Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

a

The CHAIRMAN. Yes, I understand that you people in Philadelphia, locally—that is the city government-have been doing many, many fine things. It has been a very active program and you have accomplished a lot. We know that as a matter of record.

Let me say this to you, that in my opinion, if we are going to get the job done in the United States, that is the way it will have to be done. Unless you get 100 percent cooperation out of a community, anything that the Federal Government does here is not going to be very effective. Mr. RAFSKY. I couldn't

agree more. The CHAIRMAN. First, the community and the city have got to help themselves and they have to be enthusiastic and they have got to organize and do the things that ought to be done. In reality it is really their responsibility. While I think we ought to help, from Washington—and we have been helping and we will continue to-it is really the responsibility of the local people.

That is why we congratulate you people in Philadelphia. Mr. RAFsky. Our record isn't perfect, but we have tried to get the local government and the real estate board people to all work on this problem.

The CHAIRMAN. We have a lot of days now in the United States. The President and the governors declare certain days, and we celebrate. What we really ought to have in the United States is a cleanup week, where everybody stops and does nothing else.

Mr. RAFsky. We do have that in Philadelphia. We have won the price for cleanup, fix up, paint up, for the seventh time in a row.

The CHAIRMAN. It ought to be nationwide. It would be so much better. It is unbelievable what you can do. Why the cities do not do it, I will never understand.

Mr. Rafsky. I might say our new housing code, which is now before the city council, brings up to date the code we had in effect since 1915, and places clearcut responsibility on both occupant and landlord as to their responsibilities in this field.

I would like to say one other thing before I get to the bill itself, and that is we recognize our State has a responsibility in this as well

, and we are preparing a legislative program before the primary election to line up the candidate on this issues.

So, after saying that, I also want to get on the record what is in the statement

The CHAIRMAN. Someone here this morning brought out the fact that in a neighborhood someone will let their property run down and won't paint it, and it becomes an eyesore, and that is the beginning, of course, of a slum area.

I am in favor of passing city ordinances and State laws, making it illegal for a landlord or a tenant to permit that sort of thing to happen.

Mr. RAFSKY. I would like to have you take a look at our housing code. I don't have a copy here, but that is exactly our approach.

The CHAIRMAN. Is it too long to put in the record ?

Mr. RAFSKY. I don't think so. It is about thirty-odd pages of copy. Or I could mark sections.

The CHAIRMAN. How about picking out the sections that are exceptionally good and sending them down here to Mr. McMurray, and let's make that a part of the record right at this point.

Mr. RAFSKY. I would be glad to, sir.

(The information referred to follows:)

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA,
OFFICE OF THE HOUSING COORDINATOR,

Philadelphia, Pa., March 25, 1954.
Hon. HOMER CAPEHART,
Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and Currency,

Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR CAPEHART: At the hearing yesterday you were kind enough to suggest that I might submit some information concerning the responsibilities of owners and occupants of residential structures, which could be added to the record.

I am enclosing the text of section 10, entitled “Responsibilities of Owners and Occupants,” of our proposed housing code, which is now before our city council and which should be adopted within the next few weeks.

I very much appreciate the opportunity given to me by the committee and yourself to present the point of view of the city of Philadelphia. Sincerely yours,

WILLIAM L. RAFSKY.

Housing Coordinator.

SECTION 10. RESPONSIBILITIES OF OWNERS AND OCCUPANTS Where in this code the obligation for observance is not clearly designated, the respective responsibility of owner, operator, and occupant is as follows:

10.1. Every occupant of a dwelling, dwelling unit, or rooming unit shall maintain in a clean and sanitary condition that part of the dwelling, dwelling unit, and yard which he occupies and controls; and shall be responsible for his own misuse of areas and facilities available in coṁmon.

10.2. Every owner or operator of a two-family dwelling, multifamily dwelling or rooming house shall maintain in a clean and sanitary condition the shared er public areas of the dwelling and yard.

10.3. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall dispose of all rubbish, ashes, garbage, and other organic waste in a clean and sanitary manner by placing it in approved storage or disposal facilities. Every occupant shall provide the necessary facilities for his dwelling unit and shall maintain them in a clean and sanitary manner. The owner or operator of a multifamily dwelling shall be responsible for supplying a common storage or disposal area and for the clean and sanitary maintenance of the common storage or disposal area, and shall be respossible further for placing out for collection all common garbage and rubbish containers, if supplied by such owner or operator. Where any facilities are for tbe sole use of an occupant, it shall be the responsibility of the occupant to place these containers out for collection.

