In 1949, Mayor Daniel K. Edwards appointed a group of local citizens to serve on an ad hoc committee to review the matter of substandard housing in Durham. To address the overdue need for better housing, especially for low-income persons, the committee submitted a two-pronged recommendation to the City Council requesting:
Passage of a substandard housing ordinance which would enable the City to more effectively address the problem of poor housing, consistent with the Housing Act of 1937
Adoption of an ordinance setting into effect a public housing authority commensurate with state enabling legislation. Acting on these recommendations, the Durham City Council adopted a resolution to establish a local housing authority.
Shortly thereafter, the new agency was officially chartered and its first Board of Commissioners was appointed. The newly formed organization, officially known as the Housing Authority of the City of Durham, submitted its first application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development to construct 600 housing units. From this request, approval was granted to construct 487 units. The first two developments representing this new growth of housing in Durham were Few Gardens and McDougald Terrace.