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Your efforts in this behalf will be greatly appreciated, and with kind personal regards and every good wish, I remain, Yours most sincerely,
Leonard L. Loxg.
LOUISVILLE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
Louisville 2, Ky., February 22, 1954.
United States Senate, Washington 25, D. C.
KENNETH P. VINSEL,
AN ANALYSIS OF PUBLIC HOUSING IN LOUISVILLE (The board of directors of the Louisville Chamber of ('ommerce authorized this study because so many civic problems are related to the subject of public housing. It discovered that an understanding of other problems requires a better understanding of local public housing. This is an analysis of the growth of public housing, methods of financing, costs to the taxpayers, services offered. and welfare aspects of the program.]
INTRODUCTION Louisville has had public housing since 1936. After a modest beginning it bas grown into an investment of at least $47 million, with some estimates running as high as $60 million. More than 4,709 families totaling about 20,000 people comprise what has been called this “City within a city."
No development of this magnitude can be set down in a city of 400,000 withoat changing some of the patterns of living. This is especially true when the development is as fraught with such wide interest as public housing.
Louisville's rapid growth has caused abnormal demands on basic services that are the city's responsibility to provide. Large outlays of capital are required for new facilities such as streets, schools, and sewers. Even larger sums must be available to pay the continuing operating costs of these new facilities.
The local housing commission pays its regular assessinents for street cunstruction, etc., as well as constructing its interior facilities. Other costs arise, however, in operating some of these services, as will be pointed out.
As Louisville approaches the limit of its ability to raise additional revenue. the need for accurate knowledge of its municipal services and their costs is greater than ever before. This study of Louisville's public housing program has three primary objectives.
First, to describe the various services performed, including number of families and individuals served, facilities and services furnished, eligibility requirements for tenancy, and other descriptive data.
Second, to analyze the cost of building and operating the several projets This includes: Capital costs such as land, demolition, and construction; operating costs such as utilities, maintenance, debt service, and payments in lieu of taxes; and finally, indirect costs such as providing schools, fire protection, and other municipal services required for the tenants.
Third, to ascertain and describe the sources of revenue to provide public housing and its related services, including temporary and permanent financing of capital costs, Federal subsidy for operating deficit, and payments to the city by the projects and their residents.
Several committees of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce work on problems which overlap into the field of public housing. In pursuing their work, these committees have asked such questions as "What is the nature of public housing in Louisville?" "What does it cost?" "Where does the money come from?" and "What is its economic impact on the community?"
This report is a partial answer to some of these and related questions.
It indicates that public housing in Louisville is a quasi-public welfare work, that the people who benefit from it should realize this fact, and that the taxpayer should be aware of it.
It shows that public housing is provided by the public on general basis and is railable to the public on a selective basis as other public services. It shows that public housing in Louisville, by and large, provides dwelling units ell above the substandard level which they were designed to replace. It shows that public housing in Louisville for the 4 years 1949–52 on the
erage, costs over $320,000 per year in direct subsidy from the Federal GovEnment.
In addition to the Federal subsidy, this report shows other ways in which iblic housing exerts an impact on the economic life of the community. These clude: 1. An effective rate of 48 cents per $100 in lieu of taxes for public housing mpared to $3 per $100 taxes for private housing or less than one-sixth as much. 2. The city of Louisville makes no payments to the Louisville Board of Educaon for four of the local projects. 3. The city of Louisville could now be deriving a net of more than $340,000 stead of some $83,000 in lieu of taxes from these properties if it had been illing at the outset to pay 20 percent of the annual subsidy as described on
4. Each family living in Louisville public housing projects would have to pay least $182 per year in city taxes to pay a part of the local taxload equivalent that paid by the average Louisville citizen, whether owner or renter, for the y services received.
*ief history of public housing * The first public housing projects in this country were built in the early 1930's
part of a broad program of public works construction. The objectives of is program were to provide jobs, stimulate the economy through increasing e demand for building materials, and to help eliminate slums. The Public orks Administration was the Federal agency responsible for public housing om 1933 to 1937. The second major development occurred in 1937 with the passage of the nited States Housing Act. It created for the first time a special Federal ency to deal with public housing. Under this legislation a total of 191,700 velling units were built in 268 communities, or an overall average of about ,000 new units per year. Public housing legislation was not changed to any great extent until 1949 ven a new housing act was passed, which revised and amended the 1937 t. Among the provisions of the Housing Act of 1949 was the authorization
funds for the construction and operation of 135,000 new rental units per ar for 6 years. In the fiscal year of 1952 Congress reduced this figure to 1,000 (then in the fiscal year 1953, the goal was further cut to 35,000 units
d for the fiscal year 1954, the goal was cut to 20,000 units pending a study
the entire housing situation by a committee appointed by the President. iis study is now being made and the committee will recommend to the Presint its ideas as to the entire housing situation--public and private). A third form of public housing came into existence during World War II. house vast numbers of war-production workers the Federal Government ilt many thousand units of temporary, emergency housing. These projects -re intended primarily for use only during the duration of the war. Hower, almost all of these units in Louisville have remained in service as public using projects. All 3 types of public housing exist in Louisville: 2 of the 8 permanent projts were built by the Public Works Administration: the remaining 6 were nstructed under provisions of the Housing Acts of 1937 and 1949; the 3 temrary, emergency projects are hangovers from World War II. One of the last three, Fincastle Heights, was built under circumstances adsed against by the mayor's war housing committee and Mayor Joseph D. holtz. This committee urged the Government that if it built any housing
Jefferson County it should build only temporary housing which could be moved after the emergency was over. The Government, nevertheless, built ncastle Heights and designated it permanent housing, even after a commit2 of architects and realtors appointed by the planning and zoning commisin advised that, in their opinion, the type of construction was of a temporary ther than a permanent nature.
Other people have gone so far as to suggest that Fincastle Heights, along with the Bowman Field and Grand Avenue projects, be razed at an early date. This suggestion has been made in view of the fact that all were really constructed fur temporary housing.
The table below shows their names, locations, sizes, ownership, and other pertinent data." The Louisville Municipal Housing Commission
The municipal housing program in Louisville is administered by a local housing commission as provided by chapter 80 of Kentucky Revised Statutes. The city and the commission are vested with "* * * all powers necessary and appropriate to engage in low-cost housing and slum-clearance projects."
The Louisville Municipal Housing Commission was formed in 1936. It is a 5-man commission consisting of the mayor, who serves ex officio, and 4 other members appointed by him with the approval of the board of aldermen. mission members are appointed for 4-year terms which expire on successive years. The commission is nonpartisan. The law provides that no more than two melir bers of the commission may belong to the same political party. The commission elects a secretary and a treasurer who need not be members. It is also empowered to employ technical experts, attorney, and necessary staff members.
Each member of the commission, except the ex officio member, receives (11! pensation, either as salary or as payments for meetings attended. Maximut annual compensation for the chairman of the commission is limited by Stati law to $2,000 per year, and a city ordinance limits members to $400 per year. The board of aldermen may limit the itmount of salary received by employees of the commission.
Other than appointment of commission members and limiting compensation of their employees, the city government's only other control over the commission is the power to approve and disapprove the plans to build a new project. The mayor and board of aldermen have no authority over the commission in matters relating to the operation of housing projects.
See table on p. 1067.
Location and size of facilities
Total site arca,
$quare Square Percent
ing area area
1, 266, 297
1. LaSalle Pl. (west), 18th St. and
nut, Brook, and Shelby.
9th, and 12th Sts.
10. Grand (north), 1055 South 38th St. 11. Fincastle (west), Camp Taylor.
* Not fully occupieri at time of study, > Information not available,
The commission is a corporation, authorized and created by State statute. It becomes an active corporation when the mayor, with the approval of the board of aldermen, appoints members of the commission. Under the statutes and deci. sions of the State of Kentucky, this corporation, when implemented, becomes an agency of the State with power to contract and be contracted with, to sue and be sued. The statute of Kentucky creating this corporation becomes its charter. It can only operate within the limits of the city in which it is set up. Like many other corporations it may establish bylaws, rules, and regulations for its own administration.
The members of the commission are: Mrs. Karl Lang, chairman; Mr. Foree Dennis, vice chairman ; Mr. John B. McFerran, Jr.; Mr. J. Everett Harris; and Mr. Andrew Broaddus, ex officio.
The administrator and general counsel is Nicholas H. Dosker. The secretary, Rosemary Turner, and the treasurer, H. F. Hohmann.
The Louisville Municipal Housing Commission occupies a 2-story brick office building located at Second and York Streets. The office of the administrator is at 419 West Jefferson Street. A staff of 200 managerial, clerical, and mainte nance personnel was employed by the commission with a total payroll of $476,58€ in December 1952."
THE SERVICE PROVIDED BY PUBLIC HOTSING
During the past 13 years 4,505 new units of public housing have been built in Louisville-enough to house 1 out of every 5 persons added to the city population during that period.
When the 2 new projects, Iroquois homes and Cotter homes, are completely occupied, there will be approximately 22,500 persons living in the 5,326 dwelling units which comprise Louisville's 11 housing projects. This includes Fincastle Heights which has 250 units and accommodates about 1,000 people and is owned and operated by the United States Public Housing Administration. Facilities provided
Eight of the 11 developments are of permanent, fireproof construction; the remaining 3 are temporary frame structures. In all projects repairs and upkeep are the responsibility of the commissoin at no extra cost to tenants except in the case of malicious damages.
Insect and rodent extermination service is available if needed. Tenants are expected to care for yards and walks adjacent to their apartments.
Complete utility service, including water, heat, gas, and electricity, is furnished each apartment as part of the rent. Tenants may be charged an additional fee for excess amounts of gas and electricity used.
Electric or gas refrigerators and ranges are furnished in the apartments of the eight permanent type projects. Maintenance of this equipment is a responsibility of the commission. These eight permanent-type projects also provide storage space for luggage, excess furniture, etc. Laundry rooms, equipped with coiroperated washing machines, tubs, and driers are available.
Bowman Field and Grand Avenue apartments are furnished with icebores; however, tenants may furnish their own electric refrigerators for an additional charge of $1 per month. Storage space at these two projects, as well as at Fincastle Heights, is quite limited. However, limited laundry space and equipment are provided.
Each project has rooms or a separate building for tenant and community activities, such as recreation, public-health clinics, and education. Any staff personnel needed to render these services are provided by the respective city agencies. Both residents of the projects and the surrounding community are free to make use of these facilities. The LMHC spent an average of $2,500 per year from 1949-52 for supplementary community services, which consisted of janitorial services and recreation equipment.
Included in the list of six nondwelling units is the LMHC's administration building at Second and York. It was built in 1946 at a cost of $136,245, corering land, structure, and equipment. This cost is included in the permanent financir of Clarksdale and Beecher Terrace.
1 See table on p. 1067.
Central office employees total 30 ; project office employees, 42; maintenance and fring labor, 72; Janitors and common labor, 66.