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We talk about cities carrying this load. I think we had better study the load they have to carry, and I think that in studying the present load, the present conditions, and the present income from the projects, the rents as they appear at the present time, do not give us any key to this situation. We might as well throw that out of the window. I do not think there is any use in discussing that very much, because we have a considerable number of high-income families in all these projects, and as I move around among these projects-I happened to be in the city of Columbus, Ohio, last Monday. That is the first thing I asked the housing authorities: "How many high-income families do you have in these projects, and what are you doing to get them out?" That is the first question I ask. Of course, they always come back at me with the statement, "Congress passed a law last year and made it impossible for us to evict them." I say, "I think they ought to get out, anyhow, because it is reflecting on this whole program and is confusing this whole issue."
I do not think it is any answer to say that these families cannot find housing. They are in the same position with the people that you bring here, in your service, to Washington, and in the same position with all other citizens of the same income levels. That was not the purpose of the legislation, and that is not the kind of thing for which we campaigned, for which we fought, and for which we are still fighting. That is not the issue and I think that ought to be made very clear from the beginning.
Of course, as I move around the country, I discuss this housing situation, as I have discussed it with the members of the joint committee individually, as I have discussed it in very great detail with Senator McCarthy, and with his friends-I think I can say that Senator McCarthy is a friend of mine. I have no hostility toward him of any kind. I think he is an awfully fine man, and I think he is honestly trying to find a solution to this situation. I have talked to him frankly about this situation, and I think that he recognizes that there is a need here which cannot be met by private enterprise as it now exists. When you talk with the real estate people you get the same answer. I have had many answers, and I have received many critical letters from real-estate people from all over the country. They wonder why I should want to become involved in this whole controversy. My answer is that I am supposed to be working among the underprivileged and I am supposed to be battling for the cause of the underprivileged. That is the only justification I have for my interest in this field. I am not concerned about it as a political problem. I am concerned about it as a social problem, which affects the lives of thousands of our people and I want to see the problem met properly, and I want to try to get our story across to the American people, because, after all, you are the representatives of the people, we are speaking to you, we are appealing to you as their representatives, and, of course, we have the greatest respect for you as the representatives of the people.
Now, I noticed throughout the testimony yesterday the assumption that somehow or other this thing could be taken care of by the States and local communities. First, we have got to understand the size of the job, and we cannot understand it from the study of the present situation. So much should be made clear. This Detroit situation is self-supporting, you say. It is not really self-supporting, if they
get out all these high-income families. This project is going to be very, very far from self-supporting. You are still going to need a subsidy. I think that ought to be made clear, to begin with.
Now, we speak about the States and local communities solving this problem. I have watched this merry-go-round in Washington for nearly 35 years now, and I have seen a good many movements and I have watched the movements that have developed during the depression; I have watched the movements that have developed during the twenties. I have seen the development of what we call Federal responsibility. I have seen it in the Highway Act in 1915. I have watched it in vocational education. I notice, for instance, even in the beginning of the last depression-I followed very carefully what Mr. Hoover was trying to do in developing a national work program, and I have very great respect for former President Hoover. I think he is a great citizen of our country and of the world as a whole. I think he tried very hard, long before the coming of the New Deal, to develop a national work program. While he was talking to the States about undertaking their responsibility, he was also trying to develop and I saw a good deal of correspondence at that time-the foundation for many of the things that were done afterwards. I think that record has never been very fully written. The story of what he did from 1928 to 1932 has never been fully told.
I have noticed that, for instance, when the mortgage market was beginning to shake to its very foundation, people did not sit around here and say, "Let the States and cities handle it." I notice the Congress got very busy and immediately passed legislation. I remember very well the development of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. I know of many of the discussions which entered into the development of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. I do not think in that instance the people said, "You have got to go back to the States." I know there was no thought of it. The only big discussion-people thought I was too wild at the time, because I was advocating public works, and I know some of the tough economists told me that we should put Federal credit under a business structure.
Then we came along to the home loan bank. We did not think about turning that back to the States.
