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Further, the Congress and the administration should make provision for the rapid democratization of housing patterns. Segregation is not consistent with our way of life and our ideals. Every citizen should have free access to the housing market based on his need and his economic capacity, not on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin.

In keeping with the doctrines set forth by the Supreme Court in the school cases and others, all levels of government—Federal, State, and local—should insist that its aid to housing carries with it the requirement of open occupancythat is, availability without discrimination.

No one expects all minority housing problems to be solved in a day. But we cannot be content with the hope that time alone will solve this vexing problem, either; the mere passage of time without determined action to alleviate the situation-shows signs, in fact, of making things worse. More and more new housing is being built for “whites only." New communities are being built for “whites only." The economic progress of minority group members, however, only sharpens the impact of existing discriminatory patterns; a man who can afford good housing but is barred from it has a special and dramatic grievance even over and above that of people who cannot afford to pay.

In conclusion, it is our emphatic belief that the present housing laws are inadequate and too largely directed toward benefitting those who are already most able to pay instead of those who are most in need of help. The amendments to the Housing Act of 1954 proposed by the administration are not objectionable; they would provide improvements, but these would be slight indeed when measured against the Nation's need.

We of the CIO urge this committee to sharpen its pencils and draft a new bill which will implement the public housing goals of the 1949 Housing Act, provide a realistic middle-income housing program, make extensive new housing available to minority families and tighten the ban against discrimination, and finally, reorient our slum clearance and redevelopment programs toward rehousing and new housing for those most in need. We stand eager and ready to aid in these efforts. It is time indeed that the power and prestige of the Federal Government—through its direct expenditures and extension of credit—be utilized more fully to help those whose need is critical—the millions of families whose substandard dwellings now blight not only our urban centers but the very lives as well of the men, women, and children who are forced to occupy them.



Washington 6, D. C., April 20, 1955. Hon. John J. SPARKMAN, United States Senate,

Washington, D. C. Dear Senator SPARKMAN: I am very happy to reply to your recent inquiry as to whether the Congress of Industrial Organizations views our present rate of new-home construction as excessive.

The question, are we currently producing enough homes, too many, or too few, can be properly considered only in relation both to the Nation's total housing need and to the effect of the current construction rate on the entire economy.

While new residential construction is reported to be at an all-time high, it still falls far short of meeting the housing needs of the American people. Recent authoritative studies indicate that this country faces an annual new-home need of about 2 million units annually for the next 10 years. This level must be achieved not only to provide homes for new families but also to meet normal replacement requirements, to rebuild units lost because of slum clearance and other public improvements, to accommodate families still overcrowded, and to make it possible to vacate substandard dwellings which are not suitable for rehabilitation. Even the most conservative estimates of America's annual newhome construction needs do not fall below our present rate of performance, a performance which, unfortunately, is still failing to meet the needs of millions of moderate- and low-income families.

It is our view that the well organized and widely disseminated propaganda which depicts our present rate of residential construction as excessive because it exceeds the current rate of new-family formation either is based on ignorance or reflects a deliberate effort to deceive the American people. Surely the rate of new-family formation could be conceived of as a major determinant of the need for new-home construction only there were no need to replace existing substandard structures, no public or industrial programs—or acts of Godwhich destroy thousands of existing structures each year that must be replaced, and no preexisting shortages or overcrowding.

However, even if we had the good fortune not to be confronted with vast slums and millions of deteriorating substandard dwellings, if none of our existing inventory of dwellings were being depleted each year because of fires and other disasters and demolitions resulting from nonresidential construction, and if none of our families lived doubled up, America would still require a new-home construction rate substantially in excess of the rate of new-family formation. This necessity grows out of the fact that our families desire and have a right to achieve a constant improvement in the overall quality of their housing inventory as new technology can produce better homes and as higher incomes afford the means to buy them.

Thoughtful consideration of all factors should dispose for all time of the nonsensical claim that our building rate is too high simply because it exceeds current new-family formation.

If those who charge that the present building rate is excessive were forthright, they would admit that they are not concerned with housing needs at all but rather with housing prices. Actually, they fear that the value of existing properties will fall if the present rate of new-home construction is maintained. Their views are based on the false assumption that the Nation's economic wellbeing is preserved by scarcity, not by abundance. To be consistent, should they not as logically be demanding credit restrictions to discourage auto, appliance, furniture, and other production, as well as the production of dwellings?

