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A new program to provide housing for all income
With strong local leadership, with earnest and continuing federal cooperation, with a recognition that we have only begun to tap the enormous energies of private enterprise in meeting public problems, we can have a rebirth and renewal of America's cities. We can restore them as safe and pleasant places to live, and as what they should be · places that lift the spirit and cap the glory of our civilization
"The job of organizing for this kind of housing breakthrough is the most complex job I've ever undertaken ... It is even more complex than our Nation's space program
because our housing program, to succeed, must marshal not only our most advanced and ingenious technology, but so many diverse elements : governments at every level, private industry and business large and small, labor unions, financial institutions, voluntary organizations, and the ambition and personal initiative of every citizen."
"We must put housing on the front burner. We must focus our housing programs on housing for poor people. We believe in giving local authorities the tools and the money to get the job done. The States must have an expanded role, especially in getting sites, providing for low-income housing, and in breaking down the barriers of codes and zoning. We need simpler programs, a speed-up in processing, and more initiative from Federal agencies. We seek the utmost cooperation from builders, developers, and private industry.
National Commission on
Urban Problems (Douglas
"Private enterprise can best provide the muscle, the talent and the major effort when there are opportunities to earn reasonable profits and to function at maximum efficiency.
"Private enterprise has demonstrated it can build subsidized housing with speed, efficiency and economies. It must participate fully, along with non-profit sponsors and eligible public agencies, in the development of such housing."
The national housing goal of "a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family" is an accurate statement of this country's needs. But the facts are that today there are still 20 million Americans living in substandard housing.
New family formations and demolition of existing housing generate a need for 2,100,000 units per year, but last year we were able to produce only 1,548,000 units.
Congress has stated that to overcome this situation and to meet our expanding housing needs we will have to construct 26,000,000 units in the next ten years. But, at present rates of production we will fall more than 10 million units short of our housing needs.
Several factors contribute to the present inability to meet this goal:
Limited availability and high cost of land,
Obsolete housing and building codes.
Zoning and restrictive land use patterns.
HUD processing delays.
Patterns of discrimination.
Housing production capability.
Nevertheless, in the face of these constraints, housing represents the largest undeveloped market today. Filling this market could have as great an impact as the development of the railroads in the last century or the growth of the electronics industry in this century.
BREAKTHROUGH is aimed at developing an approach to meet the nation's housing needs.
If we can mobilize our resources effectively, we have the capability to increase production of housing and control its cost.