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confining ourselves to the specific changes and giving you our comment on that.

The CHAIRMAN. I appreciate that. I merely spoke this way for the sake of the audience in the room as well. Some people may say, "You are not holding very lengthy hearings." We are holding just as lengthy hearings as it is necessary to hold for these changes, plus the information we have in the hearings on S. 1592.

Mr. WEINFELD. We understand that thoroughly. That goes back to the fact there was a Postwar Committee on Economic Planning which itself conducted very extensive hearings before S. 1592 was introduced. There was a full review of the facts in the picture, so far as the needs for a total housing program was concerned.

I would, on this very first point, if I may, like to emphasize that on the basis of, 1, my own personal experience, and 2, on demonstrated experience on the part of the Federal Government itself.

Number 1, I mentioned, and you will forgive the reference to it, the fact that I was the first commissioner of housing in New York. It is the only State in the country which has a State-aided program which parallels Federal activity as far as aid for low-rent families and slum clearance is concerned.

That program was inaugurated with a $300,000,000 fund. It was a fund of that size at the time. The national program, as I understand it, encompassed $800,000,000 for an entire country.

I was confronted in the beginning with this very problem as to whether or not an administrator was to have control and direction of the policy of the program, but always, of course, within the framework of the legislative act, and of course in this case it would be the legislative policy as determined by the Congress.

From time to time we encountered some very difficult problems of policy. That was through necessity, because at the time that program was inaugurated in 1939 there was little actual experience as far as housing functioning by Government itself, through financial aid, was concerned. USHA had been in existence a very short period of time. In effect we were pioneering in a new field, and there were very few actual guides or precedents to which the administrator might turn.

Hence, when these difficult problems came up it was my policy to call in, as I believe it would be the policy of any sound administrator, those men who, through long experience, had some contribution to offer to the solution of the problem. And that would mean calling in, incidentally, every point of view, opposite points of view, extreme points of view, and if you please, perhaps more balanced points of view.

Out of these conferences with these different men each reflecting his own point of view, policy was determined by the one man who had the responsibility for determining it-that was the State commissioner.

I do not have the slightest doubt that in the discussions which took place, where men pressed their individual points of view, frequently not seeing eye to eye with other men in the room, that they left that conference convinced that whatever the decision the administration, rather, the administrator was going to make, would undoubtedly be the wrong decision. I dare say there were probably very few men who felt he made the right decision.

But the significance of that kind of set-up is this: You center responsibility upon one man, and as was put by a previous speaker, if, in the determination of policy, or if, in the administration of policy, there is something that does not meet the requirements of the Congress, the Congress knows where to go to assess the blame, or perhaps to give credit where credit is due.

The CHAIRMAN. It eliminates the opportunity to pass the buck.

Mr. WEINFELD. Exactly. Now, in the set-up that you have here you are dividing the responsibility. You have, as I recall it, some seven or eight men who were called upon as an advisory coordinating commission, the National Housing Commission, each, perhaps, reflecting a different point of view.

I think the ultimate result of that kind of a set-up will be that you do not get sound or fixed policy, you do not center responsibility upon one man, you make it possible there to develop a compromise policy.

What do I mean by that specifically? I think this whole bill has, as its genesis, the idea that what is required in this country is not a housing program for the low-income group, not a housing program for the low-middle-income group, not a housing program for the middleincome group, not a program of slum clearance or reclamation, but one unified program that represents the totality of our housing problem in this country. That is the basic purpose of the bill as I have always understood it.

Now, if in setting up your administrative procedure, you permit representatives of Government, no matter how sincere they are, to represent the particular parochial attitudes that are often reflected by a group who believe, for example, that the complete emphasis should be on low-rent housing, or that it should be on FHA housing, you are immediately, in my judgment, destroying the very purpose that in part gave birth to this bill, and that was that there be a comprehensive housing program which has, for its ultimate objective, a decent home for every American family.

Actually you have had Federal experience to indicate that that kind of diverse attitude on the part of governmental officials charged with this program just does not work. It was that kind of a situation which in my opinion led to the Executive order which established the National Housing Agency, and a recognition that it was a total problem, and just to turn back the pages a few years:

You had a United States Housing Authority, carrying on its activities with complete emphasis on low rent housing and slum clearance. You had the Federal Housing Administration, carrying on a different level of activity.

