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reorganization of the Federal housing agencies, as well as all housin problems. On this specific issue, I have asked to speak for several o these groups. Many of them, from time to time in support of the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill, and other legislation, have made it abundantly clear that they approve the type of administrative oragization recommended in the President's message. These organizations represent the people in a very real sense. They have worked in support of repeated housing recommendations from the President. They are consumers’ groups and they are concerned not with the special interests of financing, building, and lending, but in what should be the objective of these interests—the consumers of shelter.
This concern has not taken the form of an overnight endorsement of a hastily conceived program, but rather that of painstaking study and discussions, beginning long before the Taft committee hearings in the Senate, studying those hearings closely, more analysis following those hearings, and continuing discussions during and after the Senate Banking and Currency Committee hearings on the Wagner-EllenderTaft general housing bill, S. 1592. This reogranization plan for the housing agencies is not substantially different from title II of S. 1592. The objectives of that bill were endorsed by these organizations, and many others, before appropriate legislative committees and each group has been working for the early enactment of this legislation. It represents the best approach for resolving the housing crisis through aids to private and public housing. It contains a sound approach to unity in a declared Federal housing policy.
For the record, I would like to submit a list of public-interest organizations that have indicated their support of the Wagner. glo-Tai bill before the Banking and Currency Committee of the
(The referred to matter is as follows:)
NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE SUPPORTED THE WAGNER-ELLENDER-TAFT BILL
NotE.—This list does not include all the national organizations who are sup. porting S. 1592, but only those whose written evidence of support has come to our attention. Moreover, it does not include national organizations where, to date, the support has been expressed only through its local chapters without any action by the national organization. For example, many local chapters of the American Legion are now actively supporting S. 1592, but the American Legion is not yet listed along with the three other principal national veterans' organiza. tions who are actively supporting S. 1592,
American Federation of Labor.
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees.
Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen.
Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees.
Building and Construction Trades Department, A. F. of L.
Congress of Industrial Organizations.
Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers.
International Federation of Architects, Engineers, Chemists, and Technicians.
ional Federation of Technical Engineers, Architects, and Draftsmen's
National Women's Trade Union League.
Office Employees International Union.
Textile Workers Union of America.
United Automobile Workers of America.
United Cement, Lime, and Gypsum Workers International Union.
United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America.
National Association of Rural Housing.
CHURCH AND WELFARE
American Association of Social Workers.
States of America.
American Council on Race Relations.
PUBLIC INTEREST AND OTHER GROUPS
American Council on Education.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
United States Conference of Mayors. National Institute of Municipal Law Officers. Monsignor O'GRADY. The depression of the early thirties brought the Federal Government into the field of housing on a very large scale. We well remember the meeting that Mr. Hoover called when the mortgage market was shaking and called this group together in Washington in order to make recommendations, what should be done about this shaky mortgage market. First, there was the Home Loan Bank System which was designed to provide more flexible credit for lending agencies in the field of home construction. There was the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation designed to refinance the large number of home mortgages that were threatened by the deflationary process. There was the National Housing Act designed to bring commercial bank credit into the housing field by an extensive program of mortgage insurance. There was the United States Housing Act to provide temporary subsidies for housing for those who could not pay economic rents. Testimony presented before this committee during the past few days has drawn quite an artificial distinction between the activities of the Federal Government in the housing field. Why does the Federal Government enter into this field except as a part of a broad welfare program / The Government is not justified in entering into the housing field for purely business reasons. The Federal Government has no justification for entering the field of private business as such. Why did the Federal Government enter into the home-loan field except to protect the interests of hundreds of thousands of small owners? If private business had been able to provide them with the necessary protection, the Government would not have entered this field. Why did the Federal Government enter into the field of mortgage insurance? Such insurance was hardly needed to protect large owners. They have never used it and are not using it today. The only reason, as I see it, why the Federal Government entered into mortgage insurance was to protect those for whom private business could not provide the necessary protection. It was designed to increase the possibilities of home ownership for the great middle class who could not secure such ownership through ordinary private credit facilities. The Home Loan Bank System, then, and the Federal Housing Administration, are not credit agencies in the purely technical sense. They represent activities of the Federal Government carried out as a part of its large welfare activities. They have to reckon, therefore, with the interests not only of home builders and of lending agencies, but also of the great masses of the American people for whom housing should be provided at a price they can afford to pay. Under the United States Housing Act of 1937, the Federal Government decided to provide a temporary subsidy for families who could not pay economic rents. The program aimed to provide the subsidy on a temporary basis. It was assumed that with proper housing standards many of the families would soon reach the point at which they would be able to pay economic rents. The housing program for low-income groups therefore provided a solid foundation for a homeownership program. It is very important that this low-income hous
