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would be even a larger figure now, whereas my report here shows that there are only $6,000,000,000. That means that there is $10,000,000,000 alone in life insurance companies at the present time which could seek investment in mortgage loans. There is a tremendous pool there.
But, touching on life insurance companies, I have conferred with members of our life insurance company committees. I have also conferred with our bank member committees and others throughout the association. So this report would represent, in the main, the general cross section of opinion of the Mortgage Bankers Association. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Senator ELLENDER. Mr. Mahan, I did not hear all of your testimony, but you feel that something should be done to clear the slums, don't you?
Mr. MAHAN. Yes. We believe
Senator ELLENDER. Will you give us your prescription, or a prescription, as to how to do it?
Mr. MAHAN. We believe that the principal incentive should be at the
Senator ELLENDER. Not incentive. Do it. Doing of the act.
Mr. MAHAN. At the lower level. And Mr. Farr is going to present the argument of the Urban League. I have had a chance to just briefly review his testimony, and I think we subscribe largely to his formula. You are familiar with the Indianapolis, Ind., plan. You will have some testimony this afternoon on that, and rather than encumber your time with my statement, which is not directly on that phase of the subject, I would rather give those who are more familiar with it
Senator ELLENDER. That is the answer that I usually get from a lot of them. They pass the buck to someone else. You are opposing this bill, and, as I understand, your principal objection is to the publichousing feature of this bill. Is that true?
Mr. MAHAN. That is right.
Mr. MAHAN. That is right.
Senator ELLENDER. And I believe that that holds true for all of the opponents to this bill.
Mr. MAHAN. I would not agree to that. I say this: I think principally it gets back, Senator Ellender, to your principles and philosophy of government. We recognize and we know that the slums are here, and they are right in our midst. I see them every night as I ride home, to my home in St. Louis.
Senator ELLENDER. Yes. How does it make you feel?
Senator ELLENDER. Yes.
Mr. MAHAN. That something should be done about it.
Senator ELLENDER. All right. Well, that is—
Mr. MAHAN. Now, on the other hand, I feel that-and I see it in our city, and we will
Senator ELLENDER. You can walk 2 blocks from here and see it, if you want to see it.
Mr. MAHAN. Yes.
Senator ELLENDER. Right here in this great capital of ours.
The CHAIRMAN. This is Senator Mitchell.
Mr. MAHAN. Senator Mitchell-that the cities have got to do something, and I think and I know what we are doing in St. Louis. I think we are trying at the present time to develop a formula and to develop a plan which will encourage some development locally which will improve our slums.
Senator ELLENDER. How long have you been working on it?
Mr. MAHAN. Unfortunately we had delayed action in St. Louis. It has been about
Senator ELLENDER. How is that?
Mr. MAHAN. It has been about 2 years now.
Senator ELLENDER. Two years.
Mr. MAHAN. And it has only been about a year that we have had a definite committee appointed, with which you are familiar.
Senator ELLENDER. Yes. Well, I think a survey was made in this city, our great capital, oh, just some time ago, of the housing built during a certain period before the war and since; and less than 3 percent of the houses built were available to 14 percent of the families who couldn't pay a really economic rent. In other words, you had a group of roughly 14 percent of the families that were doubling up. They were crowded to the extreme; no way to provide for them. And those are the situations that we in this bill are trying to cure, trying to give aid to accomplish, and we have tried to surround the whole law with as many incentives as we could to permit private capital to do the job.
Under this bill, bear this in mind, that it is unlike the present housing bill in that everything must originate with aid from the local level, and it is not until private enterprise has been given the opportunity to do the job, and it is not until the city of St. Louis Council indicates that private enterprise can't do the whole job, that the local authority can come here to Washington for assistance.
Now if you can suggest any other method to further protect private enterprise, let us have it.