10.4. Every owner or operator of every roominghouse shall dispose of all rubbish in a clean and sanitary manner by placing it in supplied and approved storage or disposal facilities which are safe and sanitary.

10.5. Every occupant of a dwelling containing a single dwelling unit shan be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents, or other pests in it or in the yard. In a two-family dwelling or a multifamily dwelling the occupant shall be responsible for such extermination whenever his dwelling unit is the only one infested. When, however, infestation is caused by failure of the owner or operator to maintain a dwelling in a rodent-proof or substantially insectproof condition, extermination shall be the responsibility of the owner or operator.

10.6. Every owner or operator shall be responsible for extermination of any insects, rodents, or other pests whenever infestation exists in 2 or more of the dwelling units in any dwelling or in the shared or public areas of any 2-family dwelling or any multifamily dwelling.

10.7. Every owner or operator of a roominghouse shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents, or other pests in it or in the yard.

10.8. Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall keep all supplied facilities, including plumbing fixtures, cooking equipment, and screens in it in a clean and sanitary condition and shall be responsible for the exercise of reasonable care in the proper use and operation.

10.9. Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall be responsible for hanging and removing all screens required for his dwelling unit by this code.

[ocr errors][merged small]

10.10. Every owner or operator of a two-family dwelling or multifamily dwelling shall be responsible for hanging and removing all screens required by this code for windows and doors opening to outdoor space from shared or public areas.

10.11. Every owner or operator of a rooming house shall be responsible for hanging and removing all screens required by this code.

10.12. During that time of the year when it is necessary, as determined by the department, every owner or operator of every two-family dwelling, multifamily dwelling and rooming house shall supply adequate heat to every habitable room therein except where there are separate heating facilities for each dwelling unit, which facilities are under the sole control of the occupant of such dwelling unit.

10.13. No owner, operator or occupant shall cause any service, equipment or utility which is required by this code to be removed, shut off or discontinued for any occupied dwelling let or occupied by him, except for such temporary interruption as may be necessary while actual repairs or alterations are in process, or during temporary emergencies.

10.14. Every dwelling of six or more dwelling units in which the owner or operator does not reside shall have a janitor as deemed necessary by the department.

10.15. A contract effective as between owner and operator, or owner and occupant, with regard to compliance hereunder shall not relieve any part of his direct responsibility under this code.

10.16. Every owner or operator shall advise the occupant in writing either by insertion in the lease between the parties or otherwise of the maximum number of occupants permitted in the occupied premises under this code.

The CHAIRMAN. The cities and the States, by legislation and by voluntary action, could do so much. It is a crime and a shame that they don't do it. I would be willing to pass a law that a man who owned a piece of rental property or any other kind of property, had to maintain it to a certain degree, to certain standards. I think we ought to have those kinds of laws.

Mr. RAFSKY. That is true.

The CHAIRMAN. It will maintain the value of all the other property, just as a matter of common horse sense, good business. They ought to do it.

Well, I am doing most of the talking. You may proceed.

Mr. RAFSKY. I welcome your remarks, because they coincide with much of our thinking.

However, in saying all of that, we still feel, and I know you do, that Federal aid is necessary. And I want to say, in view of the comments made this morning, that as part of our statement we say we welcome the approach used in the Housing Act of 1954, because it recognizes the limitations of cities in providing remedies for inferior shelter.

The bill has a number of constructive features, which we hope will be adopted. We feel, however, that these provisions do not go far enough in the approaches and the methods endorsed.

In our comments on urban renewal, we say that the approach is a good one; that we have tried some of these suggestions already in Philadelphia, but the key to it is the amount of money that is put into the program. At the end of 5 years, at the end of 1954, we will only have eliminated a little more than 2 percent of our one hundred

a odd thousand dwellings which are located in what we call redevelopment or blighted areas. And we spent almost $1 million in doing that litle job.

So, we feel that when the concept is expanded from redevelopment to include rehabilitation and conservation, the overall concept of urban renewal, that the key is the amount of money to be appropriated.

And that is not merely a shifting of emphasis, but rather an enlargement of an existing program.

I recognize that this committee is not responsible for the appropriations, but I think it is important to be said in carrying out the important language of those sections of the proposed Act.

In the general area of the liberalization of the mortgage insurance terms, sections 203 and those that follow after that, we feel again that it is a step in the right direction. We point out, however, that both as we look at it nationally and specifically as applied to Philadelphia. that perhaps the best we can get out of that liberalization of terms is keeping up with the normal demand of creation of new households and replacing homes that are either demolished or destroyed.

