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WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF SOCIAL AGENCIES OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
April 24, 1936. Hon. David I. WALSH,
Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR: It is with great appreciation that we learn that the Committee of Legislation and Labor is now studying the Wagner-Ellenbogen housing bill.
We wish to commend and endorse the principles involved in this legislation which allows the Federal Government to establish an agency to assist the States, municipalities, and quasi-public in participating in low-rent housing and slum clearance. Sincerely yours,
MARY EDITH COULSON,
Secretary, Settlement Council. CHRISTY ANN KITTLE,
Los ANGELES COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC Housing,
Los Angeles, Calif., April 27, 1936. Hon. DAVID I. WALSH, Chairman,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: We wish to urge you to place your full cooperation behind the Wagner-Ellenbogen bill, as it is our opinion that this is the first plausible method by which slum clearance can be initiated in this country.
Without a revolution in wage levels, rentals will not pay the cost of slum clearance and rehousing. Therefore, a public housing program such as this bill represents is absolutely necessary if anything along this line is to be accomplished. Impetus must come from the Federal Government.
Ślum clearance and public housing is the only use of public money for housing purposes that does not conflict with the interests of private landlords. It does not increase total housing and therefore does not produce vacancies; nor does subsidization depress rents, which in the slums are governed by the economic status of the tenants.
We feel confident that with your knowledge and understanding of this problem that you will lend every possible support to this measure. Respectfully yours,
Los ANGELES COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC HOUSING,
By LEWIS EUGENE WILSON, Secretary. LEW:S
THE CATHOLIC WELFARE BUREAU OF
Los Angeles, Calif., April 27, 1936.
Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR Walsh: The Los Angeles committee on public housing has carefully studied the provisions of the Wagner public housing bill. A few days ago I was authorized as chairman of our local committee, to send a telegram to President Roosevelt urging his fullest support of the measure.
Among other things, the authors of the bill recognized the fundamental inability of private enterprise to meet the need for low-cost housing. Furthermore, there are ample safeguards against public competition with private enterprise in ito legitimate field. The theory of local control in construction and in management is recognized. Provision is made for immediate decentralization of present Federal housing activities.
This bill, if enacted into law, will go a long way toward mitigating a condition that has resisted solution for generations. Sincerely yours,
Rt. Rev. Thomas J. O'DWYER,
NEW YORK, N. Y., April 28, 1936. Senator DAVID I. Walsh, Chairman, Senate Committee on Education and Labor,
United States Senate: This committee desires to go on record as favoring the Wagner-Ellenbogen slum-clearance bill.
HARLEM ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY.
BETTER HOUSING LEAGUE OF
Cincinnati, April 28, 1936. Hon. DAVID I. WALSH,
United States Senator, the Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR Walsh: The Better Housing League of Cincinnati and Hamilton County asks your aid for the enactment of the Federal housing bill, known as the Wagner-Ellenbogen bill.
Our painstaking study of the detailed features of the bill convinces us that it is sound and should be enacted with such amendments as the hearings now under way may prove to be desirable. To make any real progress with slum clearance and low-rent housing, a permanent division of housing and a long-time program are indispensable.
We heartily approve the two features of this measure which would place the responsibility with local groups and which would assure the maintenance of the low-rent character of the housing. Sincerely yours,
August Marx, Chairman
IRONBOUND COMMUNITY AND INDUSTRIAL SERVICE, INC.,
Newark, N. J., April 29, 1936. Hon. David I. WALSH, Choirman, Senate Committee on Education and Labor,
The Capitol, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR WALSH: Our organization, serving not only industries but the workers of this industrial community, wishes to uige you to give all possible support to the passage of the Wagner-Ellenbogen housing bill (S. 4424).
