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And really, it is beautiful, and any of us could live in these units, but we wouldn't, not because of the housing but because of the crime, vandalism, et cetera, still continuing in the area—and the housing is going to be lovely—but when you see just a year or two later what has happened to some of the other rehabilitated areas, we ask—just what are we doing? I know you don't know the answer.
Secretary ROMNEY. One of the reasons that we have proposed tenant participation on housing authority boards is because we want the tenants to feel a greater involvement. And one of the reasons we have suggested a lease and grievance procedure is because, unless there is a way by which those who feel they have been treated unfairly can have a hearing that they feel is an impartial and just hearing, it tends to build up resentments that contribute to the conditions you are talking about. So we are trying to do many things in connection with the housing projects themselves. And I am involved in some overall capacities in the administration. But you are dealing, in my opinion, with the things that are gravest in our society in this country at the present time.
Mrs. SULLIVAN. The chairman has me under the hammer. I can't ask any more questions now, but I will submit some in writing to be answered for the record.
I just want to ask you, Mr. Chairman, for unanimous consent to have my remarks at Georgetown on this particular subject included in the record at this point.
Mr. BARRETT. That may be done, without objection. It is so ordered.
(Mrs. Sullivan's address to the Georgetown University Thrift and Housing Forum, as placed in the Congressional Record, including the introductory remarks, follows:)
[From the Congressional Record, Apr. 6, 1971)
ADDRESS BY CONGRESSWOMAN SULLIVAN AT ANNUAL THRIFT AND HOUSING
FORUM OF GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY Mrs. SULLIVAN. Mr. Speaker, over the weekend, Georgetown University held its seventh annual thrift and housing forum, sponsored by the school of business administration and the school for summer and continuing education. Speakers representing the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation joined with outstanding University faculty members and leaders of the thrift industry in discussing changing patterns in thrift and housing.'
It was my privilege and pleasure to be invited by the Reverend R. J. Henle, S.J., president of Georgetown University, to address the guests at the Forum at the opening event, a dinner on Friday night. The subject of my remarks was "Patterns Change --But the Problem Remains."
As ranking majority member of the Subcommittee on Housing of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, I feel very strongly that unless and until we solve the problem of making our inner cities habitable environments once again, our efforts to provide adequate housing at reasonable cost will never succeed.
NOT JUST A MATTER OF BRICKS AND MORTAR AND CEMENT
In other words, Mr. Speaker, the major housing problem now is not merely one of bricks and mortar and cementit is the ability of people to live safely in their home neighborhoods. That is the requisite for making the housing in those neighborhoods into acceptable and pleasant homes.
Under unanimous consent, Mr. Speaker, I include in the ConGRESSIONAL RECORD as part of my remarks, the address I made Friday on this subject, as follows:
PATTERNS CHANGE_BUT THE PROBLEM REMAINS (Address by Congresswoman Leonor K. Sullivan, Democrat, of St. Louis, Mo.,
ranking member, Subcommittee on Housing, House Committee on Banking and Currency, at opening session of seventh annual Georgetown University Thrift and Housing Forum, Friday night, April 2, 1971, at New South Building, main campus)
Ever since Father Henle left St. Louis University to become president of Georgetown, I have regarded this distinguished Jesuit scholar and educator as still being one of my constituents, and the venerable institution which he heads in our Nation's Capital as a logical extension of my constituency. Thus, I can usually be persuaded without much difficulty to come here and participate in some of the many outstanding events sponsored by Georgetown University in expanding and improving the economic and cultural life of our nation.
Father Henle's invitation to participate in this Seventh Annual Thrift and Housing Forum was particularly appealing to me because it provides an opportunity to challenge old solutions to a chronic problem in our society-solutions which may have worked well at some stages of our national development but are not operating successfully now—and to point the way to new avenues of thinking and doing in pursuit of decent homes for all of our 200 million people.
As the theme of this Forum indicates, the patterns of thrift and of housing are indeed changing. Nevertheless, the problems remain. They will not be solved by the whereas clauses of resolutions, but they can be solved by resolution-by a determined drive of private enterprise and public leadership joined together in a practical partnership in which the profit motive is neither despised and ignored, on the one hand, nor made paramount and exclusive on the other.