So we ask: What can be done to eliminate the 10 million substandard nonfarm homes in the United States, where occupants can turn neither to the Government at this time nor to private industry to provide what they need in housing, with minimum standards of decency?

We have calculated that the new housing starts in 1953, together with the conversions—and the conversions played a big role in our city-we have many old, large homes, and we are just about able to keep up with that demand. Our migration pretty well cancels itself out, thinking of both in and out migration. So, except for public housing, we haven't been able to reduce substandard housing in Philadelphia, and that at the present time is compartively small. We will have completed some 8,000 units, including the 1937 and 1949 programs, by the end of this year.

Applying the United States census figures to Philadelphia iteli, according to the income data of 1949, better than 75 percent of our population earned less than $5,000. And, if we adjust it upward by the upward movement of income in the last 5 years, we think that at least 65 percent are still in that category.

I have in our testimony the data used in the President's Committee report, as well as the problems we have in Philadelphia. We don't have new homes at less than $10,000, thinking of the average 3-bedroom home. Our real-estate board people tell us that last year the average sales price of existing homes was $8,400. The rental level for new construction is $85 a month, and upward.

And a survey made by our University of Pennsylvania lat fa!! indicates that the vacancy ratio in rental units already established was less than 2 percent. So, for all intents and purposes, they are not available.

So, we raise the general question and I must admit, in all frankness, it is really being raised because we do not have answers as to how to meet this problem of housing for that middle-income group of between $3,000 and $5,000.

The CHAIRMAN. You see, that is what makes me get impatient once in awhile sitting up here. Everybody comes in here and talks about it, but nobody can tell us how to do it, except by reducing interest rates. Well, of course, interest rates are just one of a dozen costs that go into housing.

Mr. RAFSKY. What disturbs us is that you had a President's Committee, and you have all these excellent and qualified people in the Administration who have been working on this problem, and they haven't come up with the kind of answers we are looking for.

We have some general suggestions which I have included in the data, and I would like to discuss them with you for a few minutes. But the only thing of concrete substance that has come forth in the legislation is section 221, in which you have a home which can be financed for 40 years with no downpayment, except for small settlement costs.

As you know, the president of the National Mortgage Association is a Philadelphian, William Clarke, and I think he knows the Philadelphia situation extremely well.

The CHAIRMAN. Yes. He testified here.

Mr. RAFSKY. He indicated that to you; that is right. We don't know of private home builders who are in a position to build at that price of $7,000. Even our 2-bedroom homes run at $8,000, at the very bottom.

So, we fear that for Philadelphia, and for possibly other large cities, that that is not the answer. What worries us even more is that the income levels of families living in blighted areas, according to the 1950 census, and as we adjust it upward according to the wage and income data available to us, is in that range of $2,000 to $2,500. We wonder if what we are talking about is even available for that particular group.

These are the kinds of things that we have thought about, and I have listed them on page 10 of our statement.

We say that a fresh approach is needed, and that perhaps the extension of existing approaches far beyond their present limits might help as well.

We think that both financial incentives and subsidies have to be explored.

No. 1, we ask: What about the possibility of reducing downpayments by encouraging direct loans to home purchasers! We have in Philadelphia, for example, what is known as a lease-purchase contract in which, instead of the rent going to take care of merely the landlord's responsibilities and his profit margin, it is to be somewhat a part of a downpayment, and when it reaches a certain point, which might be the normal downpayment, financing on a regular mortgage is then provided. It is subject to abuses which we are trying to cope with, but it is one of the possibilities.

The CHAIRMAN. A gentleman was in from Indiana a couple of days ago with a plan similar to that. Were you here!

Mr. Rafsky. No; I was not.

The CHAIRMAN. His idea is that manufacturers and groups of businessmen, and individuals, for that matter, would build homes and, if FHA would finance them, they in turn would make their own deals with the purchasers, with maybe no downpayment, maybe for 2 or 3 years, but they and the manufacturers and those groups would guarantee the mortgages to FHA.

Of course, at the moment FHA will not finance houses on that basis, unless they are occupied by the owner or the purchaser. I believe your plan is a little bit similar.

Mr. Rafsky. I am interested in your suggestion, because the spokesmen for the home builders in Philadelphia have told me they would be willing to set up a nonprofit corporation to do just that kind of building, provided they could get the type of mortgage terms you

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »