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program of subsidies for middle-income families at the expense of aid to the very poor.

If the end result of the bill should be to hasten reaching the numerical housing goal set by Congress but at the same time should create greater hardship for lower income families, then it would serve to entrench the divisions in our nation rather than to alleviate them. That would be tragic.

For that reason, the League believes it more important to achieve the right kind of legislation than to report out a Housing and Urban Development Act for 1970. We are confident that you share this concern.


Washington, D.C., August 7, 1970. Mr. CARL A. S. COAN, Staff Director, Subcommittee on Housing and Urban Affairs, Committee on

Banking and Currency, New Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. COAN: I am enclosing a statement on the Workable Program for Community Improvement as you requested in our telephone conversation earlier this week, as well as copies for each Senator on the subcommittee.

The statement was prepared for us by Stephen Ronfeldt and Richard LeGates, Staff Attorneys, National Housing Law Project, Berkeley, California. It also embodies the views of our program and the attorneys representing twelve projects we have funded throughout the country.

We consider the Workable Program an essential tool. It is the only effective method for Congress and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure that appropriated funds for housing, renewal and urban development purposes are being spent in accordance with the high goals of national housing legislation. It provides the necessary planning whereby urban blight and the scarcity of low and moderate income housing can be systematically remedied. It provides protection for all residents of a community by requiring that community to assess its housing needs and commit itself to short and long range programs that will satisfy those needs. It permits HUD to introduce modern methods of construction, safety codes and relocation assistance to all communitiesand to permit citizen involvement in the planning of their city's future.

There is opposition to the Workable Program and much of it is justified-not because the concept is not essential—but due to present inadequacies and gaps in the Workable Program itself. We believe that, when these defects are remedied by statutory amendment and followed by more effective administrative regulations, the opposition will disappear. City officials and executives who have the responsibility of providing for the health, safety and welfare of their residents will find a modified Workable Program the right approach to meet their obligations. We are, therefore, in the process of formulating legislative changes to improve the operation of the Workable Program.

We would appreciate your distribution of the attached statement. We stand ready to provide any device and assistance to the committee as desired. Sincerely,


Associate Director.



The Workable Program for Community Improvement (42 USC $ 1451 (a)) is presently the center of a controversy with far-reaching implications. Total repeal of the Workable Program was recently called for by the National Association of Housing and Renewal Officials (NAHRO)' and by the Conference of Mayors (over the strong objection of a minority caucus of mayors)* In response,


1 Statement of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials on Housing and Urban Development Legislation of 1970 before the Subcommittee on Hopsins. Committee on Banking and Currency. U.S. House of Representatives, June 11. 1970. "Priority Amendment #7".

Resolution #8 of resolutions adopted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Denver, June 17, 1970.

3 Substitute Resolution #8 introduced by caucus of minority mayors, Denver, Jone 17

HUD assistant Secretary Samuel Jackson, the federal official responsible for the Workable Program, has stated :

“Currently, some national organizations are commited to eliminating the Workable Program from the Department's legislative arsenal. I deplore these efforts. They constitute an entirely regressive posture. So long as the forces making for urban decay, disorganization, and unrest persist, the underlying philosophy of the Workable Program as an approach to the

solution of urban problems is as valid today as it was 15 years ago." + For reasons detaled below, it is clear that the Workable Program requirements must be strengthened, not eliminated. If our cities are to deal effectively with problems of housing and urban decay.

The basic objective of the Workable Program is to encourage localities receiving HUD monies to develop comprehensive plans for action to meet their local problems of urban slums and decay. As stated in the Presidential Task Force Report recommending it, the Workable Program is intended to:

“Encourage the widest possible ingenuity, initiative and discretion at the local level, but ... require clear and certain evidence that the city is realistically addressing itself to the processes by which slums are formed, and is not simply engaging in superficial, piece-meal approaches which will waste both Federal and local funds and fail to accomplish the objectives."'S

To assure that localities have comprehensively thought through their housing problems and have locally developed and implemented programs consistent with the Housing and Crban Development Act, HUD has established broad, flexible performance standards. Every two years, localities with HD assistance for many projects must demonstrate their compliance with these standards by showing that they have:

(a) codes and Code Enforcement. Adopted modern building. plumbing, electrical, housing and fire prerention codes and maintained an effective program of code enforcement.