Mr. MAHAN. I do think this, and I firmly think this, that I have seen the thinking in our cities and the thinking among the banking group and the lending group. I think that you are going to see much improvement, and I think you have done a lot in getting local opinion developed to the point that they are thinking about housing. Senator ELLENDER. But we have a
Mr. MAHAN. Now let me point out, certainly you would not want to start public housing at this time. Even those who advocate public housing, I think most of them, are of the opinion that public housing should be delayed until private enterprise can se what they can do. Senator ELLENDER. The bill provides that. The bill gives you that opportunity. The bill gives the local authority the opportunityand when I say local authority, I mean all the people in the localityto make a survey of the entire housing need of a community; and after that survey is made, then the thing is: How much of it can private enterprise do?
Mr. MAHAN. We had some experience in St. Louis in public housing in two projects which you are familiar with. You are quite familiar with St. Louis. You have been there on several occasions. Senator ELLENDER. Yes.
Mr. MAHAN. Certainly that is not the answer in our local community. I am not an authority on public housing, but certainly that is not an answer.
Senator ELLENDER. Oh, mistakes have been done all around.
Mr. MAHAN. It is an absolutely different case. That is the point. Senator ELLENDER. I grant that in many communities mistakes were made. But you will grant, though, that there has been considerable improvement as time went on.
Mr. MAHAN. That is right.
Senator ELLENDER. Surely.
Mr. MAHAN. I have another experiment there which we can point to, in Neighborhood Gardens. I am sorry that I haven't more data on that particular phase of this. I was touching more on the loan features than I was on the public-housing features, but Neighborhood Gardens was started before the public-housing program developed in the thirties.
Senator ELLENDER. 1937.
Mr. MAHAN. And this was built in 1934. It was built by private enterprise, and it shows to me what can be done by private enterprise. It is very well organized and well operated-so much better so than the public housing which has been developed there that it stands out in rank contrast to it. It has paid its way. It has served a lowerincome group. The rents in Neighborhood Gardens have been at the peak
Senator ELLENDER. Do you know at what rentals families are being served?
Mr. MAHAN. Yes; they are about-first of all, the rents: Comparable rents in Neighborhood Gardens would be about $55 in other sections. In Neighborhood Gardens they are about 25 to 30 percent less than the comparable rents in other parts of the city.
Senator ELLENDER. How much a month would that be, about?
Senator ELLENDER. You have a lot of people in St. Louis who earn from $800 to $1,200, don't you, per year? At least, you had, and you will have when we get back to normalcy.
Mr. MAHAN. There are fewer of them now than there were.
Senator ELLENDER. How would you take care of those people in those Gardens that you refer to?
Mr. MAHAN. I don't think you could, in Neighborhood Gardens. Senator ELLENDER. No.
Mr. MAHAN. I think that they would have to have lesser-the appointments in those apartments are comparable to $55 rents in other places.
Senator ELLENDER. We have a lot here in Washington that can obtain rent at $45, $50, $55, but they don't have the wherewithal to pay it.
Mr. MAHAN. I wish I could-I didn't want to bring out here a contrast of Government housing, but the thought did occur to me that it would have been very well to bring to this committee the pictures of our public housing, and it is certain to be commendable. It is not the answer to our problem as far as St. Louis is concerned. Senator ELLENDER. I wish you would give it to us. That is what I would like. I am as much in favor of private enterprise as you
ever been, but what I want to do: You admit that you want to clear the slums. So do I. We have offered a plan here. Now, if you folks can find a better one, talk; give it to us.
Mr. MAHAN. Possibly we
Senator ELLENDER. Ånd not simply criticize.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
(Mr. Mahan withdrew from the committee table.)
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Marquette. Bleecker Marquette.
STATEMENT OF BLEECKER MARQUETTE ON BEHALF OF NATIONAL COUNCIL OF HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS AND THE OHIO HOUSING COUNCIL
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Marquette, you represent the National Council of Housing Associations; is that right?
Mr. MARQUETTE. And also the Ohio Housing Council and the Public Health Federation of Cincinnati, made up of all public and private health agencies, hospitals, clinics, and the professions of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy. I happen to be the executive secretary for 25 years of that comprehensive health organization in Cincinnati.
