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laws in this State was the belief that it would enable the people of this State to secure the maximum benefit obtainable from the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill, if it should pass Congress.
We trust that it will be helpful to your committee to have this expression of our feelings and convictions with regard to the benefits of the bill under consideration.
V. C. LUYBEN, Secretary.
NATIONAL HOUSING AGENCY, Washington 25, D. C., April 2, 1947.
Hon. CHARLES W. TOBEY,
Chairman, Banking and Currency Committee, United States Senate,
Washington, D. C.
MY DEAR SENATOR TOBEY: In view of the fact that during the hearings before your committee on S. 866 various statements were made concerning certain data of the Bureau of the Census and the definitions upon which they are based, I am transmitting herewith a copy of the March 31 letter from Mr. J. C. Capt, Director of the Bureau of the Census, in which this matter is discussed in detail. Under the circumstances, you may wish to make this a part of the printed hearings on S. 866.
RAYMOND M. FOLEY, Administrator.
DEPAREMENT OF COMMERCE,
BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, Washington 25, March 31, 1947.
Mr. MALCOLM B. CATLIN,
Acting Director, Office of Housing Economics,
National Housing Agency, Washington 25, D. C. DEAR MR. CATLIN: I have your letter of today requesting a review of Mr. Herbert Nelson's testimony before the Banking and Currency Committees of the House and Senate in which Mr. Nelson made a number of statements about some of the figures of the Bureau of the Census and the definitions upon which they are based. The points on housing and population made by Mr. Nelson have been discussed with him in the past by members of my staff.
Before undertaking to comment on Mr. Nelson's specific statements I should like to make the point that the Bureau of the Census, as a fact-finding agency providing figures for many users, both public and private, is continuously attempting to find the definitions and methods which will make its statistics most generally useful. I should be the last to dispute the fact that our statistics and definitions are occasionally misused, for the tendency of protagonists or antagonists of any cause to use or misuse whatever materials come to hand is a well-known human characteristic over which the Bureau of the Census has and seeks no control.
We have had and shall continue to have meetings with our users in order to determine what improvements can be made in our statistical product. Consequently, with respect to all the matters outlined below, we do not regard the present definitions as fixed for all time, but are striving to consider means of improvement, here as elsewhere. The following numbered paragraphs cover the major points in Mr. Nelson's statement:
(1) One-person family.-While long continued usage does not prove that a term is satisfactory, it may be noted that this term has been in use for the last six decennial censuses, over 50 years, of population and that no serious criticism has been made of it hitherto. For your information, I am enclosing excerpts from the publications and instructions to enumerators for the censuses of 1890 through 1930, defining "family."
In addition, it should be noted that for the stenographer living alone in a bedroom of a boarding house to be considered as a "one-person family" by the Bureau of the Census, the qarters she occupies would have to meet the definition of a dwelling unit, as given below:
It has not been entirely clear to us why an attack has been made on the phrase "one-person family," since the use of this phrase does not seem to involve any misrepresentation of the total demand for housing. For example, if we should replace the phrase by something like "one-person household" or "one-person unit" and still limit the term to individuals living alone in a separate dwelling
unit the total demand for housing as shown by the figures would not thereby be increased or decreased.
This information was brought to the attention of Mr. Nelson's organization in my letters of October 18 and November 8, 1946, and at meetings held with representatives of his group on November 19, 1946, and January 9, and March 4, 1947. (2) Bathrooms.-The basic units of enumeration used in population surveys conducted by the Bureau of the Census are the dwelling unit and the household. A household is defined as a group of persons living together, with common housekeeping arrangements, in the same living quarters. A room or group of rooms occupied or intended for occupany as separate living quarters, by a household, constitute a dwelling unit. In a structure where several persons or groups of persons share some or all of the housekeeping facilities, each person or group of persons that meets one or more of the following conditions is considered a separate household, occupying a separate dwelling unit: (a) Each group has exclusive use of all rooms it occupies; (b) each group has exclusive use of all rooms it occupies, except the bathroom; or (c) each group has exclusive use of all rooms it occupies except the kitchen, provided that each group prepares its food separately. However, if food is not prepared separately, all persons are considered one household.
In the case of Mr. Nelson's example of the nice six-room house with only one bath and with two rooms upstairs rented to a son-in-law and his wife, the quarters occupied by the young people would have to meet one of the conditions listed above before the space occupied by them would be considered as a separate dwelling unit. Only under such circumstances would this dwelling unit become a two-family structure with neither unit having a private bath but with the occupants of both units having a shared bath. Usually a young couple living with the parents of one eat at the common table, and share living expenses. A group living together on this basis is considered by the Bureau of the Census as one household and occupying one dwelling unit (with private bath in the case cited). If, on the other hand, the young couple had exclusive use of all the rooms they occupied except the bath; or did not eat at a common table; or did not use any of the rooms occupied by the parents, the structure would be reported as containing two dwelling units and classified as a two-family structure with both units having a shared bath. The number of such units with shared bath is shown in the census release, series H-46, No. 1.
This information was brought to the attention of Mr. Nelson's organization in a letter dated October 18, 1946.
(3) Major repairs.―The Bureau of the Census in its instructions to the enumerators does not state that "any structural defect" causes the structure being enumerated to be considered as in need of major repairs. The following quotation from the instructors to enumerators for the 1940 census of housing may be of interest to you in relation to Mr. Nelson's statement:
"Check 'Yes' when parts of the structure such as floors, roof, plaster, walls, or foundation require major repairs or replacements. A repair is major when its continued neglect will seriously impair the soundness of the structure and create a hazard to its safety as a place of residence. Also check 'Yes' if these needed repairs have been neglected so long that the structure is already unsound. Check 'No' if structural repairs are not required, that is, if the structure is in good condition or needs only minor repairs or maintenance work such as papering, painting, stopping of small leaks, pointing up of masonry, or similar work." It is not the intention of the Bureau of the Census to classify a structure as "in need of major repairs," in the case of only the missing shingle or the hairline crack specified by Mr. Nelson, on the basis that continued neglect of such minor repairs would seriously impair the soundness of the structure and create a hazard to its safety as a place of residence. It is doubtful if any census enumerator classified a structure as in need of major repairs on the basis of such minor defects. However, the 1940 census required the services of more than 100,000 enumerators who classified some 35,000 030 dwelling units, and some errors in judgment and in the application of definitions are bound to arise in an undertaking of this magnitude.
The Bureau of the Census recognizes the inaccuracies that may arise from the subjective question on repair and has endeavored to obtain a more objective approach to this problem for use in future surveys. A number of meetings have been held with Mr. Nelson and other representatives of the real estate groups to solve this problem. In the meantime, however, we are continuing to use this
classification, since it appears to have given results useful for many types of analysis and has shown no significant evidence of abuse such as that cited by Mr. Nelson.
I am enclosing a photostat copy of the letter and statements which you sent me and upon which this letter is based.
J. C. CAPT, Director.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE,
EXCERPTS FROM THE PUBLICATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS TO ENUMERATORS FOR THE CENSUSES OF 1890 To 1930
Eleventh Census of the United States, 1890 (p. 188, par. 7, in part)—"The word 'family,' for the purposes of the census, includes * * all persons living alone, * * *""
Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900, vol. II (p. 158, par. 1)—"The word 'family' as used for census purposes, may stand for an individual living alone in any place of abode." Definition of "family," Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910.-"The term 'family' as here used means a household or group of persons, whether related by blood or not, who live together as one household, usually sharing the same table. One person living alone is counted as a family,
Definition of "family," Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920.-"The term 'family' as used in the census, signifies a group of persons whether related by blood or not, who live together as one household, usually sharing the same table. One person living alone is counted as a family, "The term 'family', as it is used in the 1930 census, is * * * defined in general as a group of persons, related either by blood or by marriage or adoption, who live together as one household, usually sharing the same table. Single persons living alone are counted as families,
SAN MATEO, CALIF., March 28, 1947.
CHAIRMAN OF BANKING AND CURRENCY COMMITTEE,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.
DEAR SIR: It is my understanding that you have before your committee the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill.
I am a veteran of this war, having served 51⁄2 years in the United States Army, Corps of Engineers. It was my understanding that we were fighting a war against total socialization and governmental control of lives and activities. The very purpose of this bill is to establish a governmental control over one of our most vital phases of living, namely housing. At a time when we are just beginning to be relieved of a vast number of governmental restrictions, it seems unnecessary to add one more.
I sincerely believe that if private enterprise is given the unfettered opportunity to produce adequate housing, it will produce more and better housing than any governmental agency, and at a greatly reduced cost per unit.
Fortunately I have been able to purchase my own home and am at this time continuing to invest my money in such property. The program to be established under the W-E-T bill will necessarily remove from taxation additional areas of land and will add increased burdens to the local tax structure without any, or at least inadequate, recompense, with a resulting increase of the tax burden on the private property owner.
I believe that it is high time we stopped adding more Government agencies regardless of their purpose, and started to consolidate and reduce the over-all Federal pay roll.
It is my desire, and that of many of my friends, that you vote against this bill.
Very truly yours,
RAY T. MARSH.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MUNICIPAL LAW OFFICERS,
Hon. CHARLES W. TOBEY,
Washington, D. C.
DEAR SENATOR TOBEY: On March 27 I wrote to you with reference to this organization's support of S. 866, upon which your committee has been holding hearings. The concern of our member municipalities-463 cities located in all States throughout the Nation-is still so great, and I have been contacted by so many of our members that I asked our special legal consultant on housing, Mr. Philip H. Hill, to prepare an additional statement on this important legislation.
Mr. Hill has made an analysis of the testimony before your committee and has prepared the attached statement as our analysis of this testimony and our suggestions for changes in S. 866. Mr. Hill has, at my request, made this statement very brief in form, and we earnestly request that you include it in the printed hearings before your committee.
Thanking you very much for your attention to this matter, I remain
Very sincerely yours,
HERMAN C. WILSON, President.
On March 27, 1947, Mr. Herman C. Wilson, president of the National Institute of Municipal Law Officers, wrote to you a short letter indicating this organization's support of S. 866, the successor bill to S. 1592. Because of the nature of the opposition testimony that was presented before your committee during the past week and which has come to our attention, the institute desires to submit this more specific statement to indicate its complete and definite support of the programs embodied in S. 866.
In our judgment, testimony in opposition to S. 866 has been based in large degree on a complete distortion of the facts, and upon a confusion of unrelated emergency housing programs (such as the program for war workers, the veterans' emergency housing program and the PWA depression-make-work program) with the altogether different programs provided or extended in S. 866. We should like to point out also that most of the opposition testimony essentially represented a repetition of arguments and objections made 2 years ago before the Taft Subcommittee on Housing and Urban Redevelopment, and last year before your committee in connection with S. 1592, and which both committees and the full Senate rejected.
With respect to our specific comments on the changes in S. 866 as compared with S. 1592, our views are as follows:
1. Title II-National Housing Commission.-We indicated last year our support for a coordination of the Federal housing activities of the Government so as to make possible a consistent and complete Federal housing policy. Our municipalities, as much as any other group, have suffered from the confusion, overlapping activities, and inconsistencies that have resulted from the chaotic situation before the war when each Government housing agency went its own way. While this institute has favored the type of organization provided in title I of S. 1592, and considers it preferable to the type of organization provided in S. 836, it feels that the important thing is to obtain coordination.
2. Title III-Federal Home Loan Bank Administration, Federal Housing Administration, and Federal Public Housing Authority.-The institute agrees with the changes embodied in this title and is particularly in favor of the consolidation of all direct housing functions of the Government in a single agency as provided in this title.
