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of the new Downtown Shopping Mall. When federal money is involved as it is in the downtown arterial, the state Department of Transportation is required by the federal government to insist on good replacement housing before it can undertake the urban project. The second high rise, together with the new townhouse developments, and other available housing is part of the approved relocation plan. Housing for the elderly takes on even more urgency when it is realized that a fairly sizeable number of senior citizens reside on upper floors of the East Main St, commercial buildings that will give way to the shopping mall.
There are no projects more important to the future of Amsterdam than the viowntown shopping mall with its arterial loops, which in direct sense a second high rise is making possible.
Why the President put the hold on housing, and will put the same kind of a yoke on urban renewal and model cities later, we wouldn't presume to know.
If there has been waste and corruption associated with federal projects elsehere, there has been no suspicion of any here; if public housing has been allowed to deteriorate rapidly elsewhere, that has not been the case here. We have not had many federal projects, but we have taken good care of those that have come our way.
How can we get the message through to President Nixon what this high rise project means to our city, not in only badly needed housing itself, but for the part it plays in the bigger picture?
The best way is to sit down and write the President a letter in your own words. Ma por Gomulka and our Urban Renewal people have already sent messages. But the President will get a lot of messages from mayors and Urban Renewal people. He will pay more attention to a groundswell of letters from private citizens. Let's write those letters and show the President that all of Amsterdam, not just its officials, is deeply concerned that our revitalization timetable may be delayed and its impetus lost.
[From the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jan. 28, 1973]
FUND FREEZE DISTURBS LOCAL GROUPS WASHINGTON.-The federal funds freeze blocked $5 million of housing planned for at least 300 low-income families by the Over-the-Rhine Corp. in Cincinnati, according to a letter released Thursday by Rep. William J. Keating (R-Ohio).
Unless the freeze ends, $5 million worth of housing for at least 300 families won't get into the brick and mortar stage," John Sheehan, director of the corporation, wrote Keating.
"And a community that believed the federal government when it said, “We will help you help yourselves," will have grievous scars to bring it through the 70s."
Keating said he backed the housing rehabilitation and new unit construction of such corporations as Over-the-Rhine. * * *
Sheehan said that without a funds thaw 70 employees of the corporation, one of three such firms in the Model Cities area, would be put out of work.
Meantime, Carl B. Westmoreland, president of the Mt. Auburn Community Council, wrote Keating also to plead for his help in ending the funds freeze. He said the freeze applies particularly to the kind of rehabilitation and redevelopment projects which we have been involved with here in Mt. Auburn."
“As you know, this community consists of 498 acres of land with a population of approximately 15,000 people." Westmoreland wrote. “Without the assistance of federal (housing) insurance, the efforts of the Mt. Auburn Good Housing Foundation over the past five years will have been in vain."
[From the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jan. 10, 1973)
FHA SUBSIDY HALT AFFECTS 3,000 L'YITS
A federal order has stopped processing applications for subsidies on nearly 3.000 housing units in an 11-county a rea served by the Cincinnati office of the Federal Housing Administration.
The “temporary hold” order by George Romney, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also will delay a $2.7-million applica
tion to pay for connectors on the riverfront project. And it will hold up certain community redevelopment funds processed through the HUD area office in Columbia.
Romney issued the hold on all subsidized housing applications and redeveloment grants across the country last Friday.
He gave no reason, said Charles Collins II, acting director of the Cincinnati FHA office.
Collins said the housing units in the Cincinnati a rea includes 3S new apart. ment projects, with about 1,800 units, and 35 rehabilitation projects, with about 1,000.
Two of the larger projects involved, he said, are the Colgrove and McMieken Heritage rehab projects, each with 75-100 units.
Collins had no figures available on the amount of money involved in the freeze. But last year, his office endorsed for insurance 5,278 apartment units valued at nearly $80 million.
