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families displaced, however, were relocated in federally aided public housing 11

Lack of available public housing is a major reason for failure to accommodate displaced people adequately, as indicated by many cities' responses to the ACIR-CM survey. Even where there are vacancies, moreover, there may not be enough large units for the number of large families applying. In addition, some families who meet income requirements for public housing are ineligible for other reasons: they may be barred because of police records, alcoholism, illegitimacy, disorderly conduct, mental or physical illness, rent delinquency, juvenile delinquency, or other reasons.12 The family income may be too low: a public housing project must have enough income to pay operating costs, and thus it may be necessary to maintain a distribution of incomes which limits the number of units available to the lowest income families. In recognition of this problem, the 1964 Housing Act provides an additional Federal subsidy to local housing authorities to enable them to take in more displaced families below the minimum acceptable income limit.13 Such a special subsidy already existed for the elderly.

Many eligible families reject public housing24 Although 68 percent of the families displaced by the New York's West Side renewal project were eligible for public housing, only 16 percent said they would accept it.15 Drawing on several studies, Martin Millspaugh grouped the reasons for rejection under four headings: (1) the desire to stay close to the old neighborhood, whether or not public housing is available there; (2) the feeling that public housing has a stigma; (3) unwillingness to accept the rules and regulations of publicly administered housing; and (4) dislike of the physical character of public housing projects, such as elevator living and concrete floors.16


The 46 percent of families displaced by urban renewal whose income level makes them ineligible for low-rent public housing must rely on the private market. Even if the market provides an ample supply of standard housing for their various income levels, housing needs, and neighborhood preferences, they face special problems that stem directly from the urban renewal program.?

First, demolition tends to reduce, at least for the short run, the quantity of housing available to families who live in the cleared area. Housing built in the renewed area is usually for middle and upper income families, beyond the financial means of most of the displaced. The 1954 Housing Act placed emphasis on rehabilitation for this reason, and later amendments have moved further in this direction. Even neighborhood conservation and rehabilitation, however, displaces many families. Code enforcement eliminates overcrowding or perhaps requires outright condemnation of some dwellings, forcing families out. It also forces an increase in rents to pay for required repairs and rehabilitation, again tending to cause displacement.

11 Information from unpublished data of the Urban Renewal Administration.
» Philadelphia Housing Association, Relocation in Philadelphia (1958), pp. 22–23.
32 Public Law 88-560. sec. 402.

3* This was one of the relocation problems cited in the Nashville reply to the Advisory Commission-Conference of Mayors questionnaire.

33 Citizens Housing and Planning Council of New York, Committee on Urban Redevelopment, Toward a Better New York: A Report on the Urban Renewal Problems of the City, With Recommendations (1960), pp. 14-15.

24 Martin Millspaugh, "Problems and Opportunities of Relocation," Lar and Contemporary Problems, XXVI (Winter, 1961). pp. 12–13. See also Connecticut Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Family Relocation Under Urban Renewal in Connecticut (Washington, July 1963), p. 51 : and Chester Hartman, "The Limitations of Public Housing: Relocation choices in a working-Class Community," Journal of the American Institute of Planners, XXIX (November 1963), pp. 283–296.

21 Millspaugh, op. cit., p. 14.

A second characteristic of the housing problem of families displaced by urban renewal and other Government action, distinguishing them from others contending with a limited housing supply, is the matter of timing. Displaced against their will, they cannot wait until the housing market suits them. Also, they must compete with others in the same position, such as other displacees of urban renewal and other governmental programs, new migrants to the city, and new families.

NEGROES, LARGE FAMILIES, AND THE ELDERLY Especially hard hit by displacement due to urban renewal are nonwhite families, large families, and the elderly. Rehousing these groups was high on the list of "problems” reported by cities responding to the ACIR-CM survey, particularly the rehousing of large, lowincome families. Dayton, Des Moines, Honolulu, New Haven, Norfolk, Oakland, Rochester, and Tampa were among cities making special note of these problems.

The most critical conditions confront Negroes, who represent a disproportionate part of the population occupying urban areas under renewal. Of the total number of families displaced by urban renewal in the 15 years ending on September 30, 1963, 63 percent of those for whom color was reported were nonwhite.

