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repercussions in our cities from this entire lack of a housing program. I think you are going to have more and more irritation in these various neighborhoods in our cities.
Somehow they have been able to keep it under control so far, but I do not see any hope if this present housing situation lasts and becomes worse, as I expect it will become worse. Then I think we are facing rather difficult conditions in American cities, which are bound to have their repercussions throughout the entire country.
I have submitted this brief statement for your record, Senator.
Senator SPARKMAN. The statement will be printed in full in the record.
Monsignor O’GRADY. That is fine.
Senator SPARKMAN. And we certainly appreciate your very fine and thoughtful statement.
Any questions, Senator Payne!
STATEMENT OF Rt. Rev. Msgr. John O'GRADY, SECRETARY, NATIONAL CONFERENCE
OF CATHOLIC CHARITIES
During the past 3 years I have been greatly interested in the relocation of families that have been displaced through slum clearance and other improvements in American cities, such as highway construction, the acquisition of land for business, and medical and educational centers, as well as for the construction of new housing. I have had an opportunity of observing what has been happening as a result of this program in a number of cities, including Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Boston, and New York.
I was filled with a new hope by the Housing Amendments of 1954, which were designed for all intents and purposes to provide new implements for the re development of American cities. From the very beginning I had question as to whether they could be effective without an adequate housing supply.
In talking to people in different cities about relocation, and the extent to which it is contributing to the further spread of blight, I find a great variety of reactions. For example, in one city newspaper reporters apologized to me for their inability to publish in its entirety my statement in regard to the extent to which new developments in that city were contributing to the spread of blight. They stated rather frankly that they agreed with everyhing I said, and the same is true of the city editors, but they were under commitment to the business interests who were gravely concerned about the success of some of the new projects in the city that involved considerable private investment. They were afraid lest too much public discussion might interfere with the rental of new office buildings. They pointed out, moreover, that the city administration was committed to the new developments but it had failed to give sufficient thought to the question of housing supply.
Recently, I talked to the foremost leader in housing and urban redevelopment in one of the larger cities. I discussed with him a project that had recently been approved. I pointed to the pressures that were being used in getting the people who now occupy the housing units to vacate them. Then I asked him whether he could point out the sections in the city in which decent, safe, and sanitary housing was available for the people who would be dislocated by the new project. As far as I can recall it involved some 1,200 families. I received the usual stereotyped answer: We have public housing available. Then I reminded him of the fact that available information showed that not more than 30 percent of the people to be displaced would qualify for public housing. I kept insisting that I was thinking of housing within the income limitations of those who did not qualify for public housing. Finally he said, “There is no housing available at the present time for these families and if we can't find housing we cannot go through with the project."
The Senate Committee on Banking and Currency is well aware of what the 1954 amendments to the Housing Act did to public housing. Briefly, they limited public housing to those who were actually displaced by public improvements of one kind or another. In other words, the only people for whom public housing was to be available were those whose homes were in process of being demolished. The original purpose, as I understand it, of public housing, was to take care of slum dwellers—to help us to find substitute housing for those who were living in slums and who could not pay the rents that private capital was compelled to charge.
Now, we have limited it to slum dwellers whose living quarters are in the course of demolition. As far as I can see from my observations in the cities in which I operate, we haven't yet seen the complete effects of the change made in public housing in 1954. City housing authorities tell me—"we have an ample supply of public housing. We have commitments on 1,000 or 1,500 projects that have not yet been constructed.” But I think a close examination will indicate that these projects represent leftovers from other years and I am inclined to believe that the number of units for which the Federal Government has made definite commitments will be exhausted within the next year. Then we will understand the meaning of the 1954 amendments and what the Appropriations Committee has been doing to public housing since that time. I understand, for example, that for the 35,000 units authorized for this past year, commitments have been made by the Federal Government for about 100 units. There is not, therefore, too much hope that the public housing program as now stands will be able to provide even for those whose houses have been demolished after this present year.
In my appearance before the President's Advisory Committee on Housing, I emphasized the point that I have been stressing for the past 20 years now: That as soon as the business interests are able to provide a substitute for public housing I would be willing to withdraw my support from the program but I also pointed out that so far no satisfactory substitute has been devised and that those who want to abolish public housing should then announce to the people in clear terms that they were going to destroy the program, come what may. It will be remembered that the President in his message to Congress on January 25, 1954, recommended that the public housing program be continued at the rate of 35,000 units a year for 4 years, but that in the meantime efforts should be made through a dynamic approach on the part of FHA to provide a substitute for public housing.
