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Senator ELLENDER. Now, I don't want to interrupt you too much, but if your statement
Mr. FARR. Very glad to. I am here to be helpful, and if any— Senator ELLENDER. If your statement includes a question that I am about to ask, forget about it. If we are to strike out from this bill the title dealing with public housing, what would your association's attitude be as to the bill?
Mr. FARR. We would be very much happier about the bill.
Senator ELLENDER. Happier, or would you be for it, killing yourselves to pass it?
Mr. FARR. NO. I'll say there are certain other features in the bill that we are not satisfied with. I think, perhaps, the statement will clarify that as I go on.
Senator ELLENDER. All right.
Mr. FARR. I want to assure you that I am here because I think that both you and I
Senator ELLENDER. Yes.
Mr. FARR. Are interested in trying to do something about the housing shortage. I am trying to do so on my part, and I am sure you are on your part.
Senator ELLENDER. Yes. Well, the thing is this, and you might bear this in mind as you go along-you say, "We are trying to do the job." Mr. FARR. That is right.
Senator ELLENDER. "To give decent housing to everybody." You are for that, aren't you?
Mr. FARR. That is right. And we are trying to do it now just as fast as we can.
Senator ELLENDER. All right. And you realize that slums should be cleared?
Mr. FARR. That is correct.
Senator ELLENDER. Yes. Now, we have offered in this bill what we think is a solution to the problem, or something that will aid in solving the problem; and what this committee, I am sure, would like to have from you, since you agree with us that it ought to be done, give us your plan as to how it can be done.
Mr. FARR. I think some of them will be pointed out here, and I will be glad to expand on that later.
Senator ELLENDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. FARR. We feel that the former independence of the constituent housing agencies under the NHA should be restored. We feel that their particular type of work can be performed better if they are not kept under the domination of a single agency. To the extent that the bill seeks to encourage strength and facility of operation of these agencies, it is good. But that strength and facility we feel will be impaired if the central agency-the NHA-is perpetuated. We are opposed to the granting of large sums of money to spread propaganda to those operating under this agency. We do not believe such a central agency is necessary.
The proposed research program is largely theoretical. Industry today is carrying forward tremendous research programs in spite of assertions to the contrary. The Government itself is doing plenty of this sort of thing now. The amplified program suggested is not needed, and would largely result in shoving the camel's nose of the Government further under the tent of private and municipal affairs.
Senator ELLENDER. Well, this vast sum you speak of, are you referring to title II?
Mr. FARR. Let me read this.
Senator ELLENDER. I think I can quote from some statements made by your association, on research, market analysis, and local planning, which were strongly for that.
Mr. FARR. Well, I question whether we are directly for additional local planning and additional research over what is contemplated now by other Federal agencies that are already attempting to do that. Senator ELLENDER. Well, but they haven't done it.
Mr. FARR. We would like to have them do it. We believe that the Department of Commerce should expand its activity along those lines. We are hopeful they are doing that at the present time.
Senator ELLENDER. I notice here under date of February 13, 1942, a statement made by your association [reading]:
The NAREB committee on housing and blighted areas adopted a resolution on February 13, 1942, involving: "The establishment of a national laboratory to conduct housing research for the development of new building materials, housing design, construction methods, housing standards, the marketing and financing of dwellings and building regulations to reduce the cost of dwelling construction."
Mr. FARR. We believe that is in process by the Department of Com
Senator ELLENDER. Don't you think that can be accomplished under title II of this bill?
Mr. FARR. Well, if it is being done by the Department of Commerce we don't want it done by another agency as well.
Senator ELLENDER. I don't think it is being done myself. I don't know that they have done much about it.
Mr. FARR. Well, I had some encouragement recently that they were doing something about it. We think that should be encouraged. We are heartily in favor of that. I believe there is a Mr. Haines who has been recently appointed in charge of that work.