This figures to mean more than $15,000 a unit, which would give an approximate value of $45 million to the units in the Cincinnati area affected by Romney's order.
Under various federal laws, subsidies from 20 to 100% are granted for housing construction and rehabilitation.
Subsidized projects approved before Romney's order or those found feasible previously are not affected, Collins said, nor are any projects requiring FHA ilisurance but no federal subsidy.
The FHA itself does not lend money ; it only insures loans.
The connections in the riverfront project would go between the stadium and the parking lot west of the stadium.
Collins said Romney's order gave no indication how long the "temporary hold" would last.
The Cincinnati office serves 11 southwestern Ohio counties, including Montgomery County (Dayton). Last year it insured loans totaling nearly $180 million.
(Jan. 23, 1973) Dear Mr. President: Announcement of moratorium regarding public and subsidized housing and temporary hold on water, sewer, open space grants and public facility loans received in San Antonio with much dismay and great alarm. Such action, in conjunction with OMB's recent refusal to release congressionally as proved funds for other housing and community development projects, could wel result in catastrophic situation for this city. Moratorium will undoubtedly conpound present serious housing situation in San Antonio, will severely curtail timely development of school, health and recreational facilities as well as such massive projects as San Antonio's New-Town-in-Town and San Antonio Ranch New Town. Further adverse effects are envisioned in local employment situation particularly in construction and building supply industries, sales, land derelor ment, finance, health, education, services, etc. Realize new Federal budget not yet released and that multipurpose funding may be contained in special revenue sharing proposal ; however, time delays inherent in changing from one program to another, without prior establishment of adequate interim funding procedures. could cause extensive harm to local efforts resulting in scrapping of present plans starting planning process anew, irreparable personal hardships, increased project costs, and needless waste of millions of dollars already spent by both private and public agencies. As mayor of the ninth largest city in the Nation, I urge you to reconsider your moratorium decision, either to rescind it outright, or, to establish adequate interim funding procedures to permit continuation of present and/or planned federally funded projects without interruption until such time as a more effective funding system is devised and made ready for instant implementation. Your efforts to economize and increase efficiency in Government operations are highly commendable and sincerely appreciated. Your decision to continue to fund only those projects presently in the Federal pipeline until new procedures are established is theoretically sound; however, in view of past experiences (tile Omnibus Housing Bill for example), I am of the opinion that the pipeline will be empty indeed—long before new funding legislation permits resumption of the
normal flow of essential projects. By then, much needless loss of time, effort and money will have occurred. I implore you to reconsider your decision, Respectfully,
Joux GATTI, Mayor, City of San Antonio, Tex.
(From the New York Times, Jan. 28, 1973)
POINT OF VIEW~Nixon's PURISM A THREAT TO GAINS IN HOUSING FIELD
(By Roger Starr, Executive Director, Citizens Housing and Planning Council)
The diplomatic achievements of the first Nixon administration, including the visits to Peking and Moscow, were the fruit of a pragmatic readiness to ignore principles the President had cherished in public for years. It could be tragic if the second Nixon Administration should risk domestic failure by dropping this readiness to try whatever may work in favor of a sterile courtship of ideological consistency.
George Romney, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, recently announced the Administratiton's resolve to end subsidies for housing. This act may herald a movement toward free-enterprise orthodoxy. The Secretary simply told a convention of home builders that when the Government has filled its present contractual commitments to subsidize housing developments, there will be no more subsidized programs. He did not say “forever,” but nothing in his words would make one believe he had a shorter period in mind. We are promised that present housing programs will be "reviewed,” that's all.
In the last two years, housing construction has been one of the major stimuli to the general economy.
In 1968, Congress, at the suggestion of President Johnson, established numerical goals for new housing started. In 1971 and 1972 the housing industries surpassed their annual targets. A remarkably large 25 per cent of the housing units that were started in 1972 were subsidized by the Federal Government so that families with relatively low incomes were able to move into them. Is anyone ashamed of this achievement?