Sections 220 and 221 represented the answer of the Congress in 1954. Section 220 was supposed to provide for new rental housing for those who were displaced by public improvements and also for the repair of old houses. Section 221 was to provide owner-occupied houses costing $7,600 or less in low-cost areas and $8,600 in high-cost areas. As I understand it, up to date no application has been made under section 221 so that in the area of middle-income housing, FHA has virtually come to a complete standstill. It is not too difficult to understand this situation. This committee has made a fairly complete study of the huge profits that were made under the original section 608 of the Housing Act. It then changed the definition governing the mortgage amounts insurable from "estimated replacement cost” and read “estimated value” under section 213 and 229. The result has been that FHA is making such exceedingly low evaluations that financing cannot be secured to build these necessary homes.
For many years I have been stating before the House Committee on Banking and Currency that it is important to bring the different organizations of Government dealing with housing together in closer working relationships. I believe that Mr. Cole has made a genuine effort to bring them closer together just as I believe that he and his associates have made a genuine effort to secure proper relocation programs. They have been looking for more and more evidence of constructive relocation programs in the different cities but they are confronted with the hard facts of the situation, with the tremendous drive of business organizaions for public improvements and with the fact that these public improvements are going to contribute further to the spread of blight so that blight, instead of being decreased or eliminated, is increasing more and more each year.
While I presume that Mr. Cole has made considerable progress in bringing the various agencies in Washington together in developing a unified program here I haven't seen too much evidence of a unified approach as yet in the different communities. I am hoping that we may be able to secure such a unified program in at least a few cities in the United States.
The tragedy of the existing housing laws, and of their administration at all levels, local and Federal, is the emphasis on business and financial gains to be realized through slum clearance and urban renewal, while the vital human element involved is almost totally neglected. Perhaps the law dictates that result. But I must state that until we reverse the procedure and give first consideration to the people to be displaced by public actions, and make certain that they are adequately housed, there will be no business and financial gains from these programs. There will be no slum clearance and urban renewal of substance. Today's misdirected enthusiasms will return to mock us.
We need first to plan a public housing program that will meet the needs of families living in slums. Of equal if not greater importance to the prompt functioning of urban-renewal programs, there must be Federal credit assistance that will permit displaced families of middle income to secure standard shelter. These are families forced to live under slum conditions because they cannot afford proper homes supplied through private channels, yet they are ineligible for public housing because of comparatively high incomes. These families represent more than half of those to be displaced. When we meet their problem and that of low-income families, we can then hope to achieve slum clearance and urban renewal.
Senator SPARKMAN. Our next witness will be Mr. Henry DuLaurence, chairman of the legislative committee, National Apartment Owners Association, Inc. Will you come around, please!
STATEMENT OF MR. HENRY DULAURENCE, CHAIRMAN, LEGISLA
TIVE COMMITTEE, NATIONAL APARTMENT OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC.
Mr. DuLAURENCE. Mr. Chairman, I will be town tomorrow and I will be glad to testify tomorrow morning.
Senator SPARKMAN. I am afraid we have probably even a fuller schedule tomorrow than today. Usually as we get toward the end of the hearings the list of witnesses backs up and that is what we are up against right now. I hate to be in the position of hurrying you but it cannot be avoided.
Mr. DuLAURENCE. Mr. Chairman, my name is Henry DuLaurence. I come from Cleveland, Ohio, and represent the National Apartment Owners Association. I am going to summarize as much as I can.
Senator SPARKMAN. Your full statement will be printed in the record at the end of your remarks. Public housing
Mr. DuLAURENCE. We have been impressed with the amount of testimony that has been presented here on the requirements for public housing for low income groups. I would like to take you to page 6 of my statement and just paraphrase a few words.
Public housing since its inception has been both endorsed and condoned on the theory that it was publicly subsidized housing for the lowest income group—presumably unable to properly support itself. We have found in our checking of public housing that families are permitted to live in public housing who earn up to $4,200 a year. As a matter of fact, it does not stop there, because there are various deductions that are made before the net permissible amount is reached. These deductions include union dues, social security pay. ments, pension contributions, specialized tools and clothing, certain medical deductions, working-mother deductions, $100 for minor children, minors' earnings, etc.
So that you could earn $5,000 and over and still live in public. housing. Let us take $4,000 as an average figure. When you consider that 40 to 45 percent of our families are earning less than $4,000 you realize that public housing as it is being used today is not being furnished to the people of the low income groups.