Senator ELLENDER. Quoting again:
In its brochure, "Postwar cities," issued September 1, 1944, NAREB advocated an over-all Federal agency, to include, among other things: "1. A research division to gather and correlate the facts from Federal, State, and local agencies and from the field concerning population trends and movements, taxation, finance, real-estate markets and housing, as they affect community development. This division might also conduct technical research and education with respect to the problems involved in community planning and building.”
Mr. FARR. I think you will find that was not a recommendation or a policy of the National Association. I think you will find that was a pamphlet that was prepared for the purpose of stimulating discussion on the part of our members and others.
Our board of directors never endorsed that paragraph and it is not our definite policy.
Senator ELLENDER. Well, I don't want to misquote you, but it says here:
In its brochure, "Postwar cities," issued September 1, 1944
Mr. FARR. I remember that
Senator ELLENDER. Your association advocated
Mr. FARR. I think you will find the association did not advocate that. I think you will find that was a pamphlet for the purpose of stimulating discussion, because we have been attempting to be constructive in this problem ourselves. I think you will find that over the past 5 or 6 years we have been pretty intent in our arguments. I will have to admit we have not always been in complete accord as to policies that should be pursued, but I do think our thinking is much progressed today from what it was 5 years ago. It is much progressed over the time when that pamphlet was published, but that was not published with the official sanction of our association.
Senator ELLENDER. Do you know Mr. Herbert Nelson?
Senator ELLENDER. Is he a member of your association?
Senator ELLENDER. And he talked in your behalf here before the Taft committee.
Mr. FARR. I think he probably did.
Senator ELLENDER. All right. Let me quote from his statement. [Reading:]
Mr. Herbert Nelson, in testifying before the Taft subcommittee on February 6, 1945, stated: "Market data is one of the greatest needs in the home-building field. There should be an office in the Federal Government to supply data of this character. We ask for a research set-up that would care for work of this type." In his testimony, also, Mr. Nelson recommended that there be set up a Federal research agency "with provision for technical research, economic research, and general urban research."
Mr. FARR. I have appeared with Mr. Nelson before the Department of Commerce to urge that. We have been doing that for sometime and as I said before, I understand they have set up such an agency and it is in process of actual operation. A director has been appointed. Senator ELLENDER. Where-a director where?
Mr. FARR. Under the Department of Commerce.
Senator ELLENDER. You don't favor what is in this bill in this respect.
Mr. FARR. Well, I think it is a duplication. As a matter of fact, there are a good many agencies that are performing certain parts of this type of research. Of course, a great deal is being done by private industry as well, by building people, and by certain trade organizations. It looks to us like a duplication of work that is already being done.
I will say we think the work should be done. That is correct. That goes without question.
Senator ELLENDER. Do you know how long the Department of Commerce has been doing this work you are now talking about?
Mr. FARR. I attended a committee meeting here some 3 or 4 months ago when the man who had just taken over that department was introduced to us. I think you will find that work is in progress now. The CHAIRMAN. Who is he?
Mr. FARR. I believe his name is Haines.
Senator ELLENDER. That is a new one on me. I didn't know that. Mr. FARR. Do you know, Mr. Fitzpatrick?
Mr. F. STUART FITZPATRICK (United States Chamber of Commerce). John Haines.
The CHAIRMAN. Is he a banker?
Mr. FITZPATRICK. No. Mr. Haines has taken over the job in the Department of Commerce. His activity is confined entirely, at least presently, to assembling information on construction, and it is also carrying on economic research in the whole field of housing. We feel that is a proper activity in the Department of Commerce. John Haines has been in the Government, Senator, a good many years. He is an old-time Government man. He is the man that Secretary Wallace put in that job.
There are probably people doing specialized research work in other agencies, but we think we should have in one place the over-all picture of the whole construction activity. That is now under way in the Department of Commerce, and we think it will be helpful to us. Senator ELLENDER. Did your association at any time ever advocate that such a research division should be put with the housing agency rather than leave it with the Commerce Department?
Mr. FARR. I believe not.
Senator ELLENDER. You believe not?