Despite the promising results of the last two years, however, many modestly situated families in both urban and rural settings are still without decent homes. Many more live in buildings that deteriorate rapidly around them. The pragmatic Nixon of the first term surely recognizes that continuing subsidies are needed to get on with the job and to narrow the financial gap that separates many families from better homes.
The housing policies of the last few years have stimulated construction, cushioned both builders and buyers from the effect of higher interest rates and greatly enlarged the number of investors in middle-income housing by offering them major tax advantages.
The fact that troubles an ideological purist is that such a housing program is almost inevitably sloppy. Its aim at precisely the families who need help the: most is never completely accurate. It persistently tangles with the presumptions of a free economy.
It's easy to prove that the tax benefits to housing investors and the subsidized interest rates cost the Government a great deal of money, while their help to the low-income, poorly housed family is only indirect. Like Madman Muntz, the fa. mous Los Angeles used-car dealer, the Government has been buying mortgages at retail prices and selling them at wholesale prices to keep interest rates down around the ceilings set by the Federal Housing Administration. All of these matters offend those who consider tidy financing more important than smooth plaster.
Finally, the wonders of a free market must charm anyone who has tried to squeeze real-life families into subsidized housing developments between the legal maximum income and the practical minimum income required to pay the rent.
All those who are concerned with the nation's persistent housing problem would readily meet with administration officials to work on the elimination of inadequacies in housing programs. The goal of this examination should be the provision of the best possible homes at the lowest possible cost for those who need them most. My worry is that the sudden termination of the programs indicates.
that the administration has a different goal in mind—a goal with abstract ideological merits rather than human ones.
If the administration frames its program to “get the national Government out of housing” or to "clarify the lines of authority” or to “return to the basie principles of a free economic system," the nation will, I'm afraid. pay for this with a serious slowdown in the construction of new housing and the modernization of old housing.
An ideologically pure administration might argue that the factors that comprise housing will adjust themselves to the new order. If housing stops, they would argue, interest rates might drop because of the lack of demand for mortgir ges. Unions might moderate their wage scales if their members suffered from a lack of work. Landlords might fix up their properties without Government intervention or assistance if they felt the needs to stimulate a demand for their apartments.
But while this intricate process unrolls--even if general economic conditions are sufficiently good to make this possible--the real, live people who need housing will grow too old to care.
HAMPTON REDEVELOPMENT AND HOUSING AUTHORITY,
Hampton, Va., January 11, 1973. Hon. THOMAS N. DOWNING, Cannon Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR TOM: I know that there is much talk around Washington concerning the Administration's plans to curtail or freeze federally-assisted housing and community development programs. For your information, I am attaching a couple of statements issued by a number of national organizations concerning the ultimate impact to the housing industry and our nation's economy resulting from a freeze.?
If the freeze is imposed, needless to say we on the Peninsula will be definitely affected, as we are in any fluctuation in the national economy. But even more important, I think, is the direct effect this action will have on our existing programs and the efforts already under way to provide housing and land for housing in our area.
Newport News, of course, is attempting to attract developers for the East End. They also are seeking public housing funds. The freeze may delay any starts from 18 to 24 months. In addition, numerous developers are applying for funds to construct housing under the FHA 235 and 236 programs to accommodate the shipyard expansion. Officials at the shipyard tell me they lose prospective employees every day because they cannot be housed. Part of our efforts, too. here in Hampton, are designed to provide housing in our redevelopment areas. And while we don't have any housing programs directly in the pipeline right now, we will definitely feel the consequences.
Of particular interest to you may be in the proposed cutback on redevelopment funds. This year the Richmond Office of HUD received only $2 million for the whole state for new redevelopment programs. If a further curtailment is initiated the supply will virtually dry up. If this happens, we will certainly be delayed in dereloping a program in the upper West Hampton area along the lines contem. plated by the West Hampton Housing Committee and the Afro-Political Reform Association. This I know will cause quite a bit of concern throughout that neighborhood.