The CHAIRMAN. Very glad to hear from you, then.
Mr. MARQUETTE. Mr. Chairman, may I, before I come to the memorandum which has been prepared, discuss what has just been presented? I should like to say what Senator Ellender said. Having been for nearly 30 years partly in the occupation of improving housing at all levels and through all possible means, I am just as much in favor of private housing as anybody else can be, and in all those years when we tried every measure at all possible or suggested-legislation, limited-dividend housing corporations, every kind of inducement, encouragement, that anybody could suggest that seemed to be feasible, and I saw them fail one after the other, and the organization that I represent is made up of citizens representing industry, labor, lawyers, doctors, women interested in civic affairs, and architects-an exact cross section of public opinion that is just as much interested as anybody is in the private-enterprise system, and which became convinced, after those years of seeing the slums remain just as they were until 1933 when the program began for public housing.
Now, I know something about the Neighborhood Gardens because I happened to be called in there as an adviser in the very early beginnings when they were thinking of a kind of a concrete barracks business, which I fortunately was able to steer them away from. It is a good project. But what good, when we are talking about people of very low income, the $25-a-week man that is referred to in your excellent report of the Committee on Postwar Housing, are $40 to $55 a month rents?
Now, I am for that. It is an excellent project, and God knows we need more of them, and if I understand the principles of this bill that is precisely what you are trying to do, is to get private enterprise to come down to this middle market which nobody is catering to now. Public housing can't, and we don't want it to, and neither can private housing, as a matter of actual economics. But I wonder if the gentleman from St. Louis happens to know what his own city-planning com
mission disclosed, and it is in their records. The cost to the community, to the taxpayers of St. Louis, of slums is $5,000,000 a year, by the estimate of their city-planning commission, which is not an organization favorable to public housing. Those are factual data.
The proposal is made that all the provisions having to do with FHA should be taken out of this bill and put in a separate bill. I think that is a very limited kind of thinking. The housing problem is a generalized problem facing the entire community, and we are not going to meet it by separating it into compartments. We tried that before. We have seen how FHA worked during the war, and I haven't seen any sound fundamental criticism, nor did I hear it in the course of that discussion, and I think it is not a tenable proposal.
It was said that this is primarily a public-housing bill. Well, I am sorry that that was said, because it is in the face of the evidence in the bill itself. You limit public housing to approximately 10 percent of the need for housing as shown to you in very careful statistical records presented in great volumes, copies of which I have. Ten percent. Now, if the bill presumes
The CHAIRMAN. It really ought to be more.
Mr. MARQUETTE. I beg your pardon?
The CHAIRMAN. It really ought to be more.
Mr. MARQUETTE. Yes; I think it will have to be more, and I am perfectly willing to limit it to that.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. MARQUETTE. I agree with you a hundred percent, to make it the minimum. We don't want any more public housing. We want the elimination of public housing whenever either incomes come up or any way is found to bring costs down. But that way has not been found yet, and I don't know anybody else who is willing to guarantee that incomes will go up, or even that they will stay where they were. They aren't staying where they were during the war period.
Research: To be put back where it was before. That didn't do the job. We have got to have the kind of research that goes to the heart of the housing problem, that goes into costs, that goes into the matters of building costs and zoning and all the other things that you have listed, under a real research department and which is looking at the thing in the long and broad view; and I take it that that section is primarily intended-at least, I regard it as primarily intended to place at the disposal of private enterprise every assistance in the way of or results of knowledge of the experience of every public-housing project and every private-housing project to see what we can learn about lower cost, better planning, better management, design, operation, and the whole story, and I think that that provision is very well-founded.
I challenge the figures presented to you about the average cost. I am not sure I took them down correctly, but as I understood it it was $4,500 in 1940, which sounds probably correct, but $3,260 in 1942 is not right, and I suggest that you ask for the exact data upon which that was based and ask the National Housing Agency to find out where they came from. I suspect that it includes temporary housing built during the war. I know that in my own community it is impossible today to build anything that is decent and standard for less than $8,000, and I have been working on it. We are