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builders if they are made available to them. During its hearings the committee received concrete evidence of how Government research in only two design problems could result in substantial savings to American home buyers if applied by a considerable number of these builders throughout the country.
Your committee is firmly convinced that the research program contemplated under title III of the bill is highly desirable to facilitate housing progress. The research program offers the best promise of attaining real and lasting cost reductions through technological progress in an industry which, it is generally agreed, has lagged behind other American industries in this respect. It will result in a better understanding of complex market factors, and will provide the factual data and statistics needed to evaluate the magnitude of the housing problem and the relative success of efforts to meet it. It is a program which, under Government leadership, will bring real and lasting benefits to all those interested in housing—the consumer, as well as industry, labor, local governments, and the Federal Government.
VIII. FARM HOUSING
Your committee regards the farm housing title of the bill as essential in dealing with the phases of the national housing problem covered in this bill. Heretofore, farm housing has been largely ignored both in our housing and our agricultural programs. It has been treated as a byproduct of efforts to increase production, improve the soil, provide power, or as a mere supplement to town-and-city-housing programs. The result has been, as all of the facts before your committee indicate, that the quality of farm housing as a whole is considerably below the standards of nonfarm housing:
Your committee is aware that the higher level of agricultural income in the past several years has raised the standard of living on the farm, and that a considerable amount of home improvement has resulted. However, despite this relatively improved financial position for farming as a whole, a large proportion of our farm families is still unable to obtain adequate housing. The committee is informed that even in 1947 more than 2,000,000 farm families produced farm products valued at less than $1,500. It seems evident that most of these farm families would not be able to improve their housing conditions without financial assistance along the lines provided for in this title of the bill.
In 1947, also, 19 percent of our farm housing was in need of major repairs, as compared to 8 percent in the case of nonfarm housing. Overcrowding, which is usually associated with cities, was proportionately twice as prevalent in farm housing as in nonfarm housing. Only 1 out of 5 farm dwelling units had both private bath and flush toilet compared to 73 percent of nonfarm housing. Two-thirds of our farm dwellings lacked running water. Only 3 out of 5 had electric lights.
Improvement of farm housing standards is essential to a sound and secure rural economy, and to attract and maintain on the land a productive type of person.
One reason that farm housing problems, as such, have received less attention thus far than those of urban areas is the peculiar and specialized nature of farm housing. The farm home must be considered as part of the income-producing property and plant from which the farm family derives its livelihood. Measures designed to serve nonfarm housing needs are therefore not adaptable to meet the different basic conditions with respect to farm housing needs.
The farm housing program provided for in the bill, while small in relation to the need, will make possible a significant start in the improvement of farm housing. At the same time it will provide positive experience through which this approach can be progressively developed and improved. In recognition of the particular considerations which surround the farm housing problem, title IV has been designed to meet the three major types of farm housing situations, and its administration has been placed under the Department of Agriculture, where it can be appropriately related to other farm services and programs, in particular to the farm rehabilitation programs of the Farmers Home Administration.
The three types of assistance provided under the bill are:
1. For owners of self-sustaining farms who are unable to obtain from other sources the financing needed to provide adequate housing for themselves or their workers, or for other farm-building improvements, loans are provided with terms up to 33 years and at not more than 4-percent interest. Such loans may be secured by the farmers' equity in the farms.
2. For owners of farms not self-sustaining at the time but which offer reasonable prospects that they can be made self-sustaining, by improved farm practices or by farm er la gement or development, loans of a similar type are provided, with annual contributions available as a supplement where needed for a period of not more than 10 years.
3. The third type of assistance proposed relates to farms that offer no practical prospect of being made self-sustaining. Small loans, and a limited amount in outright grants, are made available for families residing on such farms. The purpose of this assistance is not to provide new or even adequate housing of a permanent nature, but to make it possible for families to make such repairs and necessary improvements to their substandard housing as will furnish them and the rural community at least essential health protection and decent minimum shelter. Such loans and grants are limited in amount and are to be used for such purposes as proper sanitation, a pure water supply, screens, tight roofs, and similar minimum repairs or improvements. Your committee calls attention to the fact that this is the section of the bill which offers a little help to those who unfortunately are now living in slums on farms.
To provide the necessary funds to carry out the above three types of assistance, this title of the bill provides for loans increasing in amount annually through the fourth year to an aggregate of $250,000,000. The amount of annual contributions provided would increase annually over 3 years to reach a yearly authorization at the maximum of $5,000,000, with such contributions to be paid to any beneficiary over a period not to exceed 10 years. These contributions would be limited to a maximum of the annual interest, and one-half of the payment due on principal in any one year.
The bill also provides authority for $12,500,000 in grants for the third part of the program. The maximum grant for any one dwelling or building would be $500. A loan or combination loan and grant is limited to $1,000 with respect to any one farm, dwelling, or building and to a maximum of $2,000 in the aggregate to any one individual.
The bill also provides for technical assistance by the Department of Agriculture in farm-home design and construction, and authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct research directed toward lowering the cost of farm housing and to assemble data and market information in this field.
IX. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Title V of the bill consists of a number of miscellaneous provisions, some of which are of substantive importance, and some of which are technical.
AMENDMENT OF NATIONAL BANKING ACT Under provisions contained in titles I and II of the bill, a local public agency or a public housing agency may, in connection with a slum clearance or low-rent housing project, borrow moneys from private investors on short-term notes, instead of securing an advance from the Federal Government under its loan contract. Such short-term notes when issued may, under the bill, be secured by an unconditional agreement by the Federal Government to advance to the public agency under its loan contract moneys sufficient to meet the principal and interest at maturity of such short-term notes and required to be used for this purpose. În view of the special security features which would thus attach to these notes, section 502 (a) would authorize national banks and to the extent permitted by State law) State member banks of the Federal Reserve System to purchase or underwrite such notes (having a maturity of not more than 18 months) without regard to present legal restrictions limiting transactions to a fixed percentage of the bank's capital and surplus. Similar authority is extended by this section with respect to certain long-term bonds of local public housing agencies to which special security features would attach in accordance with this bill under annual contributions contracts between the Federal Government and the local public agencies. This authority would be consistent with the present provisions of law which permit such banks to underwrite and deal in obligations of the United States Government, general obligations of any State or of any political subdivision thereof, and obligations issued under authority of the Federal Farm Loan Act or by the Federal home loan banks.
The amendment to paragraph 7 of section 5136 of the Revised Statutes, made by subsection (a) of section 502, relates to short-term obligations only when they are classified as "investment securities.'
The Treasury Department, however, believes that some issues of these short-term notes may not have the qualifications of “investment securities” but would rather partake of the nature of a loan. Therefore, it is necessary also to amend section 5200 of the Revised Statutes which prescribes the same limitations for the purchase of loans as are prescribed by section 5136 for the purchase of investment securities. This is done by section 502 (b) of the bill.
AMENDMENT OF GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR
1948 AND 1949
The Government Corporations Appropriation Acts for 1948 and for 1949 included provisos to the effect that no payments of annual contributions should be made which were occasioned by payments in lieu of taxes in excess of amounts originally contracted for. This restriction had the effect of prohibiting payments in lieu of taxes equal to 10 percent of shelter rents, as had previously authorized by PHA, and as will be authorized in the future under subsection 205 (b) of this bill. These provisos of the two appropriation acts are therefore repealed as of the beginning of the fiscal years for which they apply, thus validating any payments already made with the approval of PHA and in other cases permitting payments in lieu of taxes on the restricted basis (generally 5 percent of shelter rents) authorized for these 2 years in subsection 205 (b).