NEITHER GOVERNMENT NOR INDUSTRY CAN DO JOB ALONE
There are those who feel, and vigorously maintain, that the housing problems of the American people can be solved with a twist of the magic faucet of Treasury financing-open the spigot of Federal dollars and everything will be solved.
If this were a valid concept, then our public housing projects would all be garden spots of joy and comfort and tranquility, and every family which could not afford decent housing would nevertheless be living nicely and happily in all of the metropolitan areas of the country.
Then there are those who feel, and just as vigorously maintain, that private enterprise, if unfettered and left alone to put the profit motive to work on this problem, could solve the housing shortage overnight.
If that were a workable solution, the problem never would have arisen in the first place, and certainly would not have grown to present proportions in an economy approaching the trillion dollar a year level.
A combination of industrial innovation, private investment, government leadership, and public funds can do what public money or private initiative cannot do alone. Certainly this is not an untried theory. In 35 years, we have reversed the pattern of American housing from largely a landlord-tenant economy to one in which the great majority of families own, or are buying, their own homes.
Furthermore, in that period of 35 years, we have progressed from a nation in which one-third of our families were ill-housed to one in which perhaps only onetwelfth live in substandard homes. By most yardsticks, this would be considered remarkable progress in less than two generations.
But is it remarkable enough? I think the fact that we are here at this Forum looking for new answers in the changing patterns of our housing economy, and the fact that endless hours of every Congressional session in recent years have been devoted to housing legislation and home financing problems, establish clearly that none of us is satisfied with the degree of progress we have achieved, no matter how remarkable it might appear to have been in mathematical terms.
DEPRESSION ERA PROGRAMS WORKED-FOR THEM
Lest we condemn unfairly those who invented the Home Owners Loan Corporation, the Federal Housing Administration, the Federal Home Loan Bank System, the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, the United States Public Housing Authority, the Greenbelts, and all of the other new housing programs of a Depression-ridden nation 35 or more years ago, I think we must acknowledge that what they did was imaginative and tremendously effective. Those programs all accomplished miracles of their time.
When World War II came along, we found that we could instantly create good livable housing for thousands upon thousands of families near the new jobs which urgently had to be manned as part of our defense effort. Following the war, this defense housing still continued to fill a need: some of the projects were turned into cooperatives for the families which had occupied them during the war and had come to like the life style they provided; others were converted into public housing for the poor. The suburbs, meanwhile, bloomed with new single-family developments as the GI bill provided an incentive for millions of returning servicemen and women to buy homes in pleasant neighborhoods where their kids could enjoy the outdoors and good new schools and a rising tide of affluence.
But that was when our cities began the plunge into poverty. Then, in 1949, the Housing and Urban Development Act pointed the way to rejuvenation of run-down commercial areas and slums in our cities into magnificent high-rise apartment houses, parks, playgrounds, malls and open plazas, civic centers, parking garages and office buildings. And so, of course, all of our urban housing problems were quickly solved.
Except that they weren't.
THE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM NOW
Everything we worked for and thought we had accomplished in those exciting days of change is now coming apart at the seams. The cities are in worse shape financially than at any time in their history—they are literally on the verge of bankruptcy. The suburban areas, which so recently bloomed, are now fading into embattled enclaves of inadequate sewers, crowded schools, tax troubles, and traffic nightmares. The poor are huddled masses of inner city despair, yearning to breathe free. The housing industry has just gone through another suffocating period of tight money. The thrift industry has suddenly found itself surfeited with funds which cannot immediately be placed out on loan at high enough yields to meet the interest rates it has committed itself to pay to its savers. Únemployment has reached out to the skilled, the talented, the educated, over-extended suburbanite, and has caused a surge of foreclosures. Public housing is a vandalridden jungle of frightened people. And we in the Subcommittee on Housing of the House Committee on Banking and Currency—the Subcommittee which pioneered college housing, and housing for the elderly, and mass transit, and Model Cities and subsidized home ownership and New Cities legislation—are fresh out of instant solutions, and are, for the first time in the 16-year history of that Subcommittee's existence, undertaking now an overall investigation into the basic fundamentals of how we get housing and what to do to get more.
