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Each eligible applicant will be investigated to verify the information furnished on the application, to check his need for housing and to determine general desirability and rent record. A report will be rendered on each applicant investigated.
A rating scale will then be employed to score each acceptable applicant's relative priority with respect to the conditions of preference which are set forth above. The advisory committee, through a rotating subcommittee on tenant selection, will then pass upon the record and rating of each applicant.
Unsolicited applications now on hand for several developments indicate that no trouble need be anticipated in filling our projects with tenants able to meet all the qualifications stated above.
Rent will be computed on consideration of the following factors: Interest and amortization on construction cost; interest on cost of land; administration, operation, maintenance, and repairs; insurance; municipal service charge; depreciation reserve; vacancy reserve.
Since the construction of projects has not yet been completed, no accurate statement of base rents can be made. In general, it is anticipated that they will vary from $5 to $7.
Based on 3-percent interest, 60-year amortization, and assumptions that a 45-percent capital grant or its annual equivalent may be made on the project cost, and that municipal service charges and insurance may be paid, rents per room per month can be approximated on two projects as follows: Atlanta, Ga., H-1102: Base rent--
$4. 66 Heat and water--
Boston, Mass., H-3302:
5. 00 1. 71
6. 71 Additional services will be supplied at a cost less than what surveys indicate tenants must now pay on the retail market.
The foregoing discussion of policy of operation, tenant selection, factors contributing to rent, and status of program, assumes a 45-percent capital grant, or its equivalent in annual payments, and the payment of a service charge in lieu of taxes to municipalities. The Comptroller General has ruled that existing law does not permit such financial aid or payments to municipalities.
I trust that the above information comprises the desired extension of my testimony before your committee. Any further data which you request will, of course, be promptly supplied.
A. R. CLAS, Director of Housing. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bates, will you come forward?
STATEMENT OF HARRY C. BATES, CHAIRMAN OF THE AMERI
CAN FEDERATION OF LABOR HOUSING COMMITTEE AND PRESIDENT OF THE BRICKLAYERS, MASONS, AND PLASTERERS INTERNATIONAL UNION
The CHAIRMAN. Will you state your full name for the record, please?
Mr. BATEs. Harry C. Bates.
Mr. Bates. I am president of the Bricklayers, Masons, and Plasterers International Union, and also chairman of the American Federation of Labor housing committee.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be pleased to have your views on this bill.
Mr. Bates. The housing committee of the American Federation of Labor assumes a very serious responsibility in endorsing a piece of iegislation designed to form the cornerstone of a permanent national housing policy for the United States. . I represent here today an organization whose direct and vital interest in the enactment of adequate national measures to improve housing conditions is fourfold.
First of all, the American Federation of Labor housing committee represents a million building trades workers. No industry has been sicker during the past 6 years than the building industry. Since 1932, about two-thirds of the building workers have been completely without employment; there have been times when the percentage of unemployed reached as high as 90 to 95 percent. "No major industry shows less signs of real revival at the present moment than the residential production business. In spite of all the rosy
. talk about a building boom, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that we are now attaining only about one-fifth of the average level of residential production during the 1920's. And finally, there is no basic industry in America today which shows more signs of chronic illness than does the housing business. In good times as well as bad, its speculative wastes and uncertainties are so great, its potential market so restricted to the "luxury" class, that a skilled union bricklayer or plasterer was lucky if he got a hundred or a hundred and fifty days' work a year-or an annual income of $1,200 or $1.500—even in a large city in the midst of a building boom.
Next, we speak in the interests of an equal number of workers in the durable-goods industries—workers who have been almost as badly hit as the building craftsmen. The demand for bricks, steel, glass, cement, and many kinds of equipment is seriously restricted by the lack of residential construction.
Thirdly, we represent here today some four million organized wage earners and their families, in all crafts and industries, most of whom have had bitter first-hand acquaintance with the housing problem ever since they were born. Union workers have better wages than the average. But very, very few of them have ever been able to achieve that famous "American standard of living", complete with modern kitchen and bathrooms, central heat, a sunny garden and a quiet neighborhood for the children to grow up in.
Even the skilled and relatively well-paid building tradesmen have seldom had the chance to enjoy the products of their own labor.
Go to any meeting of a building-trades local and ask the members how many of them have ever lived in a house they had a hand in building. Go to any labor temple, or other place where wage earners congregate, and ask how many of those present have ever lived in a relatively new home equipped with the things which are generally accepted as necessities for a decent life. Ask how many are forced to “double up” with other families, because no separate quarters at reasonable rentals are available. Then you will see why this abstract term "housing” has become a national issue, which will mount in political importance until something positive is done.
The workers have fought to maintain and increase wage rates, and to shorten the working week. But even where we have won relatively high wages, they are meaningless if they do not make it possible for families to live in decent homes. And shorter working hours are an empty achievement if the wage earner's hard-won leisure must be spent in black and dreary slums and overcrowded homes.
Fourthly and finally, we speak for the great mass of consumers. It has been proven during the past 5 years that organized labor is the strongest single force battling in the general consumers' interests. That is the interest of that vast majority of citizens who know that prosperity in America must be based on greater consuming power, better quality of goods, higher real wages, and a more just distribution of resources and opportunity. In our standards of consumption of the three prime consumers' necessities—food, clothing, and shelter—we lag farthest behind in housing.
