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Characteristics of family dwelling units authorized for residential construction under the housing permit regulation of Dec. 23, 1946, for the week ending Mar. 7, 1947-Con.


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Source: Division of Research and Statistics, Federal Housing Administration, Mar. 13, 1947.

Rev. Beverley M. Boyd, representing the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America.


Mr. BOYD. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am going to make a very brief statement.

I am Beverley M. Boyd, executive secretary of the department of Christian social relations of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America.

The organization which I represent is composed of 25 protestant denominations. They represent a constituency of approximately 25,000,000 people. However, I wish to make it perfectly clear that I am not presuming, nor does the council presume, to speak for all of these people. However, by the democratic process of the expressed opinion of the majority, the following resolution regarding public housing was adopted by the executive committee of the Federal Council at a meeting in June 1945.

I read the resolution as adopted:

Both in the social ideals of the churches and in many other similar statements; the churches of the Federal Council are committed to the protection of childhood and family life. Yet millions of people, because of their low income and the high rents in urban areas, are compelled to live in conditions in which the maintenance of wholesome family life is almost impossible.

Accumulated evidence of many social surveys and studies shows that bad housing is conducive to juvenile delinquency, crime, and disease. It robs homes of the God-given rights to sunlight and fresh air, denies children adequate place for play, and creates an environment tragically detrimental to the standards for childhood and the family for which the churches stand: Therefore be it

Resolved, That the executive committee of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America appeal to church members generally to support all sound and effective measures for a thorough housing program, urban and rural, including community planning for all groups and races, slum clearance and rehousing when necessary; and without passing judgment on any particular legislative proposals, approve the general principle of assistance by Federal, State, and local governments.

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I wish to add this further word:

The Federal Council has not endorsed the Senate bill S. 866, as it is the custom of the council never to endorse a bill per se. However, it does endorse the principles involved in this current bill and trusts that the Eightieth Congress will see that it is passed and becomes a law. The churches are primarily interested in people, and, being interested in people, they feel it more than essential that decent and adequate homes are provided for them.

Therefore, I trust that your committee will report favorably on this bill and that it will receive quick passage in both houses.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir.

Dr. Robert C. Weaver, please.


Dr. WEAVER. I am a member of the staff of the American Council on Race Relations, but I have been requested to present the view of the National Urban League of the National Council of Negro Women. I have a longer statement which I will not read, but simply put in our recommendations, which are more or less a matter of amendments. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, sir.

Dr. WEAVER. The American Council on Race Relations is a national nonprofit agency whose primary function it is to serve the operating agencies in the field of race relations and minority problems by furnishing authentic information, the results of basic research, the experimentation with new methods and techniques, discovery of emerging problems, exchange of experiences with programs of action, and the facilitation of cooperation in common efforts to improve race relations in the United States.

The Urban League has been engaged since 1910 in the improving of working and living conditions of Negroes. It operates at a national and at the local levels under interracial boards of responsible citicens. It has over 50 branches in cities all over the Nation and engages in research as well as action programs.

The National Council of Negro Women is a coordinating agency comprised of 19 affiliated national organizations, and 20 metropolitan councils. The aggregate memberships of the affiliated groups exceeds 800,000 women in every State in the union.

With the objectives of the proposed legislation, the organizations I represent are in full agreement, and we feel that Senate bill 866 is a significant step forward. We urge its early enactment.

The solution of the housing problems of minorities is, of course, inextricably involved in the solution of the total housing problem of the Nation. But minorities have special, additional problems.

In this connection I would like to call special attention to the testimony of Judge William Hastie, representing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune. representing the National Council of Negro Women, Reginald A. Johnson, representing the National Urban League and the present witness, representing the American Council on Race Relations at the

hearings on S. 1592 before this committee in January 1946. In those statements there is a detailed account of the peculiar problems which face minorities in their quest for shelter. The amendments and changes proposed by me today are aimed at meeting these needs and facilitating equitable participation of minorities in the Government aids provided by S. 866.

Previous testimony has indicated that the most serious problem facing minorities in their search for shelter is a lack of space in which to live. This is due principally to the growth of residential segregation-a process which has been accelerated by the widespread use of race restrictive covenants. Since certain Federal housing agencies have encouraged and facilitated such restrictive practices in land use, it is imperative that the proposed, comprehensive housing legislation contain a specific mandate requiring the various housing administrators to direct the programs under their control so as to promote the American ideal of democracy. At the same time, it is equally important that these agencies operate so as to establish that flexibility in land use which is necessary if we are to rehouse our people and make speedy progress in urban redevelopment and slum clearance.

To accomplish these objectives, it is proposed that the following be included in the declaration of policy:

(4) the rights of property common to all citizens and national policy with reference thereto as described in section 42 of title VIII of the United States Code shall be respected and promoted in the administration of all governmental aid and the exercise of all governmental power under this act.

I might say that that section reads as follows:

All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in any State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property.

Since the FHA, which would administer aids to the private construction, and the bulk of the program is in the form of aids to private enterprise, has in the past failed to secure equitable participation of minorities in its programs, the proposed bill should set forth clearly Federal policy in this respect. The need for such statement of policy is particularly pressing in relation to the yield insurance program, primarily for moderate-income groups.