ing program should be coordinated with other governmental programs in the housing field. Now, they had their chance before the Taft committee, which was certainly not a radical committee, and that committee made a unanimous report, we must remember. So this is highly a credible institution, certainly sufficiently credible to meet the approval of every outstanding committee of the United States Senators. You would never think that from hearing what these folks are saying around here these days. It is generally recognized that housing can no longer be separated from city planning. There is increasing recognition of the importance of such planning throughout the United States. Cities must soon decide what they are going to do about their slums. They must provide programs for redevelopment of their slum areas. It is inconceivable that the American people should continue to tolerate over a long period of time the conditions that prevail in the slum areas of nearly every American city. Such conditions are a serious menace to the welfare of the people. They make family life virtually impossible for millions of people. I wonder whether or not the American people want to continue situations making family life impossible. Now, from what I learned from the testimony of these gentlemen around here, one would think that they have no concern at all for family life. They are just concerned with credit. I think they had better do what they are talkin about, and deal with private business and not with credit as a socia institution. A number of people who have appeared before your committee have stated that the President’s program for a National Housing Agency has not been carefully thought out. Surely these witnesses must be acquainted with the studies and conclusions of Senator Taft's committee on postwar housing. This committee recommended a large national unified housing program of which a central national housing agency should form an important part. ~-It is very difficult to understand the reasoning of those who state that a National Housing Agency will seriously handicap the existing activities of the Federal Government in the housing field. Each of these activities has been set up by separate acts of Congress. One can hardly imagine how a National Housing Administrator would nullify acts of Congress; if anything, a National Housing Agency with an Administrator would help the Congress to get a clearer picture of all the activities of the Federal Government in the field of housing. This was one of the basic purposes of the Reorganization Act. It was designed to bring together related activities of the Government under a number of responsible executives so as to enable Congress to get a more complete picture of governmental activities and to plan more intelligently for the future. - Those who are seriously concerned about the present housing crisis will welcome a unified approach to it. . It is necessary to have this unified approach not only on the part of the Federal Government but also on the part of each local community in the United States. To During the past 2 months I have had an opportunity of discussing local housing programs with the mayors of a number of cities in the United States scattered all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
I have had a chance of discussing with them the functions of local committees set up to plan housing programs. I did not discuss the Federal Housing Administration,
the Home Loan Bank System, the Federal Public Housing Authority, and the National Housing Agency as so many separate and independent entities. I cannot conceive of them acting as separate and independent entities in this serious housing crisis.
As I talked to mayors of cities and to Federal officials engaged in housing activities, I found myself discussing common housing programs. I found myself asking questions like these: To what extent are housing materials used for the purpose of providing homes or rental housing for veterans at a price they can afford to pay? To what extent are veterans being encouraged to build houses on which they will be unable to pay the service charges? To what extent are the people being given the real facts in regard to the housing situation? On the basis of my exprience throughout the country, I feel safe in saying that the National Housing Agency set up by Executive order has made some real strides toward a coordinated housing program. I will say that, not only on the national level but also on local level. It has made these strides in face of most powerful and well-organized opposition.
Those who are close to the housing crisis know very well that this emergency will be with us for a long time to come even if we should succeed in building the number of houses envisaged by the Wyatt program by the end of 1947. We shall still have very large unfilled needs in the housing field. The need for a national housing agency will therefore not pass with the war emergency. It will be an essential part of the continuing activities of the Federal Government in the housing field. It should provide the leadership, necessary for a proper understanding of housing as a great national problem. It is clear now that there are as yet many unexplored problems in the housing field that cannot be met except by intelligent leadership on the part of the Federal Government. We must think more and more of housing as part of a general program of city planning. Our slums cannot be continued as breeding places of vice and crime and ill health and poverty.
The American people must think of housing as an integral part of a program for the maintenance of family life. Are the American people willing to continue to tolerate conditions under which family Îife will be impossible? Are they going to permit family life in the cities to wither and decay?
The American people must think more and more of housing for the ordinary middle class at a price they can afford to pay. There must, therefore, be less emphasis on $20,000 houses, and on $10,000, and on $8,000 or even $6,000 houses. We cannot be satisfied until we have adequate housing at reasonable prices for families with incomes between $1,200 and $2,500 a year. The groups with which I am associated all over the country must keep these fundamental housing problems constantly before the American people. We need the interest and the assistance of government in the interpretation of these fundamental housing problems. We cannot secure this necessary assistance from a number of isolated housing agencies, none of which envisages the whole problem. We need an integrated Federal housing program