The necessity for a concrete and long range low-rent housing program was recognized in President Hoover's administration. The Committee on Large-Scale Operations of Mr. Hoover's Conference on IIome Building and Home Ownership reported that “the houses of the country constitute our largest mass of obsolete and discredited equipment.” Moreover, they showed that “the present break-down in the financing, construction, and distribution of homes is more than a temporary or emergency situation.” Certainly, 4 additional years
depression would not alter that judgment. Because our responsibility and interest in this vital problem is so great, we have studied it very seriously. Our own viewpoint has gradually developed and crystallized, while we watched the various governmental experiments in the housing field, and listened to the numerous “solutions” that have been offered.
A resolution on a public housing program was unanimously adopted at the convention of the American Federation of Labor last October in Atlantic City. This resolution laid down the broad outlines of a national housing policy to be promoted by labor. I am herewith submitting it for the record of this hearing.
Senator La FOLLETTE. That may be included in the record immediately following your statement.
Mr. BATES. I will merely quote three pertinent points from it. It was resolved
That a long-term housing policy must be adopted in order to guarantee a minimum standard of decency in housing for all families-
That permanent Federal, State, and local housing authorities, implemented with adequate funds and the power to acquire land and to construct and manage large-scale community housing projects, are the first requirements of an effective long-term program
That broad Federal, State, and local legislation, establishing workers' housing as a public responsibility, setting up permanent machinery to effectuate the ends herein set forth, and providing adequate sources of funds must be enacted as quickly as possible and that all labor organizations should actively sponsor and promote such legislation and should investigate and publicize the stand on housing of all candidates for office.
The resolution also called for the establishment of local labor housing committees. Seventy-two such committees have already been appointed by central bodies and building-trades councils. They are active in most of the larger cities of this country and are affiliated with the Labor Housing Conference, a national organization.
It was also in accordance with this resolution that President Green appointed the A. F. of L. housing committee, of which Mr. Coefield, president of the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters; Mr. Colleran, president of the Operative Plasterers' and Cement Finishers' International Association, and myself, are members.
The A. F. of L. housing committee has made several public statements within the past few months, developing labor's housing program in more concrete terms. I hereby present for the record a brief statement of the housing program, sponsored by our committee and the Labor Housing Conference, which was unanimously adopted at a meeting not long ago, attended by representatives of 19 buildingtrades internationals and various other Members of Congress.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. That may be included in the record at the conclusion of your statement.
Mr. BATEs. In developing this program, we learned a great deal from the Federal Government's varied experience in the housing field during the past few years. The most valuable experiment has been that of the Housing Division of the Public Works Administration. It is trying to do a worth-while job, but it has been hampered in every step by the lack of any definite or continuing national housing policy behind it, by its temporary, emergency nature, and by overcentralization in Washington. It has, moreover, little flexibility, and no means of working with, or encouraging, local housing authorities or qualified private groups. Much the same may be said of the Suburban Resettlement Division of the Resettlement Administration. They face the additional difficulty of utilizing relief labor on a force-account basis-a further result of treating housing as emergency work relief.
The first point in our program was, therefore, that "there must be a definite long-term program for the provision of an adequate supply of low-rent housing, available to families who cannot secure decent housing through ordinary private initiative", and that this program should be entrusted to a permanent authority similar to the United States housing authority set up in the housing bill here under consideration. Our program also provided that this authority "should work through local public housing authorities and cooperative or other nonprofit housing agencies representing labor or con
sumers”, and that "such local agencies should, wherever and whenever possible, initiate, construct, own, and manage housing projects. In view of the local inexperience, it was also provided that the authority "must itself have the power to construct and manage housing projects." All of these provisions have been fairly embodied in Senator Wagner's bill, except for our suggestion that the board of directors of the authority should include specific representatives of labor and consumers.
Sad experience with the visionary projects of the Subsistence Homestead Division prompted us to write another plank in labor's housing platform, namely, that allhousing for industrial workers must in general be located within easy reach of a variety of work opportunities, and projects must not be set up on the basis of “part-time industry' and compulsory gardening. In isolated areas "subsistence homesteads" merely extends the feudal conditions already existing in many one-industry and company towns. In the suburbs of larger cities they will only serve to keep the level of cash wages down.
The Home Owners' Loan Corporation, necessary and valuable as it was in the period of emergency, has nothing to do with a longterm housing program. Its chief result has been to bail out insurance companies and banks, and it has had no effect whatsoever on physical housing standards, nor has it added to the supply of houses available for low-income families.
The American Federation of Labor housing committee released a special statement on February 18 of this year, pointing out that a United States housing authority should be an independent agency, and especially that it should not be combined in any way with the activities of the Federal Housing Administration. The latter, we pointed outdoes not and cannot fulfill the purposes
of a national public-housing program.
It benefits neither low-income families, who need better housing, nor skilled building-trades workers. Nor does it act as a stabilizing agency in the building industry.
We showed that practically all the construction under its auspices has been built by labor working at far less than prevailing wage rates (often half or even lower), and under substandard working conditionsThat the worst type of speculative jerry builder has been encouraged, and
Finally, that the Federal Housing Administration has not provided, nor can it provide, any housing for low-income families.
Any real public-housing program must have ideals and standards, diamet. rically opposed to the policies of F. H. A. A public-housing program must act through responsible agencies, which are subject to proper control. It must guarantee payment of prevailing wage rates and maintenance of adequate standards. It must provide decent housing for low-income groups.
Senator LA FOLLETTE. May I take the liberty of putting this statement into the record as well? It is quite brief.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; that may be incorporated in the record also.
Mr. BATEs. In conclusion, the housing committee of the American Federation of Labor wishes to congratulate our friend Senator Wagner on this, his crowning piece of liberal legislation which embodies so many features of our housing program. In the name of