Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

worse rather than better, and the time, it seems to me, is now clearly past for halfway measures, token gestures, pilot programs and halfhearted, one-dimensional, small-scale efforts, no matter how well intentioned.

I think the average Negro citizen today views much recent effort as more an attempt at riot control, and as an effort to offset civil disturbance, than a real effort to bring about some permanent long-range change in the status and the destiny of people, and I think this is conditioned by a number of things.

MONEY ALLOCATION IS SPOTTY

For one,

the amount of money that is allocated in many of these programs is such a pitiful amount in relation to the problem, and the fact that ofttimes it is allocated only after a riot gives the impression that one needs to have a crisis and a riot in order to get funds and support. The fact is that every year, along about May, there is a grand pronouncement of a high level government committee that it is going to coordinate the hiring of youth this summer, and there is a much publicized effort in this direction, which all ends rather abruptly come September

And so one gets the impression that people are really more interested in preventing a riot than in the establishment of justice on any permanent kind of basis.

POVERTY PROGRAMS NEED COORDINATION

I have some observations about the war on poverty. I think the main one is that somehow we have got to be able to distinguish between the war on poverty, which I interpret to include many programs of the Federal Government, in HEW, in the Labor Department, in the Department of Commerce, and distinguish this from the OEO, which is a poverty program in and of itself. But the failure to get these

programs coordinated means that we are faced, not only with duplication, but with overlapping and a situation where 10 agencies may be zeroing in on one little dropout while 50 to 500 go unattended, and there is a concurrent waste of even the minimum amounts of money that we have. And so my first observation is of the desperate need for coordination.

My second observation on the poverty program is that a crucial mistake has been made in establishing new structures in communities to carry out a program, and which often duplicate the program of existing agencies.

EXISTING LOCAL AGENCIES SHOULD OPERATE POVERTY PROGRAMS

I know as a social worker that many of the traditional agencies have not done the job they were supposed to do. Their boards have not been as representative as they should have been. Their services have not reached many of the hard core poor that they should have reached. Some are middle class oriented. But I have the feeling that if a structure were devised at the local level to establish certain criteria to which existing agencies could respond or not, then, providing they met these criteria they would be funded through such an agency, and the poverty program would serve as a kind of lever to bring these agencies—which

70-960 0467-pt. 14

are on-going, which have their roots in the community, which have experienced staff—to a position where they would be doing the job they are supposed to do.

Instead you get new agencies and new structures and a great deal of time is spent in trying to see whether their boards include the poor, and in many cases there is competition for staff, and existing agencies are drained of staff people. I think this has been a weakness in the program.

Now I want to make it clear that in making these criticisms I am not criticizing Sargent Shriver. I believe that with the limited resources at his disposal and the kind of hasty, emergency nature in which some of these programs were mobilized, that with limited staff and money, the administration of the OEO has done a good job. The problem is that he is trying to fight a major war with a slingshot. We just do not have enough money. We ought to be using nuclear weapons instead of band aids for a cancer situation.

BASIC LEGISLATIVE TOOLS ARE AVAILABLE

Fundamentally, I think we have all of the legislative tools and devices necessary to attack the problems we are talking about, the problems of poverty, the problems of housing. The problem is that they are not used in sufficiently massive quantities in order to make the required dent. What is still lacking is the will to provide the massive resources that are needed.

CIVIL RIGHTS AGENCIES SHOULD RECEIVE FUNDS

I would be critical also of the failure of many Government agencies to channel more of their funds through established civil rights agencies, and I do not just refer to the Urban League.

I think it is rather paradoxical that whenever a city has a problem, the first person that the mayor and the city officials turn to are the leaders of the civil rights agencies, and yet these very agencies are given little if anything to allow them to provide tangible evidence of how, they have been able to bring about tangible changes in the community.

ENCOURAGE RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP

Responsible leadership is still being given praise and commendation editorially, but this is not transferable to the ghetto. The people in the ghetto today are not interested in reading our clippings about how responsible we are and how reasonable and all of this. That day is past. They are not interested in hearing us appeal to them for patience and for restraint and urging them to turn the other cheek.

It seems to me that Government has a responsibility to shore up responsible leadership and provide it with the tools needed in order to do this kind of job. In this connection I feel compelled, though reluctantly, to put on the record one thing.

Inasmuch as two of the distinguished witnesses who have appeared before your committee have seen fit to be critical of the Government's contractual program with the National Urban League, I would like to take just a moment to set the record straight.

GOOD RELATIONS BETWEEN URBAN LEAGUE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

First of all, a mere 12 percent of the National Urban League's annual budget this year comes from Federal sources. Now while I understand that the motives of the witnesses grew either out of ignorance of value received and established results, or out of resentment because as individuals they did not and cannot dominate or control the National Urban League, as they do some of the new local structures which are set up to receive funds, I believe the members of this committee should know that the National Urban League has produced remarkable results in its contractual relationships with the Federal Government.

Two specific projects, projects conducted jointly with the Family Service Association of America and the Child Study Association of America in 61 cities, consisting of a program of parent education, has reached 20,000 very deserving and disadvantaged Negro parents, has helped to inspire them with the kind of possibilities inherent in the Headstart program, and shown them how they can provide supportive services in the home.

In addition, the National Urban League carries major responsibility for all of the program development and planning of the on-the-job training programs conducted by some 78 affiliates in strategically located cities across the coutry. These programs are funded by the Department of Labor.

URBAN LEAGUE JOB PLACEMENT SERVICES

Now with minimum exception, they have been a spectacular success. This year some 4,000 people have received training and job placement through Urban League channels as a result of this little bit of money that we get from the Federal Government.

