the first and only type of affordable housing program.  This was made possible in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) who provided the capital funding to build these public housing sites.   

During World War II, the federal government’s priority was housing defense workers and their families.  By war’s end, the Housing Authority had more than 1,000 temporary housing units throughout the County. After the war, affordable housing units reverted to serving low-income families as vacancies occurred.  Peace also meant a shortage of housing for returning war veterans and their families; so housing units were specifically set aside for veterans and their families.  In the decades to come, HACSB continued to expand its affordable housing portfolio.

In the 1970’s, HUD implemented a rental assistance program whose focus was to deconcentrate poverty and provide housing choice, this new program provided families with the opportunity to lease a home from a private landlord, currently known as the Housing Choice Voucher program. Housing assistance payments are provided to the landlord on behalf of the household.

The values in which we were established back in 1941 still stand and hold true 80 years later.  We take our work very seriously and strive to provide the best housing programs and services for the families we serve, while being good and responsible stewards of taxpayer funding.  We welcome you to read further about who we have become and also enjoy a few of our history documents below.

Who We Are Now

During the past 80 years, HACSB has evolved as one of the most progressive housing authorities in the Country and the largest provider of affordable housing in San Bernardino County. Our original and still primary purpose continues to be providing rental assistance to low-income families either by housing families in units HACSB owns and manages or by providing subsidized housing assistance to a landlord who rents their home to an assisted family. Today we proudly serve over 25,000 persons, most of whom are seniors, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and children.

We are proud to say that in the past several decades, our partnerships and the creation of our affiliate non-profits have enabled us to provide a greater focus and achieve positive outcomes in the economic advancement of households; allowed research and evaluation to drive policy decisions and program restructures; and to become a successful affordable housing developer and property manager. 

Innovation and Research

As a testament to our high performance, in 2008, HACSB was designated by Congress as a Moving to Work (MTW) public housing agency, which allows HACSB to waive some HUD program requirements in order to develop local policies and programs that meet HUD’s statutory objectives, as outlined below. .  As a result, HASCB has implemented various innovative initiatives.  These flexibilities are not available to traditional housing authorities, who must adhere to regulatory requirements.  All new initiatives are based on the following MTW statutory objectives:

  1. Saving taxpayer dollars through efficient work;
  2. Helping families achieve economic independence; and
  3. Ensuring a family’s freedom of housing choice.

To read more about Moving to Work initiatives and outcomes, click here.

For the past ten years HACSB has partnered with Loma Linda University (LLU) for third-party research and evaluation to help inform policy and shape program design.  LLU has conducted nationally recognized research reports and needs assessments for several of our MTW initiatives.  LLU’s research and evaluation projects include:

  • Term Limited Lease Assistance (TLA) Program: Since 2012, LLU conducts an annual research evaluation of existing TLA families, and also since 2017, TLA families that have exited the program. This program couples five years of housing assistance with coaching and referrals to various supportive services.
  • No Child Left Unsheltered: Since 2016, LLU evaluates the progress of the families served through this program which includes street homeless families with children.
  • Moving On Strategy: Launched in 2020, this project will evaluate families “moving on” from the Continuum of Care Shelter Plus Care program into traditional voucher program assistance.
  • Maplewood Homes Needs Assessment: LLU has conducted three needs assessment of this almost 300-unit affordable housing community for partner and resource coordination.
  • Permanent Supportive Housing Programs: In 2019, LLU launched the research and data plan in anticipation of new households being served at Desert Haven and Golden Apartments, HACSB’s first permanent supportive housing sites for chronically homeless individuals.

To read more about our Loma Linda Research and Evaluation outcomes, please click here.

Establishing Affiliate Non-Profits    

HUD encourages housing authorities to create non-profit affiliates to expand the potential funding sources needed to develop and expand the supply of affordable housing in their jurisdiction as well as to expand services for housing program residents. Despite this, Housing Authorities rarely form non-profit affiliates.

Yet again another testament of our drive and forward-thinking mentality, HACSB established three non-profit affiliates to advance its mission and vision, expand its housing portfolio, increase and sustain affordable housing stock, and provide enhanced services critical for the served communities. 

  • 1991: Housing Partners I, Inc. develops, owns, and manages affordable housing. HPI has has developed and acquired 1,512 units since its inception.
  • 2010: Knowledge and Education for Your Success is dedicated to enhancing supportive services for the low-income residents in San Bernardino County through various rapid re-housing programs.
  • 2015: Reliant Asset Management Solutions provides management solutions from full-service property management and physical inspections of housing units.

As affiliates of HACSB, HACSB’s Executive Director serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of each non-profit and ensures that there is proper financial oversight.

Permanent Supportive Housing

HACSB is not funded to provide immediate housing assistance through homeless or shelter housing type programs.  HUD also does not provide housing authorities with the capital funds to acquire or develop additional housing despite the spike in homelessness and lack of affordable housing.  Therefore, HACSB relies on a variety of partners to meet this gap, allowing our agency to also be a leading developer. 

In recent years, to help address chronic homelessness in San Bernardino County, HACSB acquired both Golden and Desert Haven Apartments, which are the agency’s first permanent supportive housing developments for chronically homeless individuals. Combined these developments have added 68 units of housing for homeless individuals; in addition, both sites will also have an onsite managers and community centers.

We are grateful for the in-kind supportive services being offered by various onsite partners who are providing greatly needed supportive services which include: case management, mental health, substance use, physical health services, employment services, vocational counseling, job training and placement, life skills, and educational attainment.

To read more about these and other homeless programs, click here.

More than Just Housing

HACSB prides itself on providing more than just housing to its residents, thanks to solid partnerships with various educational institutions, workforce development partners, early childhood care providers, health and human service providers, health care entities, and countless others who continue to contribute to the agency’s success and ability to serve the community.  HACSB has also implemented programs such as the Family Self-Sufficiency and Homeownership Assistance Programs, as well as college scholarships, on-site resident services, digital literacy programs, career and educational development, and much more, to help the families we serve access resources and services to enrich the quality of life for the families that we serve.