Mr. FARR. I believe not.
Senator ELLENDER. You are not certain.
Mr. FARR. I don't recall that it has.
Senator ELLENDER. All right.
Mr. FARR. Again I will say that in our attempt to help in being constructive in this field we have had many suggestions, we have had many recommendations, we have had many intense arguments as to the way this thing should be solved, and that has been suggested and discussed.
Senator MURDOCK. Might I just clear up this one point?
Mr. FARR. Yes, sir.
Senator MURDOCK. You represent the National Association of Real Estate Boards. Now, whom do they represent?
Mr. FARR. The National Association of Real Estate Boards is made up of real estate brokers throughout the United States. Their membership clears through local real-estate boards. We have over 700 local real-estate boards in all sections of the United States.
Senator MURDOCK. Then you represent primarily the people who are dealing in real estate?
Mr. FARR. That is correct.
Senator MURDOCK. Buying and selling real estate?
Mr. FARR. Buying, selling, managing, building, financing-all phases of real estate. Of course, we represent owners, a large mass of owners of real estate.
Senator MURDOCK. Apartment-house owners?
Mr. FARR. Owners of single-family dwellings, owners of business properties, owners of office buildings, and apartment houses, owners of hotels. It is a very large organization that has been in existence since 1908 and is very active in the real-estate field. I can assure you it is very active and it is made up of the outstanding men in the business.
The CHAIRMAN. You have had some very eminent members of your association before us. I don't recall your ever having been for anything.
Mr. FARR. This is the first time I have ever personally appeared before your committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Nelson has been here a number of times.
Mr. FARR. I think Mr. Nelson presented to the members of your committee a bill outlining certain phases of this work with which we are in complete accord. Some of the suggestions in that bill are now incorporated in this bill.
The CHAIRMAN. That is true.
Mr. FARR. I have read your letter which you addressed to Mr. Nelson outlining certain of those provisions that are included in this bill. The CHAIRMAN. But you are still against the bill.
Mr. FARR. That is right, and I am trying to make it clear why we are against the bill.
Certain provisions of the bill we are heartily in accord with.
Senator ELLENDER. Did I understand you to state a while ago that you were in favor of that part of the bill in respect to slum clearance? Mr. FARR. That is right.
Senator ELLENDER. Why should you favor that and not public housing along with slum clearance?
Mr. FARR. We believe that some clearance can be achieved best by local groups of people, or local groups of builders and other interested in the community who will finance the reconstruction of those areas. Senator ELLENDER. Has that been done in the past?
Mr. FARR. I am involved in that very thing myself at the present time.
Senator ELLENDER. Where?
Mr. FARR. In Chicago.
Senator ELLENDER. How much of it have you done?
Mr. FARR. I am personally active in two areas of Chicago. One is on the South Side in the vicinity of Thirty-third and State Streets where we have in process a reconstruction program covering an area of about a half square mile.
I am also actively interested in an area on the West Side known as the Medical Center area, where we have about a square mile.
Senator ELLENDER. How are you financing that-privately?
Mr. FARR. The work in the Medical Center area is being done through money supplied by the State of Illinois.
Senator ELLENDER. The State of Illinois?
Mr. FARR. And some through institutions that are in that area. That is confined to land assembly. We have a group, of which I am a member, that is prepared now to go in and actually finance the construction of housing in areas near those centers that I speak of.
Senator ELLENDER. To what extent does the State of Illinois help you?
Mr. FARR. The State of Illinois is helping in the Medical Center area in two ways. They are providing funds for the University of Illinois for its medical school which is located there, which has been acquiring additional land and wrecking slum buildings. They have also appropriated a million dollars for land assembly in that area by the Medical Center Commission. The Medical Center Commission is made up of a group, part of whom are appointed by the Governor and part by the mayor of Chicago. The Medical Center Commission is now actively in process of starting a land assembly job.
Frankly, this is the first money they have had to spend in slum clearance, and they are just starting their program.