Journal of Housing & Community Development

The Basics of Being a Housing Agency Commissioner

August 5, 2021
by Sherry Scudder

The housing agency commissioner’s role is very important. Commissioners are the governing body of the Housing Authority and must work closely with the Executive Director and local officials; they also communicate with the community regarding their needs, concerns, and successes. Via their leadership, commissioners enable the housing agency to fulfill its mission of providing affordable, safe, and sanitary housing in a sustainable, thriving community. 

A Commissioner is usually selected by a Government official, be it city or county, for their community involvement, knowledge, or experience with housing, as well as for their desire to learn about and share the housing needs in the community and to advocate for the most vulnerable people we serve. 

It is the responsibility of a Commissioner to be educated regarding policies and procedures that are required, be updated on changes as circumstances arise. Learning is key, as is sharing resources with others to learn best practices that may make your housing authority the best it can be. All this is helpful so long as we as commissioners do not get involved in the housing agency’s day-to-day activity.  

Commissioners bear great responsibilities, and their housing authority boards must learn and practice a code of ethics. Both commissioners and housing agency staff alike are stewards of the public trust and must act transparently and ethically.   

Commissioners can play key roles as advocates in local, county, regional and national levels of government. They can share stories of need, accomplishments, and successes, demonstrating that both the work of the housing authority and the housing and community development programs that sustain this work can make a huge difference in the lives of those we serve. 

Being a commissioner can be daunting. Whether you’re a new or a veteran commissioner, or are just thinking about becoming one, NAHRO is able to help you with many resources, including a full slate of professional development opportunities as well as The Handbook for Commissioners. You can also reach out to NAHRO’s Commissioners Committee with your questions. We hope to hear from you! 

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