The Housing Act of 1949 was amended in 1969 to eliminate the Workable Program requirement with respect to Public Housing and 8 221 (d) (3) housing. The requirement was never applied to § 236 housing.

(b) Programming and Planning. Developed effective and continuing planning and programming including comprehensive plans to overcome physical, social, racial and economic problems of slums and blighted areas and implemented programs to translate these plans into action.

(c) Housing and Relocation. Analysed low- and moderate-income housing needs and formulated action programs to meet them by expanding the supply of loirand moderate-income housing units demolished by HUD-assisted programs on a one-to-one basis where necessary and adequately relocated all persons displaced by governmental action.

(d) Citizen Inrolrement. Provided opportunities for citizens, especially poor and minority citizens, to participate in the planning and execution of HUD. assisted programs which vitally affect them and their neighborhoods."

The resolution of the Conference of Mayors criticizes the Workable Program as:

really 'unworkable in that it fails to provide the flexibility needed to deal with individual local situations ... (it) sets up standards that become arbitrary and cannot be directly related to locally established objectives ... this comprehensive planning must be done on an individual basis and not prescribed by a rigid set of statutory rules. The majority resolution misrepresents both the original intent and current effects of the Workable Program requirement. From its inception, the Workable Program was intended to "encourage the widest possible ingenuity initiative and discretion at the local level." The Workable Program Handbook, adopted in April, 1969. prescribes only broad performance standards placing responsibility

• From address to the Metropolitan Regional Council, New York, June 30, 1970. * Report to the President. December, 1953, p. 113.

& Urban Renewal Program; Neighborhood Development Program: Concentrated Code Enforcement Program: Interim Assistance for Blighted Areas ; Demolition Grant Program: Community Renewal Program ; General Neighborhood Renewal Plan : Rehabilitation loans and grants in urban renewal and concentrated code enforcement areas and in other than urban renewal or concentrated code enforcement areas assisted under the provision of Sec. 115(a) (2) and Sec. 312(a)(1). Workable Program Handbook (RHA 7100.1. Chap. ter 1. page 3).

Workable Program Handbook (RHA 7100.1) October, 1968. & Op. Cit. Mayors' Resolution.

on local officials for both the development and implementation of local programs. Commenting on this Handbook, the Journal of Housing stated :

The central concept of the new handbook (is) to make the workable program the locality's program, by giving it the initiative and responsibility to develop specific actions tailored to the actual problems and needs in the

community.' HUD has made it clear in very recent policy statements that enforcement of the performance standards "must and will be based upon a realistic assessment of needs and resources.” 10 The locality is not expected “to do the impossible.” Thus, HUD does not dictate what local codes should contain, how a local relocation program is to be carried out, what type of local planning is most appropriate to meet local needs or how citizen participation in HUD-assisted programs must be developed.

What HUD does clearly require is that each locality develop comprehensive, local solutions and periodically demonstrate that its chosen strategies comply with the basic goals of the Housing and Urban Development Act. That require. ment is critical to prevent wasted federal monies and to assure that congressional purposes are carried out. As the minority resolution of the Conference of Mayors stated :

"Certification of the Workable Program depends only on local governments commitment to all the ingredients necessary to develop our cities and solve our urban crisis.” 11

At one time, the Workable Program was criticized as a deterrent to suburbs from applying for HUD-assisted low and moderate income housing. Some suburbs claimed that they did not want to apply for such housing because they would have to comply with the Workable Program requirement, particularly the requirement for a code program and code enforcement. This criticism (or excuse) is no longer valid. The Housing Act of 1949 was amended in 1969 to allow localities to apply for such housing without meeting the Workable Program prerequisites. The Workable Program now serves as a considerable and flexible incentive to improve and increase the localities' housing supplies.