3. Title IV-Housing Research.-In our statement last year, we favored the $12,500,000 authorization for a 5-year program of research as contained in S. 1592 as introduced, and with the $25,000,000 authorization in Federal grants for local planning and community surveys, as contained in S. 1592 as passed by the Senate. We feel that the contribution an effective program of housing research can make toward the reduction of the cost of housing, and the contribution that a program of Federal fiscal aid for local planning can make in giving our local communities an effective start in assuming the basic responsibilities on housing, cannot be overemphasized. We therefore recommend that both these authorizations omitted in S 866, be reinserted.
4. Title V-Existing Home Ownership and Rental Housing Aids; Title VI— Home Ownership and Rental Housing for Families of Lower Income; Title VII— Yield Insurance for Rental Housing.-We continue to favor the programs embodied in these titles. In view of the arguments made last week against titles VI
and VII by certain groups, we should like to point out that while credit is more liberal now than it has been in the past, as indicated in the findings of the Taft subcommittee, and your committee last year, it is still not available on terms which will meet the needs of our more moderate income families, in the case of both home ownership and rental housing.
In connection particularly with the testimony on the yield insurance title to the effect that insurance companies are now investing in rental housing without this type of incentive, it is significant that the relatively few projects of this type are essentially being carried out by the larger insurance companies. The testimony itself was to the effect that the housing being provided by such companies was at $14 to $16 per room per month and higher and so beyond the reach of our moderate-income groups. In connection with statements that industry does not need and would not avail itself of yield insurance, it is to be noted that some of the organizations that have been making the most effective use of FHA's existing programs were among the most vocal opponents to these programs when originally introduced in the early thirties.
5. Title VIII-Land Assembly and Preparation for Redevelopment.-The institute agrees with statements made by some of the opposing witnesses that slum clearance is a separate program from housing and should be treated separately. The fact is, of course, that S. 866, like 1592, expressly recognizes this and so provides.
The three basic changes in title VIII from the point of view of the institute are those with respect to the amount of local participation, the annual examination of receipts and expenditures of the local public agencies, and the prohibition against delegation by the National Housing Administrator of any of his functions under this program to an existing Federal agency.
The institute is in favor of the elimination of the provision in S. 1592 requiring the annual examination and supervision of receipts and expenditures of the local public agency.
We are not in favor, however, of the more stringent requirements in S. 866 as to the amount of local participation, and we likewise disapprove of the provision against delegation. With respect to the power, your committee will re member that, even on the basis of the less stringent provisions of S. 1532, we pointed out that the requirements for local financial participation were being set so high, in relation to the fiscal condition and legal powers of our cities, as to make it impossible for many of them, particularly those of smaller size, to undertake any effective program of slum clearance. We therefore strongly question the provisions in S. 8C6 which, in effect, impose upon municipalities requirements for local participation much greater than would have been the case under S. 1592. This position is taken on the basis of realities with re
spect to the financial condition and the legal powers of our municipalities.
Particularly, in this connection, we feel that certain proposed slum-clearance projects that have been cited in the opposition testimony and that because of peculiarly low land costs or other factors are not typical, and that projects which are purely in a paper stage undoubtedly will never advance beyond that stage, should not be allowed to obscure actual necessities or to override the consensus of the expert opinion and judgment of municipal finance authorities.
The institute feels impelled to disagree likewise with the provision in S. 866 barring use of existing Federal agencies. This matter was gone into in detail in our statement of last year. In summary, the reason for the objection of the institute to this provision is that it would prevent use of the extensive and valuable experience of FPHA and the very successful and well-tested operating relationships between FPHA and local communities.
6. Title IX-Urban low-rent housing.-The institute favors title IX with the changes in it as compared with the corresponding title of S. 1592. All of the objections that have been raised during the present hearings to the public-housing program were raised before the Taft subcommittee and your committee last year, and properly rejected by both committees.
It is obvious that it is impossible for cities to compel the tearing down of existing substandard housing-the solution proffered by some witnesses-unless decent housing is provided for the families living in such existing housing, and it is just as clear from the testimony this year as it was from the testimony last year and from the testimony of 2 years ago, that no satisfactory alternative to the public housing program has yet been offered which will provide decent housing within the means of our lowest-income families.