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social program in our history in which there has been such a wide development of interest over such a short period of time.
I found that in my contacts with about 100 cities in the United States. I have talked about housing and slum clearance in nearly all of those cities, and I find there is a very great and a very wide interest in it.
I think that one of the things about which so many of the people who are genuinely interested in housing are concerned is this continuous bickering among the experts in the field about details. They feel that if we had adopted the same attitude towards workmen's compensation or any other social movement that we would not have been able to get anywhere. After all, in a program like this, we have to proceed on an actual experimental basis. I do not believe that there is any such thing as an expert in this field because we know too little about it. We talk about the very same difficulties involved in this field as compared with other fields of social legislation.
Personally I do not believe that the difficulties are any greater than those, for instance, involved in workmen's compensation, nor than those involved in the minimum wage legislation. When you begin to determine minimum rates of wages, you are involved in much greater difficulties, it seems to me, than in this field of housing.
The CHAIRMAN. A phase of it that troubles me a little is not the fundamental proposition, but the administration. I can conceive of tremendous pressure being exerted by people outside the slum area to get the benefit of low rentals and of renting these new homes, and the exercise of great pressure upon public authorities, and thereby result in failure to really solve the slum problem. Have you thought of that?
Dr. O'Grady. Yes; I think there has been a very serious difficulty in practice, in private efforts in that field. I have been through a great number of the projects—some of the projects in different cities, and I think there has been a very general impression of that kind.
The CHAIRMAN. The depression has created something which I have never seen in my public career before, the impression that every thing is pull and influence, and if you put the right pressure you will get what you want. I have never seen so much of that, seen it so widespread as it has developed during the depression. If that is exerted in this field, we will have these buildings built and everything else, but the poor slum victims will not be occupying these homes.
Dr. O'Grady. I do not think it is any different in their field than, for instance, the W. P. A.
The Chairman. I am only mentioning it to see how we can prevent that from happening, in the legislation.
Dr. O'Grady. I think it is the general stirring up of this wholeI think we are just in a period of great social change, and we have gone from the individualism of every man for himself and depending upon himself to work out his own economic salvation, to the other extreme of leaning on the Government. You have got a great democratic interest in all of these welfare measures, and a great pressure on there, a pressure such as you have never experienced before in our whole history. I do not think there is any way of getting around that at all. I do not think there is any method of meeting that in any field of social legislation except by the development of objective statutes.
I think that Mr. Grimm's proposal would face much more serious difficulties. The administration of it on a case by case basis would involve far greater difficulties. I think you would have far greater pressure. I do not see any way to get out of it or get around it except by the setting up of objective standards. It seems to me that we could set up some kind of a wage standard and assume that the use of these houses would be confined to those earning less than a certain income, and have it determined objectively-we are not going to determine it on a case by case basis, I am sure. I think that has been our whole experience. We have got to work at objective standards.
The CHAIRMAN. Another suggestion occurs to me, and I would like to get your reaction to it, and that is this. Suppose we provide that these homes built under this Act will only be occupied by those who are ousted from slum areas, that are wiped out by the act. That would help to limit the groups or class of people who would seek to get located in these new and modern homes.
Dr. O’GRADY. That is probably one way out, but I have worked in slum areas and I know some of them quite well. I am thinking, for instance, about a large slum area in St. Louis in which I have worked a good deal. I think I know that area fairly well. I have worked from house to house there and slum to slum. I found quite a few people with good incomes living in those slum areas. I do not know how you could meet that problem. They had some sort of attachment to the area. I do not know whether that is universally true. I think it is true in the stockyards district in Chicago. I have worked in that area a good deal, and you find some people with fairly good incomes in that area.
I think you have got to have an objective standard in all of these matters, and I think if this whole program—just like you have, for instance, in unemployment compensation. You have set up definite standards that are not equivocal. You have set up old age insurance definite standards. You have set up even in old age pensions fairly definite standards, and it seems to me that this ought to be put on such a basis. I do not see any other way out of it. I therefore see some virtue in the proposal as was presented by Mr. Grimm in the first part of his testimony, from which he seemed to depart in the second part of his testimony. If we could set up a wage base. Say that the use of these homes would be confined to people of less than a certain income, because our whole program has been built up on that base. We say that people earning less than a certain amount of money or wage cannot pay an economic rent, and it seems to me therefore that we ought to work toward that standard. I do not see any other way out of it.
I am heartily in favor of the point that has just been made by Colonel Hackett of doing everything possible to encourage private enterprise. I wish we could do more to encourage private cooperative enterprise in the housing field, such as has been done in European countries.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, you have seen this development across the river?
Dr. O'GRADY. No, sir; I have not.