In addition to that, I also want to point out that day in and day out Urban League job placement across the Nation ran to 40,000 people last year at an average annual income-these are unemployed, out of work people—at an average anual income of about $4,000 for such new jobs. This comes to $160 million annually in new and expanded national income at no Government expense.

Our national skills bank last year placed some 9,000 people at the rate of around $6,000, which comes to a very significant amount of money.

APPROPRIATE PROGRAMS MUST BE DEVISED AND APPLIED

Now let me move quickly on to my central thesis, and that is that fundamentally as a nation we have most of the necessary legislative devices at hand. The central question now is one of application and one of will, one of a massive application. Whatever the specific problems and approaches to the problems of the cities, the first imperative is that we devise programs appropriately scaled to the size and urgency of the problems we face.

MOBILIZE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE RESOURCES

Secondly we must recognize that Government alone cannot solve the problems of the city, and so the answer becomes how we can stimulate and mobilize all of the resources in both the public and private sectors

of the country. Success will require the fullest possible commitment from industry, from labor, from all of the other groups.

Recently we have seen a growing recognition of the need for a massive outlay of funds as expressed in the Freedom Budget, which calls for such an expenditure over the next 10 years, a plan which fleshes out and puts meat on the bones of the domestic Marshall plan which the National Urban League proposed some 4 or 5 years ago. We support the Freedom Budget, the basic concept and the principle of massive action, and we do not feel it represents an excessive expenditure.

MASSIVE PLANS NEEDED TO COPE WITH CITY PROBLEM

Less than 2 weeks ago the National League of Cities asserted the overwhelming urgency of our urban problems as reflected in civil disorders, poor education, poverty, crime, disease, and slums, by citing urban problems as the Nation's No. 1 domestic challenge. Nothing short of thinking on the scale of the Marshall plan or the Freedom Budget will allow us to rescue the cities from the problems that now beset them.

Among all those problems to which we must address ourselves, one of the most critical is that of housing. I want to confine most of my suggestions to specific recommendations in this area.

We are confronted on the one hand with 5 million substandard housing units in the slums and the ghettos of the Nation's cities, which require rehabilitation and replacement, and on the other hand, with an enormous need for the low- and middle-income housing.

HOUSING PROBLEMS DEMAND FEDERAL CREDIT AND SUBSIDIES

Given the magnitude of our housing problems, it is the Urban League's belief that any succesful approach to their solution must involve all significant elements in American society, and that the basic framework for action must consist of the fullest possible use of the credit and subsidy powers of the Federal Government on a massive and coordinated basis.

Studies as early as 1939, for example, demonstrated a national need for 1.5 to 2.0 million new housing units, a need which it was estimated would increase by 400,000 units per annum thereafter.

World War II, of course, precluded necessary housing construction immediately thereafter, and we have never caught up or even begun to.

President Johnson in his state of the Union message last January estimated our present need for new housing as equal to the entire housing stock which now exists in the Nation. Our construction rate has never exceeded 1.2 to 1.3 million units per year, a rate that chronically leaves us further behind every year. Just to stand still we need a minimum of 2 million new housing starts per year.

FEDERAL SUPPORT OF HOUSING INDUSTRY RECOMMENDED

One of the big reasons for our present failure in the housing field is the state of the housing industry itself. The housing industry is not in fact an industry at all in the sense that we think of the steel industry

or the automobile industry. It is instead a miscellaneous collection of small entrepreneurs in no way equipped as such to meet our national housing needs.

One of the first items on the Federal agenda should be a careful consideration of steps to be taken in order to create a housing industry capable of meeting our housing needs from coast to coast.

To date the governmental role has been one of propping up this faltering collection of small scale operations rather than exploring the fundamental questions related to the skill and efficiency of operation necessary for us to reach a satisfactory level of production.

FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR HOUSING SEGREGATION

Another major item for the Federal Government regarding housing policy is the continuing problem of discrimination in housing, which is still a major underlying factor in all metropolitan areas. It is a historical fact that the Federal Government bears a heavy responsibility for patterns of housing discrimination, both North and South.

Early legislation governing FHA mortgages required homogeneous neighborhoods, and from 1935 to 1950 public housing law required only that public housing be "equitably” distributed among the races.

Both of these stipulations served to intensify housing segregation in the South and the FHA's insistence upon homogeneous neighborhoods actually created widespread segregation in housing in the North in areas where it never existed before.

In light of the Federal Government's historical responsibility in the matter, it is only fitting that it should now totally reverse its stand by going one giant step further than it is going even today.

USE FEDERAL TALENTS TO DISPERSE GHETTO POPULATION

Today the Federal Government subscribes to a policy of nondiscrimination in housing. But I beg to point out that such a policy is, in a sense, negative and, inasmuch as the ghettos will continue to exist as long as the ghetto population remains intact, and inasmuch as the problems of the central cities will never be solved as long as this is so, the Federal Government should revise its present policy of nondiscrimination and, instead, actively promote a policy and practice of seeking and encouraging, aiding and abetting, direct dispersal of the ghetto population.

On the other hand, we need to bring to play the genius, the skill, the talents to bring about dispersal that the Federal Government in the past used to bring about segregation.

I think our experiences in Chicago last year made it clear that this is not going to happen unless this kind of forthright effort is made. We now see that it is not a question of the Negro cleaning himself up and getting an education and then the good white people will let him move into their neighborhoods.

In a place like Cicero, Ill., Ralph Bunch, with a Ph. D. and Phi Beta Kappa key, cannot move into Cicero, but Al Capone can and did and any white pimp or prostitute can do this. This is true not just of Cicero, ill. It is true of Bronxville in New York City. It is true of many of our suburbs.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »