The History of Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority
In 1937, The Housing Act was established to provide subsidies to improve the living conditions for low-income families. In 1939, the Canton Metropolitan Housing Authority was established as the 18th public housing authority in the state of Ohio. The agency underwent its first reorganizational meeting in 1947, and in 1970 the name was changed to Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority (SMHA). Providing quality and affordable housing for over 80 years, SMHA strives to continue providing housing opportunities and needed resources to eligible Stark County residents.
April 21, 1939
The Ohio State Board of Housing establishes the Canton Metropolitan Housing Authority. By August 1939, the newly established authority appoints a chief architect for the construction of 600 units on two sites.
June 1, 1947
Haines Reichel is the first director of the Housing Authority, serving from 1947 to 1950. First projects include the Don Mellett Homes and the Jackson-Sherrick Court Homes.
John Pulley becomes the second Executive Director, serving from 1950 to 1969, during which time the Housing Authority acquired 201 units (Sunset and Sherrick).
March 21, 1968
The Housing Authority changes its name to Canton Massillon Metropolitan Housing Authority.
March 22, 1968
The Housing Authority’s second senior-citizen high-rise, Girard Gardens, is proposed.
March 1, 1969
Walter Crenshaw, the third Executive Director, serves only six months, ending his term in September 1969 after adding 211 units for a total of 421 units.
Social Service Program
March 1, 1969
The Housing Authority initiates its first social service program.
McKinley Park Homes
August 18, 1969
McKinley Park Homes is the Housing Authority’s first high-rise, providing 80 units of senior-citizen housing.
Ed Witmer becomes the fourth Executive Director in March 1970, serving 12 years until his retirement in 1982. During this period, 2,036 units are added, bringing the total number of units in Stark County, at the time, to 2,457.
Summer Youth Program
June 23, 1971
SMHA establishes a summer youth program at Jackson Sherrick.
First Low-Income Units
March 22, 1972
Mahoning Manor, Ellisdale Homes, and Gage Gardens are constructed as the first low-income units for families outside southeast Canton.
Guy Mack Homes
April 20, 1972
SMHA purchases four units at the request of the Canton Welfare Federation CHAT Program. The units are named Guy Mack Homes in honor of the slain Canton police officer.
Scattered Public Housing
April 22, 1973
SMHA introduces scattered public housing, a new type of housing that integrates low-income families with other city residents, which reduces the stigma of living in public housing.
June 1, 1973
Plaza Terrace, a 100-unit senior-citizen high-rise, is constructed.
April 1, 1974
The senior-citizen high-rise Lincoln Apartments is completed.
October 1, 1974
400 units of senior-citizen and family housing is available to low-income Massillon and alliance residents.
New Daycare Center
January 1, 1975
A new daycare center is constructed at 1318 Gonder Avenue SE in Canton.
SMHA Offices Move
March 21, 1975
The SMHA Central Offices move from the Jackson Park location to 1800 West Tusc. Street in Canton.
The First Section 8 Office
January 1, 1976
The first Section 8 office is established at Plaza Terrace.
January 1, 1977
Congregate housing for low-income senior-citizens is introduced in the Downtowner and leased under the Section 8 program.
SMHA Social Services
January 1, 1979
Residents of Section 8 senior-citizen housing receive SMHA social services and move into apartments.
New Senior-Citizen Residences
January 22, 1982
Four new senior-citizen residences become available to low-income senior-citizens: Shortridge Villa (Jackson Township), Constitution House (Louisville), Indian Run Manor (Waynesburg), and Reynolds Manor (Navarre).
November 1, 1982
Albert McIlwain becomes the fifth Executive Director, serving seven years from November 1982 until his death in June 1989. In 1983, 50 scattered site homes are acquired.
By 1983, SMHA acquires 268 units under the new Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program.
June 1, 1989
In June 1989, Cherrie Turner serves as Interim Executive Director until December 1, 1989, when she becomes the sixth Executive Director.
Lillian P. Beane Center
January 1, 1997
SMHA opens the Lillian P. Beane Center in Massillon.
January 1, 2001
Amanda Fletcher serves as Executive Director from 2001 to 2009.
July 1, 2009
Michael Williams serves as Executive Director from 2009 to 2012.
February 11, 2013
Herman L. Hill serves as Executive Director from 2013 to 2022.
SMHA’s 80th Anniversary Gala!
October 18, 2019
SMHA proudly celebrates 80-Years of serving the residents of Stark County.
February 6, 2023
Joshua Crites is appointed as Executive Director.
Download and view the history of SMHA 1939-1989:
History of SMHA