It is proposed that title VII be amended to include the following provision under the section on eligibility on page 37:

In approving any project or any groups of projects in a community, the Administrator shall consider the contributions which the project, or the group of projects, makes to meeting the housing needs, as reflected by housing market analyses and other authentic evidences of needs, of all ethnic groups eligible to participate in the program; he shall not approve local programs which exclude any such groups; and he shall encourage the development of projects which will assure equitable participation by all such groups.

Although the provisions for land assembly and preparation for redevelopment contain excellent guarantees to assure relocation of present occupants, S. 866 does not give preference to displaced families in new housing. In respect to slum clearance and redevelopment programs, due to their location, many of the families displaced will be members of minority groups and will face great difficulty in securing decent and desirable permanent shelter in our cities. We join with the other witnesses in urging that preference to displaced families in new housing be rewritten into the act. Often no facilities favorably

located will be available to them, and redevelopment will mean their permanent displacement from sections of the city where they have roots and from which they can quickly reach their places of employment.

While we recognize that some individual displacement is inevitable, we feel that families which desire and are economically able to return to the site should have a chance to do so. In order to assure this, the following amendment is proposed:

In title VIII, in section 802 (local determinations and responsibility), insert the following:

4. Preference be given in the selection of tenants for dwellings built in the project area to families displaced therefrom because of clearance and redevelopment activity, who desire to live in such dwelling units and who will be able to pay rents or prices equal to rents or prices charged other families for similar comparable dwelling units built as a part of the same redevelopment.

Unless there is some such provision for their preference of the existing tenants and other provisions that I will come to in a minute, it will mean their permanent displacement from sections of the city where they have roots, and from which they can quickly reach their places of employment.

We would like, also, to have assurances that all elements in the population will participate fully in the housing which would be developed under title VIII of the proposed bill. To accomplish this aim the following amendment is proposed:

In title VIII, in section 802, one of the responsibilities of local public bodies shall be to see that the redevelopment plan assures the equitable participation of all ethnic groups in the locality as a whole.

While we are strongly in favor of redevelopment, experience teaches us that it may become an instrument for spreading residential segregation and, thereby, further complicate the problem of finding adequate areas of living for minority groups.

In order to prevent this we propose that in title VIII, in section 802, it be required that neither the land nor its improvements be restricted from use by any racial, religious, or national group.

Because of the pressing need of minorities for low-rent housing, and because of the inability of minorities to move freely or quickly into vacancies in existing housing, we urge more liberal financial provisions for publicly financed housing and that the 20-percent gap in rentals between private and public housing be eliminated.

We are vitally concerned that Senate bill 866 be speedily enacted. Racial tensions incident to housing are and have been at a point of boiling over for some time. Unless there is legislation to meet the housing needs of the Nation and unless this legislation is speedily translated into decent dwelling units, we may have open and serious conflict.

The passage of this bill would give hope to millions of overcrowded, and often suffering, families. It would be a plank in a platform for full employment. It would relieve strained nerves and make impatient citizens a little more patient.

But we are equally interested in seeing effective legislation for providing a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family. We do not believe that a true start in that direction can be made unless the minimum changes and amendments which are necessary to protect the interests of minorities in the bill under

consideration, or similar provisions to accomplish their objective, and the true objective of the bill are included at the same time that the many admirable protections incorporated in S. 866 are retained. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Doctor.

We have one concluding witness, Mr. Samuel J. Rodman.


Mr. RODMAN. I appear before this committee as a typical member of a new industry which is coming to life in this country. It is an industry that will seek to apply modern industrial production methods to the manufacture of housing with the objective of producing sound attractive homes at a price that the average American can afford. We in this industry have great hopes of what we can accomplish. We feel that there is no reason why housing should not be produced by the same modern industrial processes as clothing, household appliances, and automobiles. We feel that mass production of housing will produce the same benefits to the nation in terms of lower prices and sound products as has been true with mass production of other things.

I need not tell this committee of the importance of measures to bring down the cost of housing. We all know that the houses which are being produced today cost too much for the average veteran. We all know that the housing problems cannot be solved unless we not only produce more houses, but also produce them at a lower price and a lower rental. To accomplish this objective it is necessary that two steps be taken:

1. The capital costs of housing must be reduced.

2. The monthly financing costs of housing must also be reduced. We believe in the manufacture of housing we can achieve both of these aims. And I am very pleased to tell you that we are going in production within the next 10 days at Columbus, Ohio, in a Government-owned plant, financed to a large extent by RFC money. We hope to produce 1,700 homes for the rest of this year. Our goal is 6,000 homes for the following year.

The CHAIRMAN. Are they frame houses?

Mr. RODMAN. They are aluminum houses.

The CHAIRMAN. Something of the kind that Mr. Wyatt suggested? Mr. RODMAN. That is right.

The CHAIRMAN. The same make?

Mr. RODMAN. That is right.

The CHAIRMAN. Same concern?

Mr. RODMAN. General Homes.

The CHAIRMAN. Is that the name of the concern?

Mr. RODMAN. There were several there that Mr. Wyatt was interested in. Lustin was another one. A good many others.

Only last week a new association of housing manufacturers was organized in this city, headquarters in this city, and our common interest is to see that we go into production as quickly as possible. While General Homes is the first of the series of manufacturers to clear RFC, others are clearing very shortly.

I believe within 2 or 3 minutes I will be finished and you will know more about it.

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