Nor did we, in the matter of bringing commercial credit into this field of housing, making it easier for the builders, securing their loans, up to 80 percent, through the Federal Housing Administration, when all that was in question, we did not raise the question of turning it back to the States. I am simply pointing to this matter for the record. I have noticed in the letters that came in here in the early thirties, with regard to relief, as they poured in from cities, from mayors of cities: "We cannot take care of this problem in these big cities." I noticed very quickly the change in the mentality of the Congress.
Now, it may be that we have not told our story to the American people properly. We have not brought it into their backyard sufficiently. I said to a prominent newspaper man with whom I rode down from Detroit on the plane the other day, "How about this housing issue?" He said, "Well, it is a secondary issue. I do not think you have brought your story close enough to the American people yet." Well, maybe that is true. Perhaps we need to tell them the story a little bit more clearly. Perhap it needs to be dramatized a little more fully. Because, after all, the members of this committee are going to reflect,
in their decision, I assume, the thinking of the American people as to this entire matter, and perhaps the people will have decided, at least for the time being, within the next week, what the decision of this present Congress will be. You will decide pretty much what the people of the United States are going to do about this serious housing problem for the underprivileged groups within this next week.
We have had a great many groups interested in this legislation. I think nearly all the prominent national church organizations have been committed to this legislation. All the large groups of women in the United States have been committed to it. I think all these organizations are quite conservative at least those of them with which I have been associated. So I feel very strongly that this section of the bill, this public housing section of the bill-I know it is the most controversial section of this entire bill. I have noticed in the bill, as it points its objectives, that one of them is slum clearance, and urban redevelopment. There is a section of the bill dealing with that. There is no controversy whatsoever, apparently, in regard to redevelopment. In regard to the clearing of slums, all the cities believe that their slums must be cleared up. You cannot permit cities to keep on deteriorating at the center and extending their areas without limit. I think it is inevitable that the cities are going to have to rebuild their slums and tear down those slums. There does not seem to be any question about that. But what to do with the people in the slums? That is the big question. That is still the question before this committee. As I gather, it is the basic question before this committee.
I feel that in social security we have come to regard a part of the relief burden of the United States as a national problem. We are contributing to old-age assistance large sums of money. I happen to be a pioneer in that movement for the care of the aged. The Federal Government has been in that field very heavily. We did not keep on saying, in 1935, "Turn it back to the States. Why do the States not handle it?" For a long time, of course, we said the States should handle it. In the beginning, of course, there was a real question. I remember when I was with the Ohio commission studying that problem, I talked to former Governor Cox, and I suggested the State might find $100,000 to study that problem. He said, "You had better turn it back to the cities and counties. I do not see how the State could find $100,000 for that." And I suppose Ohio is now spending several million dollars on it.
That is the basic issue, as I see it, before the committee at the present time. I think this problem has to be faced as a national problem. There seems to be no question about the basic problem itself. There is no question about clearing the slums and redeveloping our cities. That is not in controversy. But the question is: How are we going to meet this problem of providing housing for those who cannot pay economic rents?
I am still hearing a good deal, behind the sets, about a needs test. I have worked on needs tests a good deal throughout my life. As secretary of the Catholic Charities, I have had to deal with needs tests, I have had to administer agencies that had to serve people on the basis of need. I hear a good deal about taking care of the neediest cases, and I have tried at times to figure how we could do it. We are thinking about this, remember, as a temporary thing, as temporary
housing, for people in low-income groups, until such time as they are able to pay economic rents. We want to build them up.
I wonder how a community housing project, housing all relief families, and the very neediest of relief families, how you would build people up in such a community is past me. I might as well talk about reforming delinquents in our present institutions for delinquents. That makes them still more delinquent. That is what is really happening in fact. So I look on housing as I look on old-age pensions, workmen's compensation, social security. It is a benefit administered on the basis of a general principle. If a man falls into a certain income category, I want to keep him out of the relief category. Because I know from my experience with relief families that it is pretty difficult to lift them out of the relief category once they get into it. I do not figure these folks in housing, even at low-income groups, as belonging entirely, or even the majority of them, belonging to the relief category. I am figuring them as people I am trying to keep out of the relief category so that I can prepare them for home ownership. I would like to keep talking about this thing from the standpoint of preparing for home ownership. And I would like to see a little more discussion, amongst these groups of people discussing these problems now, all these representatives of our great real-estate interests and I am sure they are all fine people-I would like to see I am sure. All men, in their better moments, want to do the right them concentrate on that problem. They want to do the right thing, anyhow. We all do, I guess.
