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ability to shift gears and rework even our applications to participate in these programs.
But the fact remains that the smaller center cities no less than the larger ones are more and more having a concentration of the poor, the old and the otherwise disadvantaged. Most particularly these smaller cities do not have the resources to cope with these problems in terms of housing and sewers and police and general community development by ourselves.
Yet, we look back and realize that we have fostered the growth of the suburbs and now those most able to pay and most able to support the kind of municipal services that people who live in the cities are entitled to have are no longer living in the cities.
What is of most concern is this interim period. It has been said many times that "to do nothing is to decide.” We encourage all kinds of experimentation and recognize that no matter what the program is, it can be improved and we should try different approaches.
In the meatime, these small cities with very real people with very real needs have to address the problem of housing and community development now. To have it come to a stop or a dead walk for a year or 18 months means that then we are wiped out.
We would have to start all over again. We just now have reached the state where we have developed a little bit of expertise, a little bit of ability to cooperate with the States and Federal Government to do a program. To dismantle all of this, or to leave it in limbo for 6 months, or 9 months, or 18 months, means that it does disappear. All of the smaller cities with all of the big problems, are asking for your help.
[Mayor Sheehan subsequently submitted the following letter for the record :)
CITY OF New BRUNSWICK,
New Jersey, October 5, 1973, Senator John J. SPARKMAN U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR SPARKMAN: I want to thank you once again both for the opportunity and the gracious reception I received before your Committee.
I hope I made myself clear in my brief presentation that the needs of the smaller so-called "core cities” are no less severe in human terms than that of the larger and more outstanding great cities of America. All of us who daily face the firing line have become expert in problem identification and even occasionally solution identification but nevertheless lack the resources within our boundaries to implement these solutions. Given our ability to pay, we lack the talent bank of expertise available in the larger jurisdictions most of our people, resourceful though they may be, are forced to wear the double hats of both administrative and operational responsibilities. This makes the task of successful relationships with both state and federal agencies all the more difficult when faced with red tape, delay, and ever-changing guidelines that have become standard operating procedure.
We feel we have come a long way and now are truly in a "go" position in many areas yet now find that all is halt or wait. I respectfully suggest that this situation invokes a double penalty on our smaller older cities.
I wanted particularly to respond to Senator Taft's question regarding financial management provisions. While I do not pretend to any financial expertise, I do want to strongly urge that your Committee, in its wisdom, consider the impact on smaller, older cities of various federal actions. I truly feel that if the federal government won't help, at least we can expect it won't hinder our survival and/or growth. Thus far most of the financial programs end up fostering the flight to suburbia.
1. In the last 20 years, the massive home-building that has taken place in each of our suburban communities has in-fact been underwritten by either F.H.A. or
V.A. mortgage activities. Given the age of our housing stock and density of our land use, V.Ă. mortgage in particular, were not an instrument available to homebuyers within the city.
2. Aside from our state-owned exempt properties, we must cope with the needs of our citizens in federally supported housing. Yet, in the area of greatest costi.e. education we receive no help. We receive $39,000 in lieu of taxes, which means that 20% of our school-children provide no economic support to the tax base. Our average per-pupil cost exceeds $1,000 per child, the miminum one million dollars we bear in cost is a far cry from the $39,000 cited above. Federal Impact Aid has never been available to us due to lack of funding. This heavy burden falls most critically on the 20% of our home owners who are senior citizens.
I don't need to tell you what a social problem this creates which is further exacerbated by the fact that so many of our senior citizens, facing virtual confiscation of their homes due to ever-rising property taxes, are white and so many of our youngsters are black or spanish-speaking!
It seems that in implementation, our federal programs, foster the development of surburbs at the expense of the cities—one final example is that of sewers. Continuously since I have been in office we have sought outside assistance in replacing our antiquated, faltering, combination water and sewer lines—always to hear that monies were not available for other than new systems!
We need and want maintenance and rehabilitation in sewers, in housing, in roads. Just when we get underway and are making progress in these areas, we are faced with these programs curtailment with nothing immediately taking their place.
We are committed to the cities but ask you to recognize that we are bearing a disproportionate share of the population most in need of services and least able to pay and are thus seeking meaningful assistance to provide for these needs. Very truly yours,
PATRICIA Q. SHEEHAN,
Mayor. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Mayor Alioto. We thank you, Mr. Chairman, for hearing our presentation.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you all.
Now, we are going to propound questions to the panel. We are going to have to limit our time. Someone suggested, I believe it was one of the staff members of the mayors organization, that we allot time. That means limiting ourselves to about 6 minutes each. That is pretty hard to do when you have had so many very fine statements.
Well, it is 7% minutes each, since there are four of us.
By the way, let me say this on my time. Some of you have given us statements in writing, not all of you have. If any of the others do have statements in writing and would let us have them, we would be very glad to have them and we will print them in full in the record, even though your remarks may have been curtailed somewhat.
Mayor John LINDSAY. I have one of my own, which I did not mention.
The CHAIRMAN. Fine (see p. 104).
I want to assure you that we are going to move right along to try to get before the end of this Congress a housing bill. When we came here in January, the majority leader listed, or gave a list of "must" bills. We passed through the Senate last year a comprehensive bill. as you may recall, and it was hoped that we could do it again quite early.
I'assured the majority leader I was going to do my best to get one through by April but we had a new Secretary of Housing come in a the time and he said April was too soon. I then tried to bargain fe
June. Finally, he said he could not do it until September, so on September 29, I think it was, that we got his report and we started the hearings on October 2.
The President's bill came to us on October 1, so we are moving as fast as we can.
Next Monday, the 8th, without observing Columbus Day, the fact that we never have before in the Congress, Congress works on holidays. But we are going to start marking up the bill and we hope to be able to get a good bill-I think we can. We have two bills to start on at least that I introduced that have been referred to here. I believe you are familiar with them, Mayor Alioto. I think you referred to them, S. 1744 and S. 2182. There are, or will be, other bills, I am quite sure, and of course the President's bill that came in yesterday.
In starting off yesterday, several of us on both sides of the aisle indicated we were not too well pleased with that bill, but there are some good things in there that we can take up.
So I feel quite certain that we will be able to get a good bill. This committee is made up of members who, for a good many years now, have been working on housing and housing problems, and we recognize the fact that we do not get a perfect bill that continues to be perfect. Some programs do fail, no question about it. But, on the other hand, we are not willing to accept the complete damages of so many of the programs that have afforded an opportunity for decent housing for people who, except for such legislation, could not have afforded it.
I know I express my sentiments and I believe it represents the sentiments of the committee as a whole, that we are going to continue to do our best to see that that kind of legislation is put on the statute books in order that you mayors and the local officials throughout the country, the Governors, all of them that are concerned, may look forward to programs that will produce decent housing and decent surroundings for American families.
If they are able to find rental quarters, if they want to rent, we are going to continue to help them.
Mayor Alioto. I will just say this with reference to one thing you mentioned, and that is with regard to the housing allowance. If you know where it stands right now, you are better off than we are.
We assume it is purely experimental. They are talking about experimenting with it.
The CHAIRMAN. I am talking about as far as the administration's recommendations are concerned. We spent yesterday with the Secretary of Housing, and his very able aides, and it is an able staff- and the Secretary is a very able man, but of course, the President in his message did not say that it was definitely his program. He indicated that it might be in 1974 or 1975, but he did not know yet, either, whether it is even going to be before us.
There has been a great deal of criticism of it. I think, personally, it seems to me that there may be some good in it, but those are things we have to look for.
I have taken up my time talking.
Senator PROXMIRE. I agree with the chairman that there is a good chance we can get a bill out of here by the end of October, but that doesn't do much for you, because it then has to go to the House, and
they have to hold hearings. There is very little chance they can complete action until next year.
What does that mean? That means that it may be as late as next spring, maybe early summer, before we have a bill, and then the President will probably veto it if it is any good, if it has the kind of things you gentlemen recommend, and we have to try to pass it over his ve
Meanwhile, I take it what you are primarily interested in is something that the administration has not supported, and as one of you gentlemen said, you are in the very sad position of being the victims of a struggle between the Congress and the President, and you want action.
I would like to ask if you would, as a group, and perhaps Mayor Alioto, you could speak for the group, would you support a clear congressional mandate to end the moratorium on low-and moderate-income housing programs?
Mayor Alioto. As the Senator knows, this organization has led the fight on that for a long time, and we certainly would. Senator PROXMIRE. You have made some progress.
Mayor Alioto. Some of us joined the original fight against impoundment by filing the suits in the matter. We have all sounded the alarm on the moratorium. We certainly would support this.
If there is any difference of opinion here, I would like to hear it expressed, but I doubt that there is.
Mayor LANDRIEU. Senator, I don't have an entirely different opinion, but I think it is sort of a counterproductive procedure. We would much rather have-at least I would-a resolution of the matter between the legislature and the administration, rather than a mandate which they are going to reject, leaving the matter to the court suits.
Even where we have been successful in those cities that court suits
Senator PROXMIRE. Let me interrupt to tell you, Mayor Landrieu, that yesterday Secretary Lynn said that if Congress mandated continuation of the program, he would go ahead with it. That was his response when I asked him, but he indicated Congress hadn't given him that kind of mandate.
Mayor LANDRIEU. I can't speak for Secretary Lynn, but I do want to point out that wherever we have faced a policy of reluctant expenditure by this administration, it hasn't done much for the cause of orderly planning. What normally happens is that funds are released on you at the last moment and we are then given a deadline in which to spend them. I think most of us have had the experiences of having to do a rather poor job with the programs that have been given to us once impounded funds were released through that kind of procedure.
Senator PROXMIRE. I understand that, and I understand you are in a position where the administration has been able to impound funds.
The administration is telling us that there has been such a vast improvement in housing conditions that the need for new construction is nil. Instead, we are told we can depend upon the workings of the private market to provide housing combined with a little incentive for a mortgage tax credit plus housing allowances.
Let me pursue that for a minute. Do the central cities of the United States have a need for new construction? You have indicated that.
Moderate-income housing, housing for those whose incomes are not sufficient to make it possible for them to buy older new homes.
I would like to have information from a number of cities, New York, Newark, Denver, Los Angeles, and whatever others you would like to give us, as a fairly representative cross section of the country indicating the number of units they either have asked for or need. So we have that material in front of us.
Mayor Alioto. We will see if we can supply that.
Senator PROXIMIRE. Mr. Lynn told us that we are in great shape, and while there are substandard houses, it is a great deal less than it was a few years ago.
Mayor ÅLIOTO. We will supply those figures, but most of us agree with Senator Robert Taft's original notion that the competitive enterprise system could not supply the need for low-cost or even moderate housing. In our experience, we know that the free enterprise system even with a little triggering is not going to do the job alone.
Senator PROXMIRE. You don't think it has changed since 1949. Senator Taft was a leader in the legislation. But the situation hasn't improved that much.
Mayor Alioto. Some of us had the view when Senator Taft said the private enterprise system could not supply the low cost, but now we have moved up to where it cannot supply the moderate housing in this country either.
Senator PROXMIRE. What do you make of the argument made yesterday by Mr. Lynn and asserted again and again that the present programs are inequitable. We were told that since the Government can't build new houses for everyone, it can only build new houses for a few of the poor and the people with low incomes, it shouldn't construct new housing units for anyone.
They were really crying tears yesterday about the long waiting lines and the fact that no matter what you did with these programs you still would have many of the poor, in fact most of them, who would be shut out. Instead of moving forward with a program, we are told we should not house 1 in 15 or less.
Isn't it true that if you were to meet the housing goals and provide 600,000 units of moderate- and low-income housing a year, this would greatly relieve the pressures on housing, house at least 600,000 families who otherwise could not be housed, and provide sufficient housing and not drive people into the streets. Isn't it necessary to have a first-rate construction program to make code enforcement and the rehibilitation and upgrading of existing units work? Isn't it true that in the past effective code enforcement has been resisted everywhere, because there was not sufficient alternative housing?
Hasn't the criteria been: “Don't do it, or you will drive people right into the streets"?
Mayor HATCHER. Yes, Senator; I think the answer to your question is contained almost in the question itself. The fact is, in Gary, for example, as I said, we were able to gage our needs. We needed about 15,000 units. We have been able to build almost 4,000 of those units in the last 4 or 5 years. That means we still have a waiting list, but it also means something else, Senator.
It means that the people that we have been able to move into the new housing have left other housing that was available for rehabilita