The section would also repeal a proviso in the Government Corporations Appropriation Act for 1949 which limits the number of employees of the Public Housing Administration above grades CAF10 and P-3 to not exceeding 20 percent of the total number of such employees. The committee believes that this limitation is unduly restrictive and that it will prove especially detrimental during the remainder of the fiscal year to efficient operations in view of the Public Housing Administration's increased responsibilities under this bill to furnish financial and technical aid to hundreds of local public agencies and to perform important supervisory activities with respect to those agencies. Similar considerations led the Committee on Appropriations to omit this personnel limitation from the provisions governing the Public Housing Administration contained in the independent offices appropriation bill for 1950, and the House last month passed that appropriation bill without such a limitation.
CENSUS OF HOUSING
The hearings on H. R. 4009 made it clear to your committee that there is an urgent need for comprehensive up-to-date information on our housing inventory which would throw light on the size and quality of the housing supply and the way in which this supply is currently being utilized. The committee was deeply impressed with the unanimity of favorable opinion of the witnesses, regardless of their views on other aspects of the bill, with regard to the necessity for enacting section 507. This section would give the Bureau of the Census the authority to conduct a census of housing in each of the 48 States and the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska in 1950 and decennially thereafter. This census would obtain information concerning the number, characteristics, quality, and geographic distribution of all dwelling units in the United States and the Territories. The Bureau of the Census would also be granted the authority to assemble supplemental statistics in advance of or after the taking of such housing census as it feels necessary to the completion of the project.
In recommending a decennial census of housing, the committee does not in any way wish to minimize the value which is to be obtained from more frequent sample studies such as the one taken in April 1947. This sample study of the housing situation made it possible to identify the over-all dimensions of the present housing problem. It has also driven home to this committee the shortcomings of our present supply of housing in terms of its adequacy in coping with the needs of an important part of our population, namely, families of low and moderate incomes.
Helpful as this sample study has been, there are still many gaps in our knowledge which can only be filled by a complete census of housing. Thus, it is not possible through sample studies to obtain detailed housing data on a locality basis. The most recent detailed locality information now available was provided in the 1940 Census of Housing. In view of the tremendous geographic shifts in population which have occurred since 1940, as well as the vast improvement in our general economic situation since that time, this information is in the main seriously outdated. It is imperative, therefore, that steps be taken to get necessary locality information on a current basis. Such current information will be invaluable, particularly to localities participating in programs under titles I and II of the bill.
Entirely apart from its value to those directly concerned with the housing problems of the Nation, a census of housing is of tremendous assistance to the large segment of American business and industry which depends upon housing and home building for part or all of the outlet for its goods and services. Information obtained in the census of housing will, of course, also be of tremendous assistance to Federal, State, and local officials charged with the responsibility of dealing with problems of housing, building construction, social welfare, city planning, urban redevelopment, and related activities.
Despite this widespread interest in housing information, there is now no specific authority for the taking of a census of housing in 1950 or in subsequent census years. Your committee calls attention to the paramount importance for completion by the Congress of early action on the necessary authorization for a census of housing. Such early legislative action is necessary to permit essential advance planning and organization, without which the quality of the 1950 census of housing would be impaired. This is especially true since planning has already started for the 1950 population census, and since the housing census is to be taken at the same time and by the same staff.
Considerations similar to the foregoing led the House, on May 9, to pass H. R. 2203, a bill to provide for a housing census in 1950. However, your committee believes that the census provisions in this bill (sec. 507) should be enacted by the House as a part of this bill.
These provisions are very similar to those of the bill already passed by the House except that this bill provides for a housing census as part of each decennial census hereafter. The census provisions of this bill are identical with those in S. 1070 as passed by the Senate, and this committee is convinced that these somewhat broader provisions should be adopted.
AMENDMENTS CONCERNING THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PROPOSED BY
Your committee recommends the enactment of two new sections to be added to title V of the bill which it has found to be necessary if the District of Columbia is to be able to obtain the benefits provided