The CHAIRMAN. I'advise you to go and see it. I was very much impressed with it. It was financed by the New York Life Insurance Co., I understand. I was very much impressed by what can be done in private fields if advantage is taken of the opportunities that are present.
Dr. O'GRADY. I think that the Government ought to do everything possible to encourage private enterprise. I have seen several of the housing developments in Holland and Belgium. There is one of the largest housing developments in Southern Holland, and there is one that has been promoted by a former confrere of mine, and I have been through that whole project with him. That whole enterprise has been developed by a labor group through government loans and private loans and through government assistance—through direct governmental assistance.
They do not seem to have the same scruple over there about direct governmental assistance to private cooperative associations that we have in this country.
I feel that that is one of the points that I would probably disagree with the principles of the bill, but I am perfectly willing to go along with it because I feel that in this case we have not made the same progress in the development of cooperative enterprise that they have, for instance, in England or in Holland or Belgium. I do not know anything about the German developments or the Austrian developments, but I think that is a practical difficulty that you face in this country, that cooperatives have not been developed. For instance, labor has not gone into that field to the same degree that Belgian labor has, nor to the same degree that Dutch labor has. They have gone into the housing field on a very large scale with Government assistance, not only by loans, but also by grants, and I am in favor of that principle as a basic social and economic principle. I am in favor of not only loaning money to these associations, but I also believe in the principle of grants in aid to them.
But that, however, does not seem to be practicable here. It is probably due in the last analysis to the fact that cooperative effort has not been developed in this country to the same degree that it has been in European countries.
I find there is one other difficulty, I think, that we face in the development of this whole program. While a very wide interest has been developed in this filed of public housing during this past year, I find a certain tendency on the part of the cities—as I move around I found a good deal of it only during this past week-just to depend on the Housing Division of the Public Works Administration. For instance, in St. Louis the other day, the officials of the city told me, “We are interested in this housing, but what is the Housing Division of the Public Works Administration going to do about it?''
I think there is too much of a tendency to lean on the Federal Government, and I think that we are not going to get very far if we loan with the exception of the small amount of money set aside in this bill. We shall never make any real progress until we get a Jarge amount of local interest in it, until the local governments are willing to invest their funds in it, and until private capital and private enterprise becomes interested in the field, until we develop à much larger measure of cooperative enterprise than has been developed in the United States up to date.
I think that part of the bill that calls for direct Federal construc tion over a certain period of time is sound. I think the Federal Government should get out of that field as soon as possible, but for the time being, I think the Federal Government should remain in the field. I think it is essential in our present system of development.
I feel this, that the local communities are not ready. We have had a great deal of development. If the Federal Government remains in the field for 3 or 4 years more, I feel that the local governments will be in a much better position to undertake the projects on their own initiative.
The CHAIRMAN. I appreciate, Doctor, having your views. STATEMENT OF MYLES L. COLEAN, TECHNICAL DIRECTOR,
FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION The CHAIRMAN. Please give your full name and residence. Mr. COLEAN. Myles L. Colean. Legal residence, Washington.
The CHAIRMAN. And you are technical director of the Federal Housing Administration?
Mr. COLEAN. Yes. The CHAIRMAN. Prior to coming to the Housing Administration, what was your occupation?
Mr. COLEAN. I was an architect in Chicago.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Colean, a few days ago two of the witnesses appearing before the committee took occasion to point out and call attention to a newspaper article that had been given to the press in a press release of the Federal Housing Administration with respect to the possibility of building a home that would be habitable and satisfactory for $1,200. Have you any knowledge of that press release?
Mr. COLEAN. Yes, I know about it, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you present to the committee just what information the Federal Housing Administration possesses as to the possibility of building a $1,200 home for a workman and his family?
Mr. COLEAN. Yes, sir. The newspaper story referred to was in reference to a technical study which has been under way in the Federal Housing Administration for the last 4 or 5 months. This study was undertaken for the purpose of determining if we could what was a minimum house that could be built at the present time at the lowest possible cost.
This study was one not only of cost but of standards and of planning and of waste in building
After working on this matter, part of the result was embodied in this story. It referred to a one-story structure with a concrete slab foundation, a substantial wood frame, erected in the ordinary manner, but very carefully planned to avoid waste of material. It included three rooms; two bedrooms of sufficient size to accommodate four persons, a bathroom, and one other room in which all the other living facilities of the house were included. That includes heat. In other words, we had a house that was heated, and that included all reasonable modern equipment.
The CHAIRMAN. Was it made of wood?
Mr. COLEAN. In most cases the house would be made of wood. There are some parts of the country where brick or cinder block could be used.
The CHAIRMAN. What kind of roof?
a composition shingles.
The CHAIRMAN. Was there any cellar?