So I welcome you tonight to Dilemma, a state of mind in the housing field compounded partly of disillusionment, partly of uncertainty, partly of doubt, partly of desperation.
It isn't that we don't know how to build good homes in vast quantities. We have done it. Nor is it a case of lacking funds to provide decent homes for all of our people. This nation can afford anything it is determined to have. The situation is far from hopeless. But the relatively easy answers of yesterday, which brought about a revolution in middle class housing in America, aren't working for the lowincome family, and the bright promise of tomorrow is still on the drawing boards of government agencies and private enterprise, waiting to be born.
SOME ANSWERS—BUT NOT ENOUGH
Each of the speakers at this Forum will have some good things to say about whatever phase of the housing industry his group or organization is responsible for administering. The savings and loan industry, as I said, is loaded with lendable funds and is anxious to lend them out to those who build and those who buy new housing, or to rehabilitate older housing. The construction industry can point to some promising new techniques in off-site fabrication. The Government will undoubtedly, through its spokesmen here, cheer us on with descriptions of Operation Breakthrough on prefabs, the newly enacted secondary mortgage market for conventional loans, the modest subsidy program also enacted last year to reduce mortgage payments for some families by $20 a month for five years, and the progress on model cities, urban renewal, mobile homes and subsidized home ownership.
But the lower low income family will still be heard asking-perhaps plaintively, perhaps belligerently—“when do you get around to us?”
And the answer to that plea has to be-regrettably, it has to be—“not very quickly” or “not yet” —or "soon, perhaps—maybe.
The answer has to be a put-off, that is, because the housing problem no longer is just one of bricks and mortar and cement and financing which characterized so much of our housing effort of the past 35 years; at this point, it is also a problem of social engineering (a deplorable term for a necessary next step).
BIGGEST AREA OF NEED IS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER HAD GOOD HOUSING
Except for the elderly, the handicapped, and the recently unemployed, whose incomes have been sharply reduced by causes or factors beyond their control, the biggest area of housing need now is for those who have never been properly housed. In good times or bad, these families, and their parents and grandparents, had never known what we regard as adequate housing. Many of them used to be hidden from view in backcountry shacks and cabins, where they scratched for survival. Now they live in our cities, and their needs cry out to us for humane solutions, while the solutions we devise often collapse in false assumptions that all we have to provide is a warm, clean, sound dwelling.
This is, admittedly, an oversimplification on my part; not all of our lower income families clustered in slums and deprivation are recent rural in-migrants; many go back several generations in our urban areas. But as the public housing experience has demonstrated to us, not all people who are poor are endowed by nature and disposition with nobility, thoughtfulness, self reliance, neighborliness, intelligence, cooperation, love for humanity, or lots of other virtues the story books used to find inherent in poverty.
Some of them, frankly, just aren't nice people. As long as they lived off by themselves, hidden from us, we paid no attention to how they lived or even whether they lived. In the cities, however, we feel impelled to make them less offensive to ou sensitivities by placing them in public housing and then forget them. Enough such families have turned public housing into a jungle of inhumanity and crime and destructiveness.
THE AGGRESSIONS OF THE UNDISCIPLINED AND BRUTISH
The decent families in public housing—by far the majority-have despaired of seeing any effective discipline, even despair of their physical safety, and can not wait to move anywhere—even back to the slums-rather than subject themselves and their children to the aggressions of the undisciplined and brutish few among their neighbors who have been destroying their environment.
If there were an epidemic of disease raging through our central cities, the entire country would be galvanized into a vast effort to eradicate the germs and prevent a spread of the infection to everyone else. Fear of our own personal danger would force us to act. If it was diphtheria or plague or cholera or malaria or any of the other diseases which we know medical science can conquer, we would act quickly with compulsory inoculations and with a crash program to clean up the sources of the infection.
But when an elderly woman has to barricade herself in her apartment or room at dusk for fear of being robbed of whatever few dollars she carries in her purse, or of being beaten or killed, we don't see it and we aren't aware of it except through an occasional obituary in the newspapers.