Today, the American people fear a decline in economic activity, not an expansion of it. Only a handful of shortsighted individuals who cannot be persuaded that a constantly expanding and prospering America is possible fear rising production and look upon a decline in various segments of our economy as healthy.

The continued growth of the housing inventory of the Nation is not only necessary as an end in itself; it provides, in addition, an important stimulant to our entire economy. Through a sustained expansion in home construction we help to protect existing property values precisely because these values can be stabilized only in an economy of prosperity and high employment. Economic decline, on the other hand, is contagious and will not bypass property values. Economic stagnation would lead to foreclosures, vast governmental outlays to back up FHA guarantees, and other consequences which would adversely affect the well-being of all who now depend on home construction for their livelihood.

Concern is expressed over the amount of outstanding credit which FHA regulations help to stimulate. This credit, however, does not exist in a vacuum. It is backed up by new homes, new neighborhoods, and in many cases entirely new communities. In contrast with the extension of credit which is used simply to force up values, like stock-market loans, for example, housing credit produces new wealth and well-being; therefore, its extension is not in itself a cause of inflation. Its availability on a liberal basis is, in fact, the only means by which millions of moderate-income families can hope to obtain homes of their own. Furthermore, its continued availability is prerequisite to maintenance of economic growth.

People who owe mortgage debts are acceptable credit risks because their debt is secured by the property for which they have borrowed and because their current incomes have been deemed adequate to support the charges for which they have obligated themselves. Assurances that they will be able to continue to meet their obligations can only exist, however, as long as high employment and general well-being characterize our economy. Our concern there fore, should be with a continuing program to aid and encourage home construction for sale and for rent and with the overall economic growth which these programs can so substantially stimulate. Submission to the fears of the prophets of scarcity will not avoid economic disaster; it will assure it. With every good wish, I am Sincerely yours,

WALTER P. REUTHER, President. Senator SPARKMAN. Any questions, Senator Payne? Senator PAYNE. No questions.

Senator SPARKMAN. Thank you very much, gentlemen. We appreciate it.

By the way, there was handed to me a copy of a letter from Walter P. Reuther, president of the CIO. Was it your wish that that be incorporated in the record ?

Mr. FISCHER. Our statement incorporates that.
Senator SPARKMAN. It is included in your statement?
Senator SPARKMAN. Very well.

Next we have the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Mr. Clarence Mitchell, director of the Washington Bureau.

Will you come around, please, Mr. Mitchell? I do not believe you were here when I made the request a little while ago that the full statement of the witnesses be printed in the record and you summarize it. We are budgeting the time to 12 minutes for each presentation. I regret the necessity of doing that, but we only have 30 minutes until the Senate meets and we have 3 more witnesses. We can budget a few minutes over the 30 minutes, but if we make it 12 minutes each we will get by all right.

Minority group housing


Mr. MITCHELL. Mr. Yingling, the clerk of the committee, already brought me up to date on that and I will do my best to keep within the time limit.

I am Clarence Mitchell, director of the Washington Bureau of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. I would like to have your permission to incorporate my full statement in the record.

Senator SPARKMAN. Without objection, that will be done at the conclusion of your remarks.

Mr. MITCHELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee.

We are here today to try to bring into focus the problem that we have in the field of housing among minority groups. On the first page of my testimony we refer to the fact that the Government of the United States is in the incredible position of on the one hand supporting integration in certain aspects of life, such as the armed services, and things of that sort, while on the other hand actively promoting racial segregation in housing. We have some Census figures from the period 1940 to 1950, which spell out the need for housing among people who are classified by the Census as non white. I think if you look at those figures you will see that the nonwhite population is in a much more serious predicament so far as housing is concerned than the white population.

On page 2 we have another significant bit of information which comes also from the Census. That is the fact that in certain metropolitan areas which are studied by the Bureau of the Census it was found that the minority groups, the Negro in particular, were concentrating in the so-called central city or metropolitan areas, while the white population was going out on the fringes of the city.

In Washington, if we would bring that situation right home, we have growing out of that all sorts of curious problems. The fact that the white population is able to move to the outskirts of the city and the Negro population is confined to the central city, leads to argument against home rule. People say, "We do not want to have home rule in Washington because if we do the Negroes will run the city.”

Other people have tried to draw erroneous conclusions from the fact that the white population in the schools is diminishing. They argue the reason why the white population in the District of Columbia is diminishing in the schools is because schools are being integrated and the white people are running away from the colored people.