At another point you had the Defense Housing Coordinator. At another point you had the Federal Work Administration. Actually at the time the Executive order was issued you had 16 different agencies, and with the utmost of respect to the men who headed those agencies, each was vying for a position which would give emphasis to the particular kind of housing activity he believed in.

I say if housing is a total picture, as I believe the Senate has indicated in the past it is, and I think few will quarrel with that, you need an administrator who has a balanced sense of judgment, that takes into account every aspect of the housing program of this country. And of course its importance is not alone the housing, but on the national economy.

So I say that from the viewpoint of demonstrated experience, right within the Federal Government itself, the proposed National Housing Commission can lead but to what, to use a common expression, might degenerate, as I hope it will not, into a debating society.

You have to give, if you are going to have an effective administration, a sound policy, a single administrator, the policy-making determinations, and the power to carry out those determinations administratively.

We are disturbed at the failure of S. 866 to include provision for 95 percent insurance at a maximum of 3%1⁄2 percent interest for mutual ownership housing. These provisions in S. 1592 received almost uniform support. They were calculated to make it possible for veterans and others to unite their funds and talents so that with a minimum of down payment, large-scale, integrated projects with adequate community facilities could be constructed. We do not see the logic or the wisdom of permitting (in sec. 602 of S. 866) 95 percent insurance on small, owner-occupied homes, if individually built, but limiting to 90 percent insurance projects to be built by a group of individuals on a mutual home-ownership plan. What it means is that if scattered individuals want scattered homes, they can each go ahead on a 5-percent-down-payment basis. But if a planned largescale project, involving professional and technical assistance, and comprising those same individuals, is to be undertaken, then 10percent down payment is required. Since the latter is more carefully planned, calls for sounder construction, better operation, and a smaller risk, we urge you to consider the wisdom of reverting to the S. 1592 language on mutual ownership housing projects.

The CHAIRMAN. The present provision seems like an anomaly to you?

Mr. WEINFELD. It does, in the light of the fact that in case of single scattered ownerships you permit 95 percent insurance and where you have greater security and better planning from the community viewpoint, you do not.

We again point out the logic of placing the land assembly program in the Federal Public Housing Administration. This is even more striking a necessity now, in view of the nonoperating functions of the Administrator under title II of the bill.

We believe that this program should be in Federal Public Housing Administration for several reasons: that the aid is through loans and contributions, which is a plan of financing similar to the FPHA's lowrent housing program and one with which FPHA is intimately familiar; that the recipients of this aid are local public agencies, with whom FPHA has long been dealing; that many redevelopment plans will include low-rent housing, certainly in connection with dislocated families, which will call for local agencies dealing with FPHA.

In other words, heretofore we have had demonstrated experience over a considerable period of time. That has been nationally through the FPHA and locally through the more than 800 housing authorities that exist through the country. It seems wasteful to forego the benefit of the vast experience they have had in developing that program which has as its basis a loan and a subsidy set-up. And that experience definitely ought to be utilized, and it is particularly true, in view of title II, where you more or less sterilize the functions of the Administrator.

As I stated earlier, the National Public Housing Conference endorses S. 866. We do not want our criticism of some of the provisions of it to be construed as an attack on the bill. They are submitted in the hope that the changes recommended will make a good bill an even better one.

The CHAIRMAN. I want to thank you for your appearance. I wish I had a fraction of your knowledge on housing.

Mr. WEINFELD. Thank you, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. George W. Welsh, of Grand Rapids, Mich., representing the United States Conference of Mayors.

Mr. Welsh, do you have a prepared statement?


Mr. WELSH. Yes, sir. I have with me the assistant to the mayor of New York, Hon. William O'Dwyer, who would like to make a


My name is George W. Welsh. I am mayor of Grand Rapids and have served 10 years in that office. Prior to that I served in the Michigan Legislature, was speaker of the house in the legislature, and also Lieutenant Governor.

I am appearing before you in my capacity as president of the United States Conference of Mayors, consisting of practically every city in the country over 50,000 in population.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you still make furniture in Grand Rapids? Mr. WELSH. Some. But very good. We hope you will furnish the houses, that we can furnish the furniture for.