Nonwhites are disadvantaged in terms of education, income, employment, housing, and other social and economic characteristics. Their status is reflected in the fact that through September 30, 1963, 56 percent of displaced non whites were eligible for low-rent public housing, compared to 38 percent of whites. Moreover, even those who do have income enabling them to afford standard private housing often face obstacles of discriminatory real estate financing and zoning practices which reduce the supply of housing available to them. They find a shortage of land available to build on as well as a shortage of existing housing available to purchase or rent.18 Those above the income level necessary to qualify for low-rent public housing find it more difficult to borrow than do white families of similar economic status. As a consequence, where urban renewal has been undertaken with too little regard for the problem of displacement, it has been disparaged with the name "Negro removal." Nonwhites have been forced into already crowded housing facilities, thereby spreading blight, aggravating patterns of racial segregation, and generally defeating the social purposes of urban renewal.19

13 In commenting on "Principal Problems”. In the ACIR-CM survey, Allentown, Pa., said : “Need for more freedom of movement for minority families."

10 See annual reports of U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1959, 1961, and 1963 (Washington: Government Printing Office) ; Connecticut Advisory Committee to the U.S. Com. mission on Civil Rights, Family Relocation Under Urban Rencual in Connecticut (Wash. ington : Government Printing Office, July 1963); and Massachusetts Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Discrimination in Housing in the Boston Metro politan Area (Washington : Government Printing Office, December 1963).

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Robert C. Weaver has acknowledged the adverse impact of relocation on many Negro families:

The contradiction between national purpose and local prejudice * * * has long been evident. In many cities, low-rent public housing programs are restricted to the crowded older areas, and have resulted in the construction of new housing in an environment of blight and segregation. The Federal urban renewal program has provided the means by which local public agencies could eliminate blighted housing and deteriorated areas of the central cities; but the net gains of this program have been seriously affected in many cities because of the existence of racial prejudice and discrimination. Local attempts to relocate families displaced by urban renewal projects into decent housing and better Deighborhoods have been unsuccessful in many instances * * *. We have recognized these problems, and Federal programs are increasingly emphasizing more effective relocation at the local level. But the basic problem still harrasses us.20

Large families and the elderly are also severely affected by urban renewal displacement. The difficulties of housing large families have already been noted in connection with the shortage of large units in low-rent public housing. Large units are also in short supply in the private housing market, particularly where housing codes are enforced with respect to occupancy limits. This is one reason why code enforcement, while likely to cause less dislocation than clearance, still cannot avoid relocation entirely. Even so, public action to conserve and rehabilitate older, spacious dwellings seems a promising approach to accommodating displaced large families.

The elderly have special housing problems stemming from the “more or less inherent qualities of the aging process itself-decreasing physical ability and increasing psychological withdrawal among themand by social forces that are almost equally as inherent, such as early retirement and the impersonality of urban living." 21 With generally low income and an inadequate supply of housing attuned to their needs, the elderly are especially vulnerable to disruption caused by urban renewal and other property acquisition proposals of government. The problems are compounded for the nonwhite elderly. As a consequence of this vulnerability and the growing size of the elderly population, particularly in urban areas, considerable attention is being directed toward their relocation when forced to move.

The Special Senate Committee on Aging, in October 1962, formed a Subcommittee on Involuntary Relocation of the Elderly. It reported in preliminary findings that the elderly represent the most difficult group to relocate satisfactorily and that in many cities production of housing suitable for them and within their economic means is not keeping pace with the rate at which such units are being torn down as a result of changes in urban land uses.22

A special study of the problems of elderly relocatees is now being conducted jointly by the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Urban Studies and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, under a Ford Foundation grant. An interim report on the study takes note of the special social and psychological problems precipitated by relocation :

>> Robert C. Weaver, "Major Factors in Urban Planning," The Urban Condition, ed. Leonard J. Duhl (New York: Basic Books, 1963), p. 103.

Cniversity of Pennsylvania and National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Offcials, Essays on the Problems Faced in the Relocation of Elderly Persons (June 1963) (mimeo.). D. 29.

20.s. Senate, Developments in Aging, 1959 to 1963, a report of the Special Committee on aging. 88th Cong., 1st sess., Rept. No. 8, p. 112.

Householders are faced with having to reconstruct their lives at a time that does not coincide with a planned or desired change. They must act quickly where no autonomous action would otherwise have occurred. They must terminate relationships and break routines that especially for the elderly-have been equated with life itself.23

Under these circumstances, many people who have been uprooted by urban renewal have found it a shattering personal experience, with profound psychological and social aftereffects comparable to the grief that one experiences with the loss of a family member.24


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All families displaced by urban renewal or other government action are confronted with expenses of moving a home. Federal law authorizes localities to compensate urban renewal displacees for out-of-pocket losses attributable to "reasonable and necessary moving expenses and any actual, direct losses of property.” The limit is $200 for the family or individual. Reimbursement is financed entirely by the Federal Government. In practice, few families or individuals are compensated for "losses of property.” Ninety-eight percent of the total paid by the Federal Government has been for moving costs.