NAHRO, for reasons wholly inconsistent with the Mayors' majority resolution, criticizes the Workable Program because :

.. with one exception (housing codes) all of the Workable Program requirements are part of the regular urban renewal procedures." NAHRO does not contest the requirements of the Workable Program or their enforcement as “arbitrary” or “too rigid”. To the contrary. NAHRO just says that these requirements are "part of the regular urban renewal procedures." NAHRO makes clear that the requirements of the Workable Program are well accepted by Congress in other legislation and have not been found to be “unwork. able” there.

NAHRO's position is simply wrong in that the Workable Program imposes critically important performance standards not required by any other legislation or regulation. These unique requirements include:

1. the development of centralized or coordinated city-wide relocation programs; 2. the expansion of the supply of low- and moderate-income housing;

3. when the vacancy rate is below three percent, one-to-one replacement of low- and moderate-income units demolished in connection with all HCD-assisted activities, which causes displacement, including urban renewal projects commenced prior to the effective date of 42 USC $ 1455 (c);

4. comprehensive, city-wide planning to meet not only physical, but also economic, racial and social problems; and

.5. opportunities for all citizens, including low-income and minority citizens. to participate in all HUD-assisted programs for which the Workable Program is a prerequisite.

More important, NAHRO's position entirely ignores the basic objectives of the Workable Program--to require comprehensive, city-wide planning. If the Workable Program were abolished, cities would be left with a handful of urban renewal requirements which apply to limited areas within the urban renewal proj. ect. Urban slums cannot be attacked by separate and unrelated federal pro

9 Journal of Housing, April, 1969, p. 188. 10 Letter from Samuel Johnson to Mayor Joseph Alioto dated March 24, 1970. 11 Op. cit. Minority Mavors' Resolution. 12 Op. Cit. NAHRO testimony.


grams in different parts of the city. As James Rouse testified in the Congressional hearings which led to the enactment of the Workable Programs:

"A city that is unwilling to set up a comprehensive program for slum prevention and slum elimination is simply chasing its slums from one part of the city to another. The Federal Government cannot afford to encourage or participate in that kind of waste."

Moreover, the Workable Program is unique in that it requires both comprehensive planning and programming. Comprehensive planning by itself is useless and a potential waste of money. The Workable Program is the only requirement with teeth in it to encourage cities to actually develop local strategies and act to meet their urban decay.

The Workable Program has resulted in substantial achievements. As a result of the Workable Program, many cities have collected and analyzed information on their city-wide problems of inadequate housing and urban decay and have begun more effectively to allocate their resources to meet these problems. A recent Comptroller General's report 18 identified the Workable Program as the best tool for encouraging such planning and programming and called upon HUD to strengthen the Workable Program requirements to assure a more systematic and efficient allocation of federal monies.

The National Commission on Urban Problems (the Douglas Commission) emphasized that the great increase in the number of cities with codes and code enforcement programs has been a direct result of the Workable Program requirement (page 62). Municipal Code enforcement is the single most important protection for low- and moderate-income tenants against housing which is badly constructed or not maintained in a decent, safe and sanitary condition.

The adoption of these modern codes has also facilitated the use of new building techniques. Operation Breakthrough, the most important, innovative housing program of the present Administration, is largely dependent upon new building techniques and the removal of obsolete and restrictive codes. Increased use of the Workable Program requirement for modern codes is essential if such prototype mass-produced housing is to become a reality.

The Workable Program requirement is vital to protect the interests of residents displaced by governmental action. Only the Workable Program requires cityiride coordination to develop an effective program to protect persons displaced by all government actions. This requirement is the only such protection for residents displaced by governmental activities not subject to specific relocation laws and the only means of ensuring that various displacing bodies, possibly unaware of competing demands, will not plan to use the same relocation resources.