Unfortunately, all of that is made possible by the Federal Government itself. Our organization has been successful in eliminating the court enforcement of restrictive covenants. Because we have done that it means that the existing housing that is located in the central city area, wherever there is a willing seller and a man who has the money to make the purchase because he has access to a lending institution, can buy a house. That means in the metropolitan areas housing becomes integrated, but in the outlying areas of the city, where the Federal Government poured millions of dollars in for the purpose of FHA developments, and things of that sort, there is where we are kept out and cannot purchase housing because of various kinds of agreements and restrictions.

I would like to call attention specifically to the fact that in Bucks County, Pa., is one of the prime illustrations of the problem I am talking about. "Our legal defense department filed a suit against Mr. Levitt, the builder of Levittown, Pa. They point out in a statement on why this suit was filed, that when completed the Bucks County Levittown development will consist of some 16,000 small homes and will be sold to individual buyers whose mortgages will either be insured by the FHA or guaranteed by the VA.

Further, the lawyers for six Negro veterans who are the plaintiffs, argue that Levitt has a monopoly on all new construction in the community, and he serves the town of Levittown in the Philadelphia area as a public utility. In other words, in the opinion of many people of this committee, I am sure Mr. Levitt is regarded as an outstanding builder. I believe he was down before this committee once last year to tell about how he built all of these wonderful houses. But so far as we are concerned, we who suffer from his policy-which policy he is able to execute with the aid of the Federal Governmentwe regard him as one of the living symbols of the encroachment of the police state in our country. Here you have an individual who is able, by the vast sums of money that the Federal Government puts at his disposal, to erect a Nazi-like pattern in American life by excluding people solely because of their race from a whole community.

I understand it is possible for a dog to get into that community. You can move in there with a dog if you bring him in, but if it is a Negro seeking a house, he cannot get it. It is unthinkable and a disgrace, it seems, that the Federal Government would support that kind of thing without doing something about it.

So far as it appears to us from looking at it, the policy on housing now in effect by the Federal Government would seem to me to be sort of an equivalent of shooting off fireworks to scare away evil spirits. The reason why we say that is we have so many, many pronounceînents from time to time coming out of the Housing and Home Finance Agency about what they are going to do on this question. The latest report is dated May 16 and it comes from Mr. Albert Cole, the Administrator, who says he is going to call 25 representatives of big Negro insurance companies and banks into Washington for the purpose of trying to see what can be done about making more money available for colored housing. Well, what they mean and what Mr. Cole means is that he wants to try to find a way of making more money available for segregated public housing. It will not do anything about the kind of problems that we called atention to in our testimony, such as the existence in Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, Savannah, Georgia, Birmingham, Baltimore, Md., and other cities, where whole new communities are being built with the help of the Federal Government and Negroes are completely excluded.

The charge has been made sometimes by some of the people in Mr. Cole’s agency that our organization in particular never said anything about this problem until the Republicans took control. He said while the Democrats were in we were not as active in prosecuting this housing problem. I would like to submit for the record, if I may, Mr.

I Chairman, a statement which we submitted to Mr. Raymond Foley, who was then Administrator of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, in January of 1952, in which we set forth exactly the same kinds of things we are complaining about today, and the Democrats, just like the Republicans, did not do anything about it either.

So actually, this is a kind of continued story that we are presenting to this committee.

Senator SPARKMAN. Without objection, that will be included in the record.

(The document referred to follows:)



There has been a steady and dangerous trend in the application of racial policies by the Housing Agencies of the Federal Government since the United States Supreme Court decided the restrictive covenant cases in May of 1948. When the Court made that decision, it opened the door for colored home seekers to purchase and use property in any neighborhood where there is a willing seller. This has resulted in a steady expansion of the colored population out of the racial ghetto into nonsegregated housing areas in communities such as Los Angeles, Calif; Cleveland, Ohio; Washington, D. C., and Richmond, Va. The chief threat now to this progress in eliminating Negro ghettos comes from the Federal Government itself through the operations of the Housing and Home Finance Agency and its constituent agencies.

Under the slum clearance and urban redevelopment program, colored residents of some areas that will be cleared are being forced to move out while white persons will be the only racial group admitted to the new rental or sales housing to be erected on the cleared site.

The No. 1 illustration of this incredible type of discrimination, with the assistance of the Federal Government, is Baltimore, Md., where there are two areas designated for redevelopment- -one known as the Waverly project and the other in the vicinity of the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In several cities, public housing projects will be built in areas where colored people have lived for many years but when the new projects are completed they will be designated for white occupancy.

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