The Federal provision has been criticized for not covering costs necessarily involved in moving a family other than the direct cost of moving household goods. Items mentioned include utility deposits, appliance installations, redecorating costs, and payments of first month's rents in advance; or, if the home is purchased, down payments, closing costs, and necessary alterations. A number of cities responding to the ACIR-CM survey felt such items should be authorized for Federal reimbursement.


Extensive testimony was presented to the House Select Subcommittee on Real Property Acquisition in 1964 by experts who had conducted special studies of business relocation problems under grants from the Urban Renewal Administration and Small Business Administration.25 Dislocated businesses, they testified, are bearing a disproportionate share of the social cost of the projects which displace them. Many more of them are forced to shut their doors than are similar businesses unaffected by governmental action. A study of two urban renewal project areas concluded that the rate of business failure at least trebled during the project execution state compared with the rate of the preceding 5-year period.26

23 University of Pennsylvania and National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, op. cit., p. 41.

24 See Marc Fried, "Grieving for a Lost Home,” The Urban Condition, op. cit., pp. 151171.

25 U.S. Congress, House, Public Works Committee, Select Subcommittee on Real Property Acquisition, Hearing8, Real Property Acquisition Practices and Adequacy of Compensation in Federal and Federally-488isted Program83.88th Congo, 2d sess. 1964, especially pp. 121-132, 168-175, 190–195, 261-281, and 295–317. Also see National Federation Independent Business, Report on Survey of Adequacy of Compensation Paid to Firms Porced To Relocate Operations Due to Government Construction Projects (Washington, August 1963).

* Select Subcommittee on Real Property Acquisition, Hearings, op. cit., p. 122.

Studies of small business turnover throughout the United States show that the first 2 years of existence are the hardest, and the firm that survives 5 years has an excellent chance of continuing as long as the owner lives, or as long as there is any demand at all for the product or service it provides. Small businesses that have been operating over 5 years and then are displaced, however, show a much higher discontinuance or closing rate than similar firms not subject to displacement. The Urban Renewal Administration surveyed 50 local urban renewal agencies in 1963 to provide a representative national picture of the relocation of displaced businesses. This survey disclosed that 64.7 percent of all the displaced businesses reestablished operations while 35.3 percent went out of business.27 This is significantly above the normal rate of business disappearance or liquidation.

The dislocation problem in urban renewal is mainly one of small businesses and particularly those owned and operated by the elderly. The typical small displaced business found in studies of Boston, Providence, New Haven, and Hartford is an independent commercial establishment, a partnership, or proprietorship, rather than a corporation. Owners are usually over 60 years old and are tenants without longterm leases. Apparently, however, there is no discernible difference between the ability of tenants and owners to relocate successfully. Commercial tenants pay very low rents and occupy small space. Almost invariably, they relocate in the same city and occupy about the same area but at double the square foot rental.

Special problems they face in displacement are: (a) shortage of time in relocating; (b) the shrinking supply of suitable space and rising rent levels due to competition from other displacees; (c) the fact that timing of their move is in the hands of others; and (d) the frequent impossibility of developing an internal financial position sound enough to qualify for loans.

The elderly fare far worse than other small businessmen. They have less capital and find it more difficult to obtain outside financing, including Small Business Administration loans. They have little energy or spirit to start again in a new location. The relocation problem is particularly serious for small enterprises operated by owners who depend on them for a livelihood. These are usually retail or personal service concerns. Difficulties are severe for the least specialized types of business, such as “Mom-and-Pop” grocery stores, as well as for those that require special zoning or licenses, such as taverns and liquor stores.28 The impact on the elderly businessman is aggravated when he is a resident as well as a business operator in the displacement area. Relocation is then a personal and family disturbance as well as a threat to his livelihood.

The displaced businessman, moreover, feels the economic handicaps of age long before he reaches 65. Seniority requirements and the employer's costs of retirement and insurance programs hurt the older man's chances of becoming an employee. If he wishes to stay in business, he finds it difficult to finance the purchase of real estate and equip

77 U.S. Congress, House, Study of Compensation and Assistance ••*, op. cit., p. 29.

> Two problems cited by Rochester, N.Y., in the ACIR-CM survey were “difficulty in relocation of the neighborhood oriented business" and "restriction of movement of package liquor stores and bars to New York State Liquor Authority regulations; though recent modifications have been made in liquor code, relocation possibilities for this kind of business are still limited."

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