The Workable Program is also vital in ensuring one-to-one replacement of housing units demolished by HUD-assisted activities where housing shortages exist. In recognition of the importance of replacing low- and moderate-income housing demolished by urban renewal, Congress in 1969 imposed an express statutory requirement that housing demolished be replaced on a one-to-one basis in all urban renewal projects. The Wo ble Program makes this principle applicable to all HUD-assisted displacement and provides a mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the requirement.

Finally, the Workable Program is vital to the development and meaningful participation of an informed and responsible citizen element. The Workable Program's requirement for meaningful citizen participation is the single most important federal device to ensure that the people affected, the intended beneficiaries of HUD programs, have a voice in determining the character of programs that shape their communities and determine their chances for a better life.

The Workable Program can be improved and strengthened in several ways:

1. The current requirement contained in the Workable Program Handbook effective April 1, 1969 should be made statutory to re-emphasize Congress's concern that localities have comprehensive, action-oriented programs to meet their problems of slum and blight by adopting and enforcing housing related codes, engaging in planning, developing programs to expand the supply of low- and moderate-income housing providing for adequate relocation, and permitting citizen involvement in programs which affect the neighborhood.

13 Comptroller General's Report to the Congress : Opportunity to Improve Allocation of HID Program Resources to Better Meet the National Housing Goal; B-118754 (Draft, Sept. 2, 1969).

2. HUD should establish improved and formal certification procedures which would provide for (a) application by localities well in advance of the expiration of their certification period; (b) a timely and written response by HUD stating its findings and conclusions as to approval or denial of certification; and (c) the fair and expedient resolution of differences and complaints. These procedures woudl help prevent judgments made under the pressure of expiring programs and possible abuses of discretion by HUD in approving or disapproving certifications.

3. In order to assist localities to meet the requirements of the Workable Program with respect to code enforcement, the program should be coordinated with Federally-Assisted Code Enforcement (FACE) program. Where the la. cality demonstrates that it cannot otherwise comply, financial assistance under that program should be provided. FACE guidelines should be relaxed to permit federal assistance in areas outside of concentrated code enforcement areas where necessary to assist cities to comply with Workable Program requirements, and FACE funding should be increased to the extent necessary.

4. The Secretary of HUD should be instructed to develop procedures to elicit precise quantified information from localities in their Workable Program submissions rather than narrative information. The required information should:

(a) assist localities in fully assessing their needs and resources and developing rational priorities in their housing and urban development strategies.

(b) assist HUD in precise evaluation in localities compliance with Workable Program performance standard.

(c) facilitiate federal level allocation of resources in accordance with the GAO recommendation. 5. Federal assistance under the Community Renewal Program, General Neighborhood Renewal Program, and 701 Planning Assistance Program should be closely integrated with Workable Program planning to ensure that localities will hare adequate resources to develop high quality Workable Program and that duplication in planning efforts will be minimized.


This statement is submitted on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers, whose member companies—large, medium, and small, and located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, account for a substantial portion of the nation's production of manufactured goods, and employ millions of people in manufacturing industries. The Association's housing policy as approved by its Board of Directors is included at the end of these comments.


The 1949 Housing Act posited the goal of a "decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family." But this goal is far from being attained. Supply falls further and further behind urgent demand. The extent and nature of this housing crisis affects all Americans. This is obvious after a quick look at any city of even moderate size; it is oppressive in the large cities, it is serious in most suburban and rural areas. An examination of the increasing gap between our explicit national intent and our achievements to date should heighten a sense of urgency, rechannel energies and resources, and make more practical and specific our goals and methods.

Federal programs have not solved the housing problem. Nor should they alone be expected to. Subsidies and mortgage insurance are not the sole answer, although these have been the main props of government assistance.


What is needed now is the encouragement of aggressive new approaches. especially by private industry, in order to implement fully the national policy enunciated over 20 years ago. The 1949 Housing Act stated that private enterprise was to be “encouraged to serve as large a part of the total market as it can"

Private industry can provide management know-how. Providing housing should be no different from most corporate ventures. Industry can provide research and development expertise—we have just begun to tap the possibilities of new tech

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