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veterans' housing program. Wagner-Ellender-Taft substitutes a long-range social program to compete and interfere with the solution of the current No. 1 problm, veterans' housing. MARK R. BITTNER.


New York, N. Y., March 28, 1947.

Chairman, Senate Currency and Banking Committee,

Senate Chamber, Washington, D. C.

My DEAR SENATOR TOBEY: As the representative agent of organized tenants in Greater New York, with a membership of over 15,000 families, we are deeply interested in the Wagner-Ellender-Taft housing bill and we urge the speedy enactment of this bill into law.

It is estimated upon a most accurate survey of the New York City Housing Authority and the Mayor's Emergency Housing Commission of the city of New York that there is need for 750,000 units at the present time. The passage of the bill will therefore help to alleviate the housing emergency not only in New York City but throughout the country.

May we urge you, and through you the other members on the committee now considering the bill, to take prompt and favorable action, and we further request that we be given an opportunity to present our views to the committee on this all-vital housing legislation.

We urgently await your reply.

Very truly yours,




Chicago 2, Ill., March 28, 1947.

Clerk, Committee on Banking and Currency,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.

DEAR MR. HILL: Thank you for the note of March 26.

We enclose the statement in behalf of S. 866, which you request.

JOHN DOEBELE, Housing Division.


(By John Doebele, editor, Fair Housing Practices, Chicago 2, Ill.)

We support S. 866, and urge its early passage. Certainly few things today can be done that will be as valuable toward encouraging good citizenship as the early provision of good homes and good neighborhoods, such as are envisioned in the National Housing Commission bill.

Our own work in the field of race relations convinces us that the shortage of housing, especially for Negro families, is an important factor in keeping racial tensions at a high pitch.

However, if this bill is to be of real advantage to those who most need homes, certain guarantees should be written into it. In past years, as was pointed out in the hearings on S. 1592 of the last Congress, the Federal Housing Administration played a leading role in furthering the growth of racial residential segregation with all its concomitant evils, by encouraging or requiring racial restrictions on the property it financed.

More recently, at least since Mr. Foley has been FHA Commissioner, these restrictions are not required, but unfortunately much of the damage has already been done. Since FHA was responsible for establishing segregation, it ought now to be responsible for eliminating it, wherever injustices have followed as a direct result.

Mr. Foley has been asked at various times to refuse insurance on property covered by restrictive convenants. His answer is that he has no legal power to do so. We therefore suggest that:

Section 510 be enlarged to include amendments to sections 203, 603, and 608 of the National Housing Act, which will forbid insurance of loans on property clouded by race restrictions.

We would add two other amendments:

Section 702 (2), paragraph (3) "within their capacity to pay" should be altered to read "within their capacity to pay, regardless of race or national origin."

Section 802, paragraph (2), section (i) should be expanded to read “to devote such land to the uses specified in the redevelopment plan for the project area, and to guarantee that no racial distinctions shall be made in the use of this land, or in buildings erected on it."


March 28, 1947.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and Currency,

Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.

DEAR SIR: May we call to your attention the enclosed copy of a resolution adopted by the City Council of St. Paul today, endorsing Senate bill 866, known as the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill.

Very truly yours,

H. T. O'CONNELL, City Clerk.

[Council file No. 139445]


Resolved, That the Council of the City of St. Paul, Minn., endorses and urges the passage by the Congress of the United States, of Senate bill 866, commonly known as the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill, relating to the National Housing Commission; be it further

Resolved, That the city clerk be instructed to send a copy of this resolution to Senator Tobey, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, and to each of our Minnesota Representatives in Congress.

Adopted by the council March 28, 1947. Approved March 28, 1947.

San Francisco 3, March 29, 1947.

United States Senate, Washington, D. C.

DEAR SIR: The San Francisco Planning and Housing Association wishes to urge your active support of Senator Taft's general housing bill, S. 866, and its House counterpart toward the end of its prompt approval. For months prior to the adjournment of Congress in 1946 testimony pro and con filled volumes of Congressional Records relative to the earlier Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill. Despite this and in the face of our deplorable housing crisis, S. 1592 was allowed to die in committee. Surely this year when the housing need is just as great, and if anything even more acute, Congress will see fit to approve S. 866 which alone can begin to solve our chronic housing ills.

Specifically with reference to S. 866 we wish to make certain recommendations as follows:

(1) Title I of S. 1592 as proposed in 1946 be substituted for title II since in our opinion the creation of a housing commission with a coordinating council and with autonomy of constituent agencies would result in complex and confused administration.

