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The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Mayor ALIOTO. Mr. Chairman, we have a new mayor out in Los Angeles, Tom Bradley. He has a long devotion to ameliorating housing conditions among the poor and the disadvantaged. With your permission, we would be pleased to hear from him. The CHAIRMAN. Mayor Bradley?
MAYOR TOM BRADLEY, LOS ANGELES, CALIF. Mayor BRADLEY. Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, each of us, as you can well see, could cite a number of examples in our own communities where the proposals before this committee and the Congress could very greatly affect us. I am going to cite just three.
In my city of Los Angeles, there are some 88,000 new housing units that are needed now. Many of those are for the elderly, many for the poor or those who are on limited incomes.
In the field of public housing, we have 800 units that are so old and deteriorated and dilapidated that they need to be replaced now. We have four redevelopment programs in our neighborhoods, many of them well along the way. They have been stymied, they have been disrupted, they have been threatened by the moratorium, by the cutoff.
Now, they are more threatened by the possibility that with the new legislation, with the new proposals before the Congress, that there may be continued interruption in the flow of those dollars.
Not only is the morale of our community affected, our staff in our community redevelopment agency may very likely begin next year looking for new positions unless this legislation is moved to a point where they can clearly see it is going to pass and will be signed into law.
I think that is the essential reason why we express such alarm here about the need for haste, not just with the Senate, but with the House as well. Our message is really directed to both the House and the Senate.
We believe that there must be some assurance that we are going to get the block grant, the community development bill, and that
it be tied to housing. Equally important is the fact that we must have some assurance that the programs now underway will not be devoid or disrupted to the point where they cannot be sure to continue.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Mayor ALIOTO. Mr. Chairman, Mayor Frank Burke of the city of Louisville always brings a very constructive viewpoint to these proceedings. We will call upon him.
MAYOR FRANK BURKE, LOUISVILLE, KY. Mayor BURKE. Mr. Chairman, each one has said before that we appreciate the opportunity to appear before this committee which has jurisdiction over legislation which, in a very real sense, is a part of the essential life support system of our cities. We really hope that what we are each saying is not repetitious but that it is cumulative and emphastic.
I suppose in the idiom of the military, that we are some of the field soldiers. While we do see the effects of the strategic approaches to housing problems and the needs for community development, what we really know about are the day-to-day needs of a majority of the American people.
To put into sort of general perspective what we see, it is that those programs most recently administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and for years before that by other agencies, despite admitted weaknesses, have dramatically transformed some of our center cities into really new worlds. Now they are methodically drifting to a stop.
In Louisville, I see a nonprofit-community based corporation which has built several million dollars worth of subsidized housing over the past 4 years with presently 100 percent occupancy and waiting lists. Now they are laying off the staff and folding up.
In those areas where housing and community development merge, we see again in Louisville one of the few apparently successful planned reuses of surplus Federal property after years of planning, controversy, and compromise, ready to be built to provide housing for persons of moderate income. Now it is simply being allowed to sit.
In terms of frustration and its subsequent evils, it would be difficult to overestimate what this situation can produce nationally. It is the nature of housing in community development programs that the results of these slowdowns and stops will take from 18 to 24 months to finally come to a dead stop.
What we respectfully suggest with all of the sense of urgency that we are capable of conveying is that Congress act now to assure continued momentum toward progress in American cities. We need housing and community development legislation, whether it is built of block grants or grant subsidies or whatever. We really believe there is a graver danger that there is going to be at least a yearlong period when the housing and community development programs can slip through the cracks.
Mr. Chairman, we are grateful for the opportunity to be here. We know we are all saying the same thing, but we do not know any better way to emphasize to you that it is important to every place.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor. Mayor Alioto. Mayor Stanley Cmich of Canton, Ohio, is next, Mr. Chairman. We would like to call on him now.
MAYOR STANLEY CMICH, CANTON, OHIO
Mayor Cmich. Mr. Chairman, I will be brief. I do not want to be repetitious. However, I am certain that we all agree that our visit here today deals with the serious concern of needed, necessary legislation to meet the expiration date of the present housing programs.
In Canton, we are concerned deeply with two top priorities, and that is a healthy economy and decent, safe, and sanitary housing for our citizens. In our community, we have a long list of senior citizen housing and low-income family housing needs. Therefore, we urge the passage of housing legislation that will meet the timetable and assure continuity of housing programs in our community.
Mayor Alfoto. Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor.
Mr. Chairman, Mayor John Driggs of the city of Phoenix, Ariz., I think, emphasizes the fact that housing problems are acute even in those cities that have an image of having great wealth, and we are pleased to hear from him.
MAYOR JOHN DRIGGS, PHOENIX, ARIZ. Mayor DRIGGS. Thank you.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the city of Phoenix' with 730,000 people, has only 1,580 public housing units. In my 4 years as mayor, we have been authorized only 200 additional units.
Clearly, that is inadequate. We were one of the last large cities to go into urban renewal. We are just in our second year of the neighborhood development program. We have an $11 million project for 100 acres right in our downtown area that is virtually at å standstill pending the passage of some community development legislation.
We desperately need funds to get this first project off the ground and let our citizens know that appropriate governmental action is important in our community.
We feel that the phase-in must be complete. We must have some continuation of construction. Clearly, in our city, if we do not have new construction authorizations in the public housing sector, we are just not going to be able to approach the problems in our growing cities. We have long, long waiting lists for these units.
We urge action by the Senate and the Congress at the earliest possible moment. Thank you.
Chairman SPARKMAN. Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Alfoto. Mayor Kenneth Gibson is doing an outstanding job in a very tough situation in the city of Newark, and I think he brings a particularly incisive viewpoint to this problem.
MAYOR KENNETH GIBSON, NEWARK, N.J. Mayor Gibson. Thank you. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, for over 2 years now the cities and the counties and the States have pressed for the enactment of a major housing bill and comprehensive community development legislation.
During this seemingly endless period in the absence of new legislation, we have experienced major hardships for our waiting on approval for the extension of the present program.
We have been riddled with impoundment. For almost a year, we have been at a standstill because of the housing moratorium. From the onset, our planning capabilities have become severely hampered. Our costs have increased, and our rehabilitation and new housing efforts have come to a virtual halt.
The situation need not continue if there is speedy action on community development block grants and new housing legislation. Certainly we are not suffering from a lack of need or know-how at the local level. What we lack is legislation.
Two years ago, in preparing our rehabilitation application for the city of Newark, we identified more than 8,000 units in need of rehabilitation. The number related to our needs for new housing starts clearly exceeds that figure. The housing moratorium alone has cost us the loss of 5,390 new units, and I can provide equally convincing statistics on urban renewal, neighborhood facilities, and the other community development and housing needs.
For better than a year now, we have heard over and over and over again that the new federalism approach is designed to return the decisonmaking power to the governments closest to the people, the ones most directly affected by public policy. Yet we are still waiting for this to become reality.
The whole situation reminds me of a person who once said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Your proposed community development block grant legislation represents the best of all that has been proposed to date. I urge you to take whatever steps are necessary to move this legislation through the Congress in order that it will be signed into law at the earliest possible date.
Thank you very much.
Mayor Alfoto. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Landrieu of New Orleans is doing such a good job of running his city that nobody is going to run against him for reelection this coming year. Nevertheless, he has serious housing problems.
MAYOR MOON LANDRIEU, NEW ORLEANS, LA. Mayor LANDRIEU. If the problem were not so complex, Mr. Chairman, I am sure I could suggest to you some rather specific and simple solutions. But it is one of the more complex problems that this country has to solve.
The city of New Orleans is a very great city, but it is not New York City. Los Angeles is a great city, but is it not New Orleans.
Some cities have growth problems; others have problems of renewal, and reconstruction; and San Jose and Phoenix have enormous problems of rapid development and growth.
Older cities such as New Orleans have problems of redevelopment and rehabilitation.
The point is that no single program is going to solve the housing problems of this country, but there has to be a sufficient variety so that we can help New York and New Orleans and Phoenix and San Jose and Syracuse. All the cities should be able to use whatever programs are most effective for their particular problems, for their particular localities.
No. 2, whatever program you develop has to be adequately funded. The most carefully drafted legislation will produce nothing unless there are sufficient funds adapted to it.
The problem is not tomorrow but today. I would urge very quick and serious action now.
I think the country has to find a way to deliver the housing in a more efficient way. We are going to have to buy the top amount, quality, and number of housing units for the least amount of money. In the present process, there is some inefficiency. Whatever legislation you adopt should be geared to developing a more efficient delivery system.
I do not think you can just be concerned with numbers of units. I think you have to be concerned with where do you want those units to be built and what do you want the cities of America to be in the future. It has been my experience that suburbia is not interested in taking the poor into their jurisdictions, and that in the past we have not looked at this particular problem seriously enough. As a matter of fact, we have ignored it, and I think in many instances we hope that it will simply evaporate, but it has not.
Do the cities continue to build housing only for the poor, with middle America moving continually to the suburbs? What policy is going to be developed to urge suburbia to accept part of their responsibility for the housing of the poor?
Are those cities that do the job most successfully in providing housing and transportation for all to be helped? Will all of America be penalized by a further influx of the poor into the cities with the outflow of those who can best afford to support the services for the center city, but who now will live in suburbia and take the advantages there?
Unless there is housing available in those areas for the poor, unless there is transportation available, the poor can only live in the center cities where the housing is being made available and where the transportation is.
Perhaps most importantly, my city needs a community development program. It does very little good, frankly, to try to do rehabilitation house by house unless an individual lives in an environment that is somehow conducive to a safe life.
We have to have suburban surface drainage and streets. You have to have necessary community services. Without a community development program, I doubt that the housing program will be very successful.
Mr. Chairman, my remarks are of necessity general, because the problem is extremely complex. I am satisfied that this committee has the wisdom and that this country has the resources to solve that problem.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor AlIoTO. Mr. Chairman, the very talented mayor of the city of New Brunswick, N.J., Patricia Sheehan.
MAYOR PATRICIA SHEEHAN, NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. Mayor SHEEHAN, Mr. Chairman and Senators, I am pleased with the opportunity to be here.
I hope as a cumulative effect we are making a point that we know we have problems, and we recognize them. We want the opportunity and more particularly the resources to continue to try to solve them.
I am here really to chime in for the smaller cities.
I think that most of us know that Newark or San Francisco or any number of the large and distinguished cities represented on this panel. Across the country there are a lot of "New Brunswicks,” smaller cities where the problems are less severe from a statistical point of view, but no less severe from a human point of view.
There are very real, human people living in the smaller center cities across this country. In most cases, I am not ashamed to say, we have much fewer resources in terms of staff and expertise and we have had our problems with delay, with a lack of understanding of some of the rules and regulations, with changing guidelines that hamper our