My testimony will be brief in accordance with the request of the chairman of this committee. To avoid repetition, the attention of the committee is invited to the testimony of the Conference of Mayors previously submitted on November 28, 1945, and December 13,1945. This is found beginning on pages 129 and 848 of the printed hearings of the last session on S. 1592.

Following up our actions in prior years, I should like to present the resolution unanimously adopted at the recent annual conference of the conference of mayors held in Washington on January 22 last. The resolution, which expresses the views of the chief executives of our most important urban centers, reads as follows:

Whereas the emergency need for adequate housing facilities continues unabated and there is a crying need for the construction throughout the Nation of many millions of dwelling units to house our returned veterans and their families, and to provide sanitary and decent accommodations for all income groups, and

Whereas costs of construction and demolition of present substandard dwellings in most urban communities are so high as to make it economically unwise for private builders to construct dwellings for all but the high-income groups of our national economy, and

Whereas the urban redevelopment acts recently adopted in many States have as yet not offered sufficient incentive to private capital to engage in any largescale construction of dwelling units designed for sale or lease to low- or moderateincome groups, and

Whereas it therefore appears essential for the Federal Congress to provide for the continued large-scale construction of publicly owned and operated low-rent housing projects, and for additional financial incentives to private capital for the development of living accommodations for moderate-income groups, and

Whereas the so-called Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill introduced in the Seventyninth Congress of the United States offered the most acceptable, and in fact the only practicable means of accomplishing the purposes aforesaid: Now therefore be it

Resolved by the United States Conference of Mayors, That we urgently petition the Eightieth Congress of the United States to take immediate action to accomplish the objectives as recited in the preamble of the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill.

If the committee will permit, I should like to have incorporated in the record at this point an important statement on this whole subject which was presented to our annual conference by Senator Taft. (The statement is as follows:)

(From the United States Municipal News-Conference Edition-January 21, 1947)


It is a great pleasure for me to come here and meet those rulers of local selfgovernment for whom I have been making speeches for a good many years, in theory at least, when we actually get down to legislation. I didn't know it was so easy, but I have always felt that the whole basis of our liberty in this country, and the retention of our liberty in this country at least, rested on the maintenance of freedom in local self-government, so people can rule themselves the way they want to be ruled, not by some bureau down here in Washington.


Of course, that requires that local governments in the States build up their own efficiencies and obtain the confidence of the people and I am quite certain that in recent years the whole art of city government has been substantially advanced by a real study, by able administration, and by a general confidence, general belief of the people that they are entitled to have a businesslike administration of local affairs.

I am going to talk on housing. I feel a little strange because we have been plunged into every other subject in the world. We are now still engaged in trying to get the Senate organized. We met not only the difficulty of taking over control after 16 years without the experience of leadership in committees and committee work, but also, at the same time we ran up against the LaFollette-Monroney bill, which throws away the old committees and creates 15 brand-new committees without existing personnel. All that personnel has to be supplied. Generous provision is made for the personnel, but it is going to take some time to get organized and, particularly in the housing field, up to date Congress has practically taken no action and there has been very little discussion, with no discussion on the Republican side. So, what I say represents my own personal views only and does not in any way speak for the conference or the steering committees, because up to this date we have not discussed those matters.


I want to discuss the whole housing problem with special reference to the great controversial feature of it, which is public housing. I have been interested in housing ever since I came down here in 1939. I think it was the first year we had a resolution to increase the amount of authorized public housing and I offered an amendment at that time to cut down that amount and to set up a committee to study the entire problem from an over-all standpoint or from the various partial standpoints which had previously been taken. In other words, any fellow who had a theory about housing came in and got a special bill. He presented the evidence for the need for that particular activity and that was adopted or not adopted by Congress without any particular consideration of the over-all problem. We had those who were in favor of the Federal Home Loan system first, then the FHA, and finally the United States Federal Housing Authority. Each of them stood on their own feet. Every year I repeated the effort to study the problem as a whole. Finally a subcommittee of the Postwar Committee, headed by Senator George, was appointed and we studied the whole problem for about a year. We heard everybody in the country who wanted to be heard and we made a report.

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