(2) Title II of S. 1502 be reinstated in place of the weakened provisions for research as described in title IV of S. 866. The one phase of the housing problem on which all shades of opinion are in agreement is the basic need for technical research on methods and materials. Along with constant and careful housing market analysis, financial assistance to communities is an essential part of such activity.

(3) The pertinent section of title IV of S. 1592 which proposed 95 percent insurance and a maximum 31⁄2 percent interest rate for mutual home ownership be substituted for the comparable section of title VI S. 866 which limits such assistance to 90 percent and 4 percent interest. This is especially important to encourage full participation in the mutual home ownership program which would cover a long neglected segment of our income groups.

The public housing provisions contained in title IX of S. 866 seem to us modest compared to the need and we hope that the committee will reject any proposals for downward revision of the program contemplated in this title.

Conservative estimates of California housing needs by 1950 are set at more than 1,000,000 new permanent dwellings. This allows for the replacement of temporary-war housing (68,000), replacement of veterans housing (23,000), existing substandard housing to be replaced (400,000), new families to be housed (448,000) and for a 5 percent vacancy ratio (131,000). It is clear that California along with the other States must depend for Federal participation in meeting even this minimum program.

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DEAR SENATOR TOBEY: Enclosed is our statement on the Taft-Ellender-Wagner housing bill, for introduction into the minutes of the hearings conducted by your committee. I wired you yesterday to ask permission for presenting this written testimony of the position of the New York State chapter of the Progressive Citizens of America.

May we receive copies of the committee's report when it is published?
Thank you very much.


J. RAYMOND WALSH, Chairman, New York State Chapter.


The New York State chapter of the Progressive Citizens of America is an independent political action organization representing the interests of individual New York State members organized into community chapters and professional divisions. Founded in convention on February 1, 1947, the New York State PCA is on record for action by private industry and Government agency to solve the Nation's No. 1 problem-housing.

New York State PCA therefore urges earliest possible passage of the TaftEllender-Wagner long-range housing bill.

No amount of rhetoric, nor the impact of any lobby can obscure the simple fact that Americans do not have decent homes in which to live and raise their families. Many Americans have no homes at all.

Hardest hit are the low-income groups and the veterans.

The Government has estimated that 122 million homes are needed in the next 10 years. That means 1,250,000 homes a year. A Department of Commerce poll of nearly 12,000,000 veterans showed that close to 3,000,000 wanted to build or buy at an average of $5,500 a house, and that 1,200,000 of them are looking for places to rent at an average of no more than $43 a month.

The war alone is not to blame for the current housing crisis. The war has only accentuated the problem of inadequate housing for low and middle-income groups—of slums and the deterioration of whole neighborhoods.

In New York City in the last 10 years the number of dwelling units has increased by 188,935 while in that same period the number of families has increased by 431,000. That means a net shortage of 342,065 units.

The New York City Housing Authority surveyed the homeless and ill-housed people of the city and discovered that half of them can pay no more than $25 a month rent, and another one-third can pay between $25 and $40. The State legislature estimates that by the end of 1946, 211,000 veterans' families were homeless. New York Mayor O'Dwyer recently announced that in New York City alone, 150,000 families, or 500,000 persons, were without homes, living in the crudest arrangements, doubled up, children boarded out, and without plumbing and kitchen facilities. In addition, Mayor O'Dwyer estimated that 600,000 units were required to replace slums and obsolete dwellings.

"Building as usual" has failed to meet the basic housing needs of the American people.

We need a bold and constructive long-range housing program such as is proposed in the Taft-Wagner-Ellender housing bill. We need funds provided for public housing to meet the requirements of the very lowest income groups. We need to encourage private building for low and moderate income groups through loans, guaranties for individual home builders, yield insurance for financial institutions investing in low-rent housing, and aid to local governments in slumclearance and urban-redevelopment programs.

The Taft-Wagner-Ellender bill encourages and helps private builders to build more homes for more Americans than ever before. That means business for private builders and jobs for millions of Americans.

The Taft-Wagner-Ellender bill recognizes the responsibility of the Nation to provide the lowest income groups with public housing, when private builders have demonstrated that alone they cannot fill the need.

The Taft-Wagner-Ellender bill opens the way for local governments to clear away the blight of slums, and the disease, crime, and social demoralization they engender.

