We at RHA are part of a diverse and wonderful community.   We strive every day to render excellent and caring service to all those who share the community with us.  Our goal is to provide quality, affordable housing to people who choose to make Renton their home.  Through continuing partnerships with our clients, service providers and other groups, our vision is to constantly work to enhance our housing programs and provide opportunities for those in the community we serve.


In 1940, the federal government enacted the Lanham National Housing for Defense Act.  That Act allowed local communities to use federal funds to build public housing and other community facilities for use by defense workers and laid the foundation for the development of housing authorities across the nation.


A year later, in 1941 as the United States prepared for it's entry into World War II, the construction of planes and tanks became a national priority with the City of Renton playing a huge part. The Boeing Airplane Company begin building more planes than ever before - it became a major turning point for the city. That year Boeing built a new production facility to house it's assembly of the B-29 bomber that would be used throughout the war.  Additionally, Renton's PACCAR Company was contracted to build the Sherman M4-R1 tank.  This boom in war-time production brought to Renton an influx of middle and low-income workers that would push these vehicles to production.


The Housing Authority of the City of Renton was tasked with the job of building affordable housing for the thousands of workers now calling Renton home.  That initial project built 3,000 dwellings near the Boeing and PACCAR manufacturing lines.  By federal mandate the cost per unit could exceed no more than $3,000.


In the 1950s most of these affordable units, many of which stand today, were sold to the defense personnel for whom the housing was constructed.  Then in 1959, RHA constructed Sunset Terrace on the existing infrastructure.  Today that area is being revitalized even further.  Sunset Terrace has given way to newer developments such as Glenwood Townhomes and groundbreaking projects like Kirkland Avenue Townhomes.


It all began with the building and sale of those initial units in 1941 and a commitment by RHA to provide affordable housing for those in need within our city.


RHA is governed by a five member Board of Commissioners whose members are appointed by the Mayor of Renton.

You can view the minutes of past meetings on our Documents page.


Meet our Board:

Merna Wheeler

I have been a resident of Renton since I was 3 1/2 when my family moved into the area from Maple Valley. I attended Highlands Elementary, McKnight Jr High (back when it was an actual Jr. High and not a middle school) and graduated from Renton High.  I enjoy spending my time supporting this great community we have here in Renton.  I've volunteered for Renton River Days, Renton Police Dept and Renton Community Foundation. Currently I volunteer at Piazza Renton, the Renton Farmers Market and Friends of Renton High School. I'm serving my second 5 year term as a commissioner for RHA. My commitment to the Housing Authority is personal for me.  My family lived in the Authority's temporary housing for two years before purchasing a 3 bedroom home from RHA.

Gerald Marsh, Vice Chairperson

What brought me to Renton Housing Authority? It would be more accurate to say "who." I was working as a business rep for the District Council of Carpenters and negotiating some union matters with the Seattle Housing Authority.  Sitting across the table was SHA's maintenance representative, Tom Tasa.  Through our negotiations we developed a great mutual respect for each other and he asked me to come join him here at RHA.  I have always wanted to give something back to my community so the decision to join the board was easy.  I started serving on the board in July of 2002 and have never regretted taking it on. I love everything about the Renton Housing Authority and its excellent people.

Maxine "Mickie" Anderson, Chairperson

I was born in 1924 in Bloomington, Illinois were I lived until I graduated high school.  I got married in 1945, at age 21, and moved in with husband’s family on their farm 30 miles west of Bloomington in Treemont, Illinois.  A year later my son Ron was born. We lived and farmed in Treemont for 20 years.  Following my divorce, I moved back to Bloomington to care for my  ill mother.  I worked at various stores in the area while caring for Ron and mother. Ron had joined the military service and meet his wife Jackie while stationed in Seattle and then settled down in the area. After my mother passed in 1986, I moved out here to be closer to them.  In 1987, I became a resident at RHA's Hillcrest Terrace.  I enjoy quilting, gardening, cooking and spending time with my three granddaughters, six  great–grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.   I have always liked to volunteer and serve my community.  I really just enjoy doing stuff. I have never been one to sit around!  I started serving on the board in September of 2004 and am now enjoying my second term.

PHOTO coming soon


 I graduated from the University of Washington with a major in Visual Arts and a minor in Art History, which is why I help found Arts Unlimited in 2006. I am a big fan of the Renton Car Show, so much so that I was the chair in 2015, 2016 and 2017. I own my own business, American Classic Homes, and have been in the Real Estate business for 13 years. I have been part of the Renton Chamber of Commerce since 2005 and have lived in Renton since 2003. I am interested in bringing a new perspective to an already stellar board at the Renton Housing Authority and to help bring to life more affordable housing projects in a rapidly growing City.


Johnnie Barnes

 I started as a Resident Commissioner, living in one of Renton Housing Authority’s properties, Kirkland Ave Townhomes. I was formerly homeless with my daughter and had been through some rough times. When presented with the opportunity to be on the board and help make decisions that may help others in similar positions as mine, I didn’t hesitate. With the opportunity for stable housing, my daughter has graduated high school and I has been able to find a job and move into her own apartment. I have then been able to downsize into a one bedroom in Seattle. I continue to hope that I can provide opportunities for others to be successful in life through housing and the decisions I make on this board. I am also heavily involved at Goodwill Baptist Church to help others there as well.


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