I believe this is all a question of ideology. I think most of us would go along with the fact that public housing is necessary and that there is a need and a use for public housing, provided that that public housing is furnished to the people of the lowest income groups who need the governmental help and public assistance.
I would like to turn now to page 11 and down to the title of “People need help under FHA title I loans.” Home repair and modernization
The usual problem of modernizing his home has been reversed for the average home owner under FHA title I. Contrary to the general rule, now ample money is available for rehabilitation, but once procured the average householder does not know what to do with it.
Over 6 million loans have been made under FHA title I and yet, very little of it is evident in the large cities where it was to do the most good. There is evidence of rehabilitation and attempted modernization, but most of it is of such poor quality that no fundamental improvement has resulted to the large cities.
It is apparent from the number of loans made under FHA title I that literally millions of people wish to modernize their property, but unfortunately do not know how to redecorate, rehabilitate or remodel a home. They frequently know what they like but almost invariably do not know how to achieve it. Consequently, a great deal of money is wasted through poor rehabilitation, poor planning, useless work, which, once the newness wears off, causes worse looking slums than we had before. We propose:
1. That every city certifying under section 220, hire or provide for the services of at least one architect, whose duty it will be:
(a) to furnish examples of modernized facades of the types of homes indigenous to the city, and
(b) to provide architectural advice to prospective rehabilitators at moderate cost.
2. Where cities do not provide architectural assistance to their citizens it be made a requirement under FHA title I that such assistance be procured by the borrower on a minimum basis. Slum clearance and urban renewal
Now I would like to discuss various pictures to show you the problem that exists. I would like to take the Senator away from Washington, where housing is comparatively good, talking from an architectural point of view, and take you to some of the cities in the middle west and up north in New England mill towns where most of the housing is wooden and is of heterogeneous character and very poor architecture.
This is the sort of rehabilitation that is found everywhere in Cleveland. There are literally thousands of them. It is expensive rehabilitation. This so called rehabilitation costs anywhere from $1,400
to $1,800 to do. Actually, I think it is a waste of money. The people who put money into this work have a house that is worse looking after 3 years of gathering dust and dirt than their original house.
Here is another house of the same type. Now let me show you what can be done if people know what to do with a house. This is what you can accomplish if you know what to do with the money you are spending for rehabilitation. This good rehabilitation costs approximately $600 to do. This poor rehabilitation costs approximately $1,400 to do. 6 million FHA title I loans have been made, many of which have been used for outside rehabilitation. Most of the money has been wasted on the type of treatment shown you in the first photograph.
Let me show you another picture of the same sort of thing. This is called a rehabilitation and the people who did this wasted their money. It probably cost them $800. The people who did this covered this house with a yellow brick siding, which does not improve the building. Even after this work it is still a slum property. This is the same piece of property after it is rehabilitated properly. This good modernization cost $250 to do and this poor one about $800 to do. That is what we were referring to when we testified that people do not know what to do to rehabilitate their property.
This is a picture of what people consider rehabilitation. Actually there is no imagination shown here whatsoever. All the people did was just cover this house with a shingle siding. This is the same type of home before rehabilitation. Here it is after rehabilitation. This is really an improvement. This is the sort of thing we are talking about as desirable yet this would cost only about $150 to do. This aluminum siding cost almost $2,000 to do. This is again the sort of thing which can't be considered good remodeling. We would like to suggest that some string be attached to Title I loans which would require architectural help. If we do this for urban rehabilitation we will accomplish a forward step toward our rehabilitation. Barring such a step we will waste additional funds just as a good deal of the 8 billion already loaned has been wasted.
Senator SPARKMAN. Take a rehabilitation job such as you pointed out, which costs $500 to $1,000. How much would it cost the borrower if he had to go to the expense of getting the services of an architect? I assume it will be settled on some kind of mass basis so that the cost would not be so great?
Mr. DuLAURENCE. Yes. This is the plan we developed in Cleveland in order to give people architectural help cheaply. I have been giving talks on modernization throughout Cleveland, and the plan developed from those talks.
Senator SPARKMAN. I think there is a great deal in what you say. I know the average person who simply gets a rehabilitation loan from his bank and without any help goes out and I started to say patches up his house but I do not mean that exactly. He is going to do his best to bring it to a good condition and put it in presentable shape, as best he knows how, but he knows nothing about the little changes in design which would make it a much more attractive place.
How can that be done on a practical inexpensive basis?