For these reasons I hope you will join with others who are seeking to rererse this contemplated action and to restore funds authorized to house our needy citizens. Sincerely yours,
ROBERT C. WILSON,
Executive Director. STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
Columbia, S.C., February 6, 1973. Hon. SAM J. ERVIN, Jr., Chairman, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers, Senate () ffice Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR ERVIN: I appreciated so much your letter of January 15 relatire to the Executive impoundment of appropriated funds.
1 Not supplied for record.
I am enclosing for your information comments which I have received from South Carolina's State Highway Department on the withholding of Federal-aid High way funds. All good wishes and warmest regards. Sincerely,
John C. W'EST, Governor. DRAFT STATEMENT ON EFFECT OF WITHHOLDING FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY FUNDS
PURSUANT TO SENATOR ERVIN'S JANUARY 15 LETTER TO GOVERNOR WEST The Federal-aid highway program is financed from earmarked roaduser taxes which flow into the Highway Trust Fund. Congress authorizes annual apportionments from the Trust Fund to the states, with the intent that the apportionments be obligated to construction as rapidly as Trust Fund cash flow capability will permit. The goal of Congress is not to accumulate the roaduser taxes but to put them “under the rubber" as rapidly as they come in—which means that only the bare minimum cash balance should be maintained in the Trust Fund.
In July 1966 the Executive Branch of the Federal Government began holding back or preventing the states from obligating (to construction contracts) the Federal-aid apportionments authorized by Congress. These hold backs are still being made and, by the end of FI 1973. will have caused the cash balance in tlie Trust Fund to increase from about $200 million in 1966 to about $5.2 billion. This means that the Federal-aid highway program is being delayed by at least one year, while the cash balance in the Trust Fund continues to increase.
Assuming that Congress passes a highway bill and that our FY 1974 apportionment is the same as that for FY 1973, South Carolina will on June 30 have more tlian $50 inillion being held back by the Executive Branch from construction contracts. The uncertain, stop-and-go pattern of highway funding since 1966 has vrought haroc with the highway program since it has made any type of long. range construction planning virtually impossible.
It is difficult to measure the full cost of the delays which we have experienced since 1966. In addition to the grief, human suffering and property loss from denying the roadusers the safety benefits for which they have already paid (in Trust Fund taxes), there are also economic losses from denial of travel time saving (which would result were we not prevented from making improvements) and from the inflation in construction costs caused by the delays in the highway program-all while the necessary funds have been paid in and are available, but are held back to pile up in the Trust Fund.
STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN OGDEN R. REID OF NEW YORK If Congress is to maintain representative government under our Constitutional system of checks and balances, it must begin to make effective use of its power of the purse to curb the President from spending or refusing to spend money in violation of Congressional will.
The deepening crisis of impotence which now faces the Congress, while partly due to Congress' own passivity, has been brought on largely by the condescending disregard of Congressional intent, and even mandate, of many vital areas by the Executive Branch under the present Administration.
Whenever it suits him, the President disdains to consult with Congress about financial benchmark policy decisions, such as the massive Christmas bombing of North Vietnam.
Whenever it suits him, the President flatly refuses requests by Congress or its committees for information essential to the performance of its Constitutional duties, through the invocation of "executive privilege" or other de facto devices having the same result. Thus, for example, Congress has been denied access to the Administration's long term military assistance projections, which involve billions of American taxpayers' dollars.
Whenever it suits him, the President impounds money appropriated by Congress for programs it established and intends to carry out. Presently an estimated $12 billion is under impoundment, much of it for vital housing, education, and environmental programs, even where expenditures are mandated by statute and passed over the President's reto.
Whenever it suits him, the President expends funds from the Treasury for purposes never approved by Congress, as in the case of the 1970 invasion of Cambodia, which the Administration sought to justify through a highly elastic concept of self-defense.