Mr. TALLE. Perhaps the trouble is there are not enough of those
Monsignor O'GRADY. Perhaps that is so, Congressman Talle. But I am sure that we do want to help people to own their own homes in the long run. That is America's ideal, that is the ideal of our people, to own their own homes as soon as they can. And we must do everything possible to prepare them for the ownership of homes.
I am not pessimistic by any means. I do not see a new Home Owners' Loan Corporation on the horizon. I hope not. I hope we never reach that type of situation again. Yet I have a kind of feeling that the houses I see all around the country which were built under title VI, I have a great question whether people who are earning $50 a week, or veterans, for example, can hold onto those houses and what is going to happen to them in the next 5 to 10 years, what is going to happen to those mortgages. I am greatly concerned about that. People around here tell me about this $150,000,000 for public housing. I am wondering what we are taking on in this continuing of title VI. I am just wondering all the time whether or not we are thinking about it from a purely speculative angle of an immediate profit for certain people, whether there is not too much thinking along those lines, and whether or not it is really preparing us for home ownership, which again, I say, should be our motto. Home ownership is my motto, and I wonder whether or not the houses which we are erecting under title VI are, at the present time—and it is the only title being used, practically-is a good thing.
The Federal Housing Administration, of course, is not being used very extensively outside of title VI. I think that is really a serious problem.
I have a second objective. Besides taking care of the needs of lowincome families, which I think are real needs-and I think we must continue that crusade in order to find some method of taking care of these underprivileged groups-still I have another objective. I would like to see this committee give more thought to the matter of cooperatives. On that point I want to quote from a statement made by a prominent member of this committee at one time. He told a small group of people, in regard to an investigation which he, as a member of a committee, had made in Europe: "The committee would be unanimous in saying that there is no place in Europe where they discovered housing equal to that which we had in the United States except in Sweden." Then he said, "I cannot understand why we cannot have in the United States these nice apartment houses and other housing developments that they have in Sweden." Immediately another member of the Congress remarked that this was due to the cooperatives in Sweden. The member of this committee who had presented the opinion replied, "Yes, but the Government also had something to do with it."
I think the Government ought to have something to do with cooperatives, and I think we need a little bit of a change in mentality on the part of our Government agencies who are dealing with housing in regard to this whole question of cooperatives.
I think cooperatives are one of our basic hopes in the development of a program for the middle income groups. Perhaps in time, as they have done in other countries, as they have done in Nova Scotia, as they have done in Sweden, and Denmark, perhaps they will reach down more and more into these low income groups.
But cooperatives need to be fostered. And I think instead of being fostered at the present time they are being discouraged. I find groups around the country which would like to develop some cooperative housing at the present time, but they are not getting much help or encouragement from the committee. I do not think that this bill, in its present form, is going to do the trick. I think it is concentrated too much on the financial end. We will loan them money. We have a 95 percent guarantee. I do not think that is sufficient to meet this important problem.
Cooperatives need to be fostered. I saw some cooperative stores in Detroit the other day which are being operated by the United Automobile Workers, and I think they are doing a good job. And the United Automobile Workers would like to go into cooperative housing. I have been interested, for instance, in a project in South Bend, Ind. But even they have not been getting much encouragement. I do not find them getting much encouragement from Government anywhere. I think there ought to be a special division in the Federal Housing Administration which would concentrate on encouraging cooperatives. I think it has to develop gradually.
Sometimes you begin with a credit union. Before you start a large housing project, there are other steps. A cooperative is something that has to be nurtured. It is the spirit. It is not just mechanical. There is no profit motive. You have to get people who are bound together by common interests, people with proper leadership. I think we are beginning to get a lot of that kind of thing in our American neighborhoods. I have seen them grow up. I was just talking to my own Congressman about that matter in a situation we are having