The failure of Congress last year to take final positive action on such a program must not be repeated this year. We cannot afford to delay any longer. J. RAYMOND WALSH, Chairman, New York State Chapter, Progressive Citizens of America.


Subject: Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill No. S. 866.

March 28, 1947.

Chairman of the Senate Banking and Currency Committee,

Washington, D. C.

DEAR SIR: I well remember your inspiring address at the annual dinner meeting of the National Public Housing Conference in Chicago, Wednesday, March 12. The address was very impressive, and I am sure you inspired all those present to do their particular job in this world a little better for the benefit of their fellow


Naturally, I am most anxious to have the Taft-Ellender-Wagner housing bill enacted into law so that the housing program of this Nation can go forward. To any who are at all informed, there is no question about the need of housing for high-income families as well as low-income families all over this country. The situation is particularly acute here in Peoria, and attached are three newspaper clippings with headings as follows, which very clearly and definitely indicate the need for more housing immediately:

Journal-Star, March 23, 1947, "16,653 families need housing, survey shows; Peoria-Pekin area results reveal some surprises."

Peoria Star, March 21, 1947, "VFW plans new housing drive-starts with letter campaign."

Peoria Journal, February 26, 1947, "Survey shows housing needs of veterans." I know that you are vitally interested in enacting legislation that will help to provide housing immediately for veterans as well as other families in need, and I want you to know that your efforts in getting a favorable report on S. 866 by the Banking and Currency Committee will be appreciated by all who know about the desperate need for more and better housing.

Sincerely yours,

ELMER JOLLY, Conference Lay Leader.

[From the Peoria (Ill.) Star, March 21, 1947]


Open plans of a campaign to bring to Peoria a new housing project strictly for veterans, similar to the Warner homes and the Harrison homes, were unfolded at the meeting Thursday night of the South Peoria Post, No. 8862, of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

A resolution giving full support of the unit to the drive, introduced by Baird Helfreich, chairman of the housing committee and newly elected senior vice commander, was passed unanimously.

The first step in the campaign will be to mail letters to about 500 Congressmen and other public leaders concerned with the housing needs of this and other communities. Helfreich, reporting on local housing, declared that needs are not being met in Peoria, and that it is time to take action.

His proposal includes abolishing trailer camps after the new project is completed.

New officials of the post elected at the meeting are: Harry Cohen, commander; Baird Helfreich, senior vice commander; Fred Julian, junior vice commander; Harold Pardieck, quartermaster; Robert McCloskey, chaplain; Harold Bradle, surgeon; and Carroll Nofsinger, judge advocate.

Charles Howe, immediate past commander, automatically becomes trustee for a 3-year term.

The new officers will be installed April 13 at which time the post will dedicate its new home at 3015 South Adams Street. At the same affair a large class of new members will be initiated.

Visitors at the meeting included: Charles Siders, Over There Post, No. 112, Wichita, Kans.; Frank Biddlecomb, national aide-de-camp; Alonzo Simpson, of Peoria Heights Post, No. 2606; and James M. Clark, commander of Post No. 2078, East Peoria.

[From the Peoria (Ill.) Journal, February 26, 1947]


Need for many hundreds of additional dwelling units in the low- and moderateprice brackets in Peoria, especially for World War II veterans, is indicated in a survey made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the request of the National Housing Agency.

The survey report, released today, shows that an estimated 11,500 veterans in the Peoria area at the time of the survey (September and October 1946), 7,500 were married and 4,000 were single, widowed, or divorced.


"Twenty-four percent or 1,800 of the estimated 7,500 married veterans residing in Peoria at the time of the survey were living doubled up or in rented rooms, trailers, or tourist cabins," said the report.

"Of the married veterans, including those doubled up, living in ordinary dwelling units, 20 percent occupied units which lacked one or more of the standard plumbing facilities or which were in need of major repairs or unfit for use. About 17 percent of all privately financed dwelling units in which veterans lived contained doubled-up families, whereas only about 8 percent of all occupied dwelling units contained doubled-up families.


"Of the estimated 11,500 veterans in the area at the time of the survey, 20 percent or 2,300 were not residents of the Peoria locality prior to their military service. At the time of the survey 92 percent of the 11,500 or 10,500 definitely planned to remain in the area. Four percent planned to leave and 4 percent were undecided."

The report also showed that 47 percent of the 7,500 married veterans or 3,525 were renting dwelling units for which the median gross monthly rental was $40 per month. Median price veterans in "buy or build" market were able to

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