When the children in a slum area are brutalized, we seldom know about it. When dope addiction, or alcohol, or the inherent drive to “be a big shot” makes criminals out of whole gangs of neighborhood youths, it's usually 'not in our neighborhoods; although we do get some extra locks on our doors and windows and perhaps install an electronic system to protect our own safety.
“UPGRADING” OF NEIGHBORHOODS NOT ENOUGH Frankly, short of abandoning our central cities entirely-just picking up and leaving, and letting them to the rats and the termites and the weather and the vandals and squatters, we aren't going to solve our inner city housing problems without doing something about the breakdown in morality which makes every central city area a combat war zone.
The fear which is rampant in our inner cities makes all discussions of housing improvement there academic. The savings institutions hesitate to invest any of their loan portfolios in such property-no matter how well intentioned or motivated the prospective buyer-owner may be—because the investment truly is risky. Drive through some of the neighborhoods in Washington of well-built, individual homes and your heart cries out for the conscientious families trying to maintain their properties amid a sea of garbage and litter and broken fences and trampled lawns and broken bottles. A vacant house whose quickly broken windows are replaced with boards nevertheless often displays evidence of forced entry and sometimes fire damage. While the sociologists deplore the flight of supermarkets from these areas, the neighborhood food stores which do manage to survive are battered fortresses in which the pilferage losses probably exceed the profits.
None of these problems will be solved merely by "upgrading” the appearance of the neighborhood. And there can't possibly be enough police to patrol every alley every minute of the day and night.
THE RIGHT OF THE INDIVIDUAL TO BE SAFE This is the environment in which millions of Americans live, most of them seeking some way to escape. Yet we are talking about the areas of our cities which could be an almost unlimited source of additional good housing, if only we could protect the rights of the individual to live safe from physical harm and safe froni vandal abuse of his property.
In frontier days, the neighbors armed themselves and banded together to protect themselves
and each other from marauders. This is not a practical solution in our cities. We must, instead, depend upon the police, and the police must depend upon the complete cooperation of the residents to identify the marauders and to help in prosecuting them. This is easy for us to say, but it takes real courage from those who would have to assume this hazardous burden. This is where the social engineering I spoke of has to be tried-particularly in the housing projects, but also in any crime-ridden neighborhood. The poor-most of all the poor, who are the main victims of crime-can not afford the luxury of not being “involved” with the law.
WHAT A FAMILY MUST LEARN TO DO FOR ITSELF
If we can solve the crime problems in our cities—and that's a mighty big "If”, I know—then I feel we can more confidently proceed to the rehabilitation of more urban housing and then teaching families that never had good housing before how to take care of what they have—to call a plumber before the leaking bathroom equipment rots the floor and brings down the plaster in the living room ceiling; to protect the pipes from freezing; to repair the back steps before they collapse; to get a leaking roof patched quickly; to make sure the kitchen range is attached to the flue; to drain the sediment from the hot water heater; to watch for evidence of frayed wiring; to avoid overloading the electrical circuits; to exercise reasonable care and prevent little problems from growing into major ones which threaten the structure itself. We can't assume that everyone who lives in a home already knows these things.
And then we have to do something to require honest dealing by unscrupulous home-improvement contractors and others who now prey on the poor, the fasttalking freezer plan salesmen, the roofing and siding racketeers, the gyp credit outfits. Under the Truth in Lending Act, I am happy to say, certain safeguards are now written into the Federal law to protect the unwary from some of these people, but the law still places the obligation on the home owners or householders to know what they are signing, and this is going to take a tremendous educational effort. We have found in the National Commission on Consumer Finance which was created in 1968 in Title IV of the Consumer Credit Protection Act, that most residents of low-income areas, and blacks as a group, have very little understanding of the concept of annual percentage rates of finance charges even when the information on such rates is fully disclosed, as now required under the law.
PROBLEMS OF THE 92 PERCENT AND OF THE REMAINING 6 PERCENT
A Forum such as this can bring greater understanding to those in the thrift industry of the new programs of government and the developments in the private sector to make mortgage money more readily available for the average family