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FEDERAL LAWS AUTHORIZING ASSISTANCE TO URBAN RENEWAL
Title I of the Housing Act of 1949, as amended, Public Law 171, 81st Congress, approved July 15, 1949, is the principal Federal law authorizing Federal assistance to slum clearance and urban renewal. As originally enacted, title I authorized Federal aid to the clearance and redevelopment of slums. The Housing Act of 1954, Public Law 560, 83rd Congress, approved August 2, 1954, broadened the provisions of title I to authorize Federal assistance to the prevention of the spread of slums and urban blight through the rehabilitation and conservation of blighted and deteriorating areas, in addition to the clearance and redevelopment of slums.
The Housing Act of 1956, Public Law 1020, 84th Congress, approved August 7, 1956, again liberalized title I of the Housing Act of 1949 in several respects. These included, among others, the addition of provisions to title I authorizing relocation payments to individuals, families and business concerns for moving expenses and losses of property resulting from their displacement by an urban renewal project, and the making of Federal advances for the preparation of "General Neighborhood Renewal Plans". The Housing Act of 1957, Public Law 104, 85th Congress, approved July 12, 1957, amended title I to increase the capital grant authorization and to provide a new alternative capital grant formula. Several miscellaneous amendments were also made in title I by the Housing Act of 1957.
The Housing Act of 1959, Public Law 86-372, approved September 23, 1959, again increased the authorization in title I of the Housing Act of 1949 for Federal financial assistance to urban renewal and enacted new provisions for Federal grants to "Community Renewal Programs". The limits on the amounts of relocation payments were increased and relocation payments were authorized to be made when displacement from an urban renewal area results from acquisition of real property by the urban renewal agency or any other public body in an urban renewal area, from code enforcement in connection with an urban renewal project, or programs of voluntary repair and rehabilitation in accordance with an urban renewal plan. A number of other changes were made in the law by the 1959 Act.
Title I was aga in amended by the Housing Act of 1961, Public Law 87-70, approved June 30, 1961, to increase the authorization for Federal grants by $2 billion, and to increase from two-thirds to three-fourths the Federal contribution to urban renewal where the municipality has a population of 50,000 or less (150,000 or less where a municipality is an economically distressed area). Among other amendments to title I made by the 1961 Act, local urban renewal agencies were authorized to pool their surplus local grant-in-aid credits between projects on the two-thirds
basis and projects on a three-fourths basis. The local urban renewal agencies were also authorized to carry out rehabilitation demonstrations in urban renewal areas.
The Housing Act of 1964, Public Law 88-560, approved September 2, 1964, increased the authorized amount of Federal grants to $4,725 million (an increase of $725 million). Other amendments to title I included provisions to encourage more intensive efforts in code enforcement under the urban renewal program, expansion of relocation assistance provisions, and authorization of air-rights projects for the purpose of providing sites for low or moderate income housing and related facilities and uses.
The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1965, Public Law 89-117, approved August 10, 1965, provided for annual increases through July 1, 1968, aggregating $2.9 billion in the authorization for Federal grants for urban renewal and related activities. New grant programs were instituted to assist cities, other municipalities and counties in financing the cost of demolishing structures which are unsound or unfit for human habitation and in carrying out programs of concentrated code enforcement in deteriorated or deteriorating areas. The Act also provided for Federal rehabilitation grants to individuals or families who own and occupy a structure in an urban renewal or a code enforcement area. The relocation payment provisions were further liberalized.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development Act, Public Law 89-174, approved September 9, 1965, effective November 9, 1965, established the Department of Housing and Urban Development and placed all urban renewal functions in the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
The Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966, Public Law 89-754, approved November 3, 1966, provided a separate authorization of $250 million for grants for urban renewal projects which are part of approved comprehensive city demonstration programs (model cities programs). The 1966 Act provided that the preservation of historic structures may be included as parts of urban renewal projects. A provision was added to the urban renewal law requiring the redevelopment of an urban renewal area, unless it is for predominantly nonresidential uses, to provide a substantial number of units of standard housing of low and moderate cost and to result in marked progress in serving the poor and disadvantaged people living in slums and blighted areas. The 1966 Act authorized the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to count as a local grant-in-aid credit, 25 percent of local expenditures, or $3.5 million, whichever is less, for a publicly owned facility which was begun not earlier than three years prior to enactment of the 1966 Act. The facility must be used for purposes specified in the 1966 Act, be in or near the urban renewal project, contribute materially to the objectives of the urban renewal plan, and be otherwise ineligible as a local grant-in-aid.
The 1966 Act permitted air rights sites in urban renewal areas to be used for industrial development if determined to be unsuitable for use for low- and moderate-income housing, and the cost of construction of foundations and platforms for air rights industrial sites to be counted as part of gross project cost. It was provided that costs incurred by universities and hospitals in connection with urban renewal projects to the extent such expenditures are otherwise eligible shall be deemed eligible as local grant-in-aid credit if the facilities, land, buildings, or structures involved by the expenditures are located within one mile of the urban renewal project.
The Act of May 25, 1967, Public Law 90-19, changed the nomenclature in the urban renewal and related laws to correct the names of officials and agencies so they conform to the titles and names in the law which establish the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
A basic new approach to urban renewal procedures was initiated by the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968. This is designed to facilitate more rapid rehabilitation and redevelopment of blighted areas. The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is authorized to provide financial assistance for neighborhood development programs under which urban renewal undertakings and activities in one or more urban renewal areas are planned and carried out on the basis of annual increments. Financing is based on the amount of loan and grant funds needed to carry out the activities planned during a 12-month period.
The authorization for urban renewal grants was increased by the 1968 Act by $1.4 billion effective July 1, 1969. In addition, the authorization for urban renewal grants for projects in model cities areas was raised by $350 million.
The limit on the amount of a rehabilitation grant to a low-income homeowner was increased in 1968 from $1,500 to $3,000, and the grant was made available for rehabilitation of real property in addition to the dwelling itself. Also, rehabilitation grants were made available for certain blighted areas outside of urban renewal and code enforcement areas where the areas are definitely planned for rehabilitation or code enforcement within a reasonable time.
Air rights urban renewal projects, and the construction of necessary foundations and platforms in any type project are authorized by the 1968 Act for the development of educational facilities if the area is unsuitable for low or moderate income housing purposes.
Contracts for grants aggregating up to $15 million a year are authorized by the 1968 Act to be made with cities or counties to assist them in taking interim steps to alleviate harmful conditions in slum or blighted areas planned for substantial renewal or code enforcement in the near future, but which need some immediate public