It is our conviction that the passage of this bill would not only be a matter of real social advance but would be helpful in bringing about business recovery. Thanking you for your careful consideration of this request, I am,
E. B. JACOBSON,
Executive Secretary. IRONBOUND COUNCIL,
Newark, N. J., April 29, 1936. Senator David I. WALSH, Chairman, Senate Committee on Education and Labor,
The Capitol, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR: At the last meeting of the Ironbound Council, the following resolution was passed which I have been instructed to convey to you:
“Resolved: That whereas low income wage earners in our city are obliged to occupy dwellings which are a constant menace to health and safety; and
“Whereas unsanitary and unsafe conditions of housing are an economic drain upon the entire community because the cost to the city for servicing them is commonly many times greater than the amount received by the city in taxes from such property; and
"Whereas private enterprise finds it unprofitable to provide housing accomodations of modern standards at rents sufficiently low to meet the needs of low-income wage workers, and it therefore becomes the responsibility of Government to do
"Whereas the clearance of slums and the gradual rehousing of low-income families will provide for a steady flow of activity in the long-dormant building industry: Be it therefore
“Resolved, That the Ironbound Council hereby goes on record as favoring the purposes and the general provisions outlined in the Wagner-Ellenbogen slum clearance and low-rent housing bill." Very truly yours,
D. M. MEEKER,
Chairman, Ironbound Council, Newark, V.J. DMM:MR
Jewish Social SERVICE AssOCIATION, INC.,
New York, April 30, 1936. Hon. David I. Walsh, Chairman, Senate Committee on Education and Labor,
Senate Chamber, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR Walsh: We are case workers in the Jewish Social Service Association, and, therefore, we come into daily contact with the lowest income groups. As social workers, we are well acquainted with the inadequate substandard housing with its hazards to health, safety, and even morals-the only available housing to low-income wage earners at the present time.
We wish to go on record as strongly favoring the principles embodied in the Wagner-Ellenbogen bill, including the creation of a permanent United States Housing Authority, decentralization of Federal housing activities, the recognition of the inability of private enterprise to provide satisfactory low-cost housing. Although a larger appropriation is much to be desired, we believe that the early enactment of this legislation will prove to be a first step toward hastening the clearance of slums and toward adequate rehousing of such low-income families for which private enterprise finds it unprofitable to provide homes of modern standards of decency and comfort.
As social workers concerned directly with the underprivileged groups, we cannot overemphasize the menace to health and human lives resulting from continuation of the present gross insufficiency of decent low-cost housing. Very truly yours,
NEW YORK SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTS,
New York City, April 30, 1936. Hon. David I. Walsh, Chairman, Senate Committee on Education and Labor,
Senate Chamber, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR: At the last regular meeting of this society I was directed by resolution to inform you that after preliminary study of Šenate bill 4424 (Senator Wagner's housing bill) that this society endorses the principle of good housing for all the people, and suggests that this result be consummated through self-liquidating, long-term, amortized loans, without direct or indirect subsidies. Cordially,
John T. BRIGGS, Secretary.
STATE BOARD OF HOUSING,
New York City, April 30, 1936. Hon. David I. WALSH,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: I enclose herewith for your consideration a resolution endorsing the Wagner bill, which was adopted by the municipal housing authorities of the State of New York at a conference held on April 29 in Syracuse, sponsored by the New York State Board of Housing and the conference of mayors and other municipal officials of the State of New York. Very truly yours,
GEORGE GOVE, Secretary.
RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE HOUSING AUTHORITIES OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
AT A STATE-WIDE CONFERENCE IN SYRACUSE ON APRIL 29, 1936, SPONSORED BY THE NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF HOUSING AND THE CONFERENCE OF MAYORS AND OTHER MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Whereas housing is one of the major social problems in this country; and Whereas housing for persons of low income is impossible without subsidy; and
Whereas it is now impossible for State and local governments to provide this necessary subsidy; and
Whereas under Federal administration great progress has been made in providing housing for families of low income; and
Whereas failure to continue Federal aid would seriously retard housing progress in the United States:
Therefore we, representatives of housing authorities in the State of New York, do by resolution adopted at a State-wide conference in Syracuse on April 29, 1936, urge upon the President and the Congress of the United States their support of Senate bill 4424, introduced by Senator Robert F. Wagner, of New York, and H. R. 12164, introduced by Congressman Henry Ellenbogen, of Pennsylvania.
New York City Housing Authority, Langdon W. Post (chairman);
Municipal Housing Authority of Schenectady, John MacGathan (chairman), Mrs. Willis T. Hanson, Jr. (vice chairman), Richard J. Carmichael; Housing Authority of the City of Port Jervis, Byron E. Harding; Syracuse Housing Authority, T. Aaron Levy (chairman), Mrs. William F. Canough, Orville H. Greene, John A. Dittman; Yonkers Municipal Housing Authority, Theodore T. McCrosky.
AssociaTION OF DAY NURSERIES OF NEW YORK CITY,
May 13, 1936. Re: Wagner-Ellenbogen United States housing bill. Senator David I. WALSH,
Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR Walsh: Everyone interested in the problem of bad housing knows that you are sympathetic to all effort-governmental or private—that aims to solve that problem.
In a very humble way over a number of years I have had first-hand knowledge of the far-reaching, evil results of bad, overcrowded living conditions, as I have met them in my capacity as social-welfare worker. Also I am familiar with some of the efforts made by the Government during the past 3 years to do something really constructive about this tragic situation. I have been serving in an advisory capacity during that time with the New York City Housing Authority, and know first-hand of some of the difficulties and complications that have arisen in working out some of the schemes.
With these in mind I have studied carefully the above bill, and I am convinced that, so far as iş humanly possible in such a complex project, this bill provides a sound basis for furthering the work already undertaken, and takes into account the causes of the snags and obstacles already encountered.
So I am moved to ask most earnestly your favorable consideration, and that of your committee, to this bill. Sincerely yours,
(Mrs.) MARY H. MORAN,
BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE
Washington, May 1, 1936.
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR: I wish to acknowledge, with appreciation, your letter of April 10, enclosing a copy of the housing bill introduced by Senator Wagner, and stating that your committee would be pleased to receive my views and any recommendation I might desire to make with regard to the bill.
The delay in my answering your letter is due to the fact that I have been out of the city for some time and that the letter was received in my absence. However, I understand that the informal group which the President asked to consider the whole question of housing legislation expects shortly to have some suggestions with regard to the matters dealt with in the Wagner bill, as well as with other housing matters not dealt with in that bill.
In these circumstances, I think that any expression of my views or any recommendation on my part might more appropriately be made, if there seems any occasion for it, after the suggestions of this informal group have been given to the President. Meanwhile, I wish to express my thanks to your committee for sending a copy of the Wagner bill to me and offering me an opportunity to comment on it. Yours sincerely,
M. S. ECCLES, Chairman.
SPECIAL REPORT NO. 2 ON THE PROBLEM OF SLUM AREAS IN THE UNITED STATES AND LEGAL ASPECTS OF MEASURES AIMED AT ERADICATION AND PREVENTION
(Submitted to Central Housing Committee by its Subcommittee on Law and
Legislation, Apr. 14, 1936)
PREFACE In Slums and Blighted Areas in the United States, Public Works Administration Housing Division Bulletin No. 1, by Edith Elmer Wood, it is said:
"It has long been known to students of housing that the dwellings and neighborhoods in which a substantial fraction of the American people live are of a character to injure the health, endanger the safety and morals, and interfere with the normal family life of their inhabitants. Careful estimates for some years past have placed this fraction at approximately one-third."
This statement is then buttressed by statistics collected to the 1930 census, from which it is shown that approximately 6,000,000 nonfarm homes and 5,000,000 farm homes are definitely substandard. In other words, these figures indicate that at least 36 percent of the total housing in the United States is below that standard required for health and decent living.
This bulletin then goes on to point out by concrete facts, statistics, and a study of conditions in 15 large American cities the effect of bad housing on health, morals, safety, and general welfare, and the economic effect of such bad housing conditions. Then is discussed the impossibility of meeting the needs of the nation in the field of housing and the correction of the existing evil through relying upon private enterprise for profit.
The bulletin concludes with the following:
“(1) The close connection between housing and health, safety, morals, and family welfare.
“(2) The vast extent in the United States of housing sufficiently had to exert an acutely deteriorating influence in those respects.
“(3) The inescapable conclusion is that this condition constitutes a national emergency in which only the National Government (with the cooperation of State and local housing authorities) can cope.
“(4) The impossibility of the evil's being corrected by private enterprise either working for maximum profit or accepting limited dividends.
“(5) That a large-scale effort to demolish slums and replace them with good low-rental housing just at this time would have the additional effect of providing greatly needed work in the building trades, thus meeting another even more urgent national emergency.
**(6) And, finally, evidence is adduced that the nations which bave had experience in slum clearance have found that the families transplanted from slums to modern housing, have shown satisfactory improvement in around 90 percent of cases.
In order to effectuate a slum-clearance and low-rent housing program for the entire United States, it is necessary to work within the established limits of the law as it relates to such a program. This report endeavors to point out the means which so far have been used to carry out a slum clearance and low cost housing program in the several States of the United States, and to discuss the existing state of the law in this field of housing.