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long period of years has never taken care of. I think that is our immediate problem.
Mr. DOLLINGER. I do not think any of us want to see the Government take over and eliminate private industry, but I think as an emergency measure we should do something if we are going to build housing in America.
Mr. Gray. Once you start going in that direction, I am fearful what may be the ultimate result. may be absolutely wrong, in that point of view, but that is my point of view.
Mr. DOLLINGER. I am just asking the question because I want to satisfy myself in my own mind that we have to do something to get rid of this bottleneck.
Mr. GRAY. I think something has to be done, but I am afraid I cannot agree with the question you asked in that respect.
Mr. DOLLINGER. That was only a question to get your answer, Mr. Gray.
Mr. GRAY. Yes.
Mr. MITCHELL. Mr. Gray, you mentioned the economy house, and set 700 square feet as too low a minimum. I was reminded that when Mr. Foley was here Mrs. Woodhouse questioned him on a proposed model publicized by his organization, which had in it only 650 square feet. That certainly indicates to me that economy house ballyhoo was to sell a house which economized at the cost of quality.
Mr. GRAY. That is right.
Mr. MITCHELL. And from that point on, I tried to elicit from Mr. Foley some contribution which the many so-called economy house conferences over the country had made to the housing program, without any success and I wonder if you have a comment to make on the meaning of those economy house conferences across the country. Has there been any definite contribution to the housing program made by those conferences ?
Mr. GRAY. I claim not. I claim there has not been a thing, because the profit element is the main feature behind all of it, and when I say the profit element, do not misunderstand me to mean that I am against a legitimate profit being earned by all factors in the industry, but when you come to do it at the expense of our society, and give them something that is going to create more slums instead of eradicate them, I do not agree. Let us take for instance, Mr. Levitt. He has been advertised as having quite a comprehensive housing and in the industry, even though he employs nonunion men, he perhaps did help out. But I contend that the people who are buying his houses, that if and when the housing market levels off, and they can get better, they are just going to figure that they merely paid the cheapest rent they could get under these conditions in order to get shelter, and that they are going to move out just as soon as they can get more satisfactory ħousing at less cost, and forget about their mortgage, and the taxpayer is going to be taken into camp, going in through the Federal Housing Administration loan and coming out on a depressed real-estate market when the values of those houses will be greatly depressed.
When I made that statement at a labor round table of Life magazine, at the final round table they produced three of their own investigators who went out to Levitt Town, interviewed 33 of the people who had purchased Levitt houses, and they got the same answer that I had predicted. But they did not publish that in the article that they published on January 31, and when I asked Mr. Davenport, the editor of Life, if I could purchase a transcript of what was said at that hearing, he said, “Oh, no, that is our private property.” I just cite that to show you what is going on, and instead of reporters or publications bringing out the facts they sometimes only tell a part of them, which is worse and more misleading to the public than an outright lie.
Mr. MITCHELL. And the long queue of prospective purchasers who go out to these houses, hoping to get some sort of shelter, are going there not because that house meets their needs, but because of their vital need for housing.
Mr. Gray. It is the only possibility they have of getting shelter.
Mr. MITCHELL. You pointed out in your statement the need for a lower middle-income housing, and you also referred to the 20-percent gap which this bill sets up, where no one will offer any hope to the family. I am wondering, in view of your attitude toward the legislation, whether you would suggest that this hearing be extended so that the middle-income-group problem could be considered, so that it could be added to this bill before the committee at this time.
Mr. GRAY. That would be very pleasing to me if it were possible, and it is in harmony with my ideas on the subject.
Mr. MITCHELL. I wonder what your thought is in regard to the possibility of taking action on a separate bill which goes to that problem? Presumably, we will not finish this bill for some time, at least it will be some time before action can be taken in the House. Drawing on your background knowledge of the legislative process here, do you think there is much prospect of acting on that segment in this session?
Mr. Gray. Well, I would rather see it incorporated in this bill than in a separate bill, even if it did take more time, because there is always the danger of other amendments being offered by other interests, which may have some value to them, and splitting up and dividing this overall housing program, and I would like to see it confined and concentrated to avoid duplication of effort, additional cost to the Government, and perhaps less service to the public. Mr. MITCHELL. Thank
ou. The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Gray, did I understand you to say you did not think any economies could be effected by the mass production of homes! That the cost per unit would be the same?
Mr. Gray. Oh, no, sir, I did not. I was speaking on the so-called proposed economies; it was going to be economized by cutting out certain facilities which I claim today are necessary and which the purchaser of the so-called economy house would then have to go out and make the additional outlay. The inevitable result would be there would be no economy at all. And if you are going to economize by cutting down the space below what is already on the market as housing, I think you are going in the wrong direction.
Mr. Hays. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Hays. I am very glad to see notice taken by your group, Mr. Gray, of the problem of housing for farm workers. I do not know that it would help to elaborate upon the statements you have made here, but I think we might all agree that beginning is being made, under this bill, in this whole field of farm housing and the public should be somewhat tolerant of any deficiency in that respect until we can get something under way. It is long delayed and I just want to express my gratification at your taking notice of it.
Mr. Gray. We are very much interested in that problem, Congressman Hays.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there further questions?
Mr. COLE. Mr. Gray, I wonder how it is that you have selected the farm laborers for special consideration in this bill.
Mr. GRAY. Why it is?
Mr. Gray. Well, we do not have to go a great distance right from this Nation's Capitol to see some of the types of housing that farm workers have to live in. Probably one of your most progressive counties in the United States is Montgomery County, and you can go out there and see some of the conditions those farm laborers live under, with houses where there are openings in the exterior walls—not windows—but in the wall structure, and the wind blows through.
Mr. COLE. Perhaps you misunderstood me. I wonder why you specifically included only farm labor and why you did not include all labor.
Mr. GRAY. Well, we figure that the other provisions of the bill take care of the other type of labor.
Mr. COLE. How?
Mr. GRAY. Well, it provides for public housing at rental cost, and it does not say that that public housing cannot be built adjacent to farm communities. I went on the assumption that that is a fact. But your farm housing is right on the farms and adjacent to them.
Mr. COLE. Well, Mr. Gray, you realize, do you not, that there will be I do not know how many thousands, but perhaps millions, of laborers who will not be touched by any segment of the public-housing feature of this bill?
Mr. Gray. That is unquestionably so.
Mr. Gray. Well, does this bill not provide a certain type of Federal public housing—it is restricted, it is true, to a certain number of years—that those people have the possibility of obtaining shelter in, that they do not have today?
It is not a cure-all, but it certainly holds out some hope.
Mr. COLE. Let me give you the type of people that I have in mind. I drove home for Easter and went over Highway 40. On that highway I saw many houses which were substandard, in the mining areas, for instance. Do you think those people will be helped by this publichousing feature?
Mr. Gray. I do not see what would restrict a public housing project from being erected in that community, any more than Miami, Chicago, or any other city. Is there anything in this bill that would prohibit
that those communities get together, in the event this bill is enacted into law, and take advantage of its provisions ?
Mr. COLE. There is nothing to prohibit them, but do you think it can be done in those small communities?
Mr. Gray. I think so, yes.
Mr. COLE. Do you think it could be done in a community of 3,000 or 4,000 ?
Mr. GRAY. I do not see why it could not be done on a limited scale. Mr. COLE. You think it could be accomplished?
Mr. Gray. Yes, I really do. I think you could build small projects in that community of two-story walk-up apartments, eliminating the necessity for elevator service, and so forth, under the provisions of this bill, if the community wanted to take advantage of it.
Mr. Cole. Then you do not consider this an urban slum-clearance program?
Mr. Gray. Not restricted to that exclusively, no, I do not.
Mr. COLE. And you do consider it, then, a public-housing program for all people of the low-income class in America ?
Mr. GRAY. That is what I understand.
Mr. COLE. And you think we shall, as quickly as possible, provide for public housing
for all low-income people in America ? Mr. GRAY. Yes, I do.
Mr. COLE. Then are we not providing Government housing for our people? Let me put it that way. Are we not then providing Government housing for our people?
Mr. GRAY. I would not say that under this bill you are proving it alone by the Government.
Mr. ČOLE. Not under this bill, sir? I am asking you about where we are going under the proposal.
Mr. GRAY. Well, I do not know where the line will be drawn as to where we stop. We are concerned not alone with our immediate needs, but with needs that have accumulated over a long period of years.
Mr. COLE. Yes, and I am concerned, and you are too, I am sure your organization is about where we are going in the future, as well as where we have been in the past.
Mr. GRAY. That is quite correct.
Mr. COLE. Do you envision, then, that we will, in this country, have sufficient housing, Government housing, or public housing, for all lowincome people?
Mr. GRAY. I do not think that is going to be possible, even under the provisions of this bill.
Mr. COLE. I know under the provisions of this bill it will take 42 years to house one-sixth of those people.
Mr. GRAY. But it is a step in the right direction, I think, for granting a large measure of relief which has been delayed altogether too long.
Mr. COLE. And that measure of relief will be granted in the large cities.
Mr. GRAY. Oh, I do not know.
Mr. GRAY. I do not know what you refer to as large cities. Take cities anywhere from 40,000 up. If you get into a small community of
3,000 people, as you say, I do not think multiple dwellings on a large scale are necessary in a community of that kind.
Mr. COLE. No, but the people are living in hotels.
Mr. GRAY. That is correct; you have got to go back to the individual house. Now that may be a section where prefabricated perhaps would be the most economic answer to the question.
Mr. COLE. The point I am making is this, Mr. Gray. We said we have so much money to appropriate for these needs. This is, so far as I know, the only legislation in which we say to the people of America "First come, first served. If you grab first, you will get it. If you do not grab first, you will not get it.”.
In any other Federal aid, or any other grants-in-aid which this Government has made for the needy, for assistance to the people of America, we say we have so much money to be granted to the States and to be allocated to the States on the basis of how much money we have. We can go as far as we can for the people in those States, highways, grants-in-aid through the welfare fund, and so forth. All of those are done that way. But in this law what do we say? We say, “If you get here first, you are going to get it, and the fellow who does not get here first is not going to get it.” Is that now what we are doing?
Mr. GRAY. Well, I do not quite agree with you on that Congressman. Regardless of how much money you would appropriate, you cannot clean up this housing situation overnight.
Mr. COLE. That is right.
Mr. Gray. So, of necessity, to my way of thinking, it has to be a sort of a first-come, first-served proposition. But I do claim that if there is proper administration of it, if proper discretion is used, there can be a much more equitable way of assigning what available houses under this plan do become available, to the people who need them most.
Mr. COLE. Let me ask you now what your organization is doing to cooperate with the various cities and municipalities in meeting the problem of slums.
Mr. Gray. Well, in practically every city where you have a slum area, our people have cooperated with every public agency which has been interested in trying to get the slum question cleared up.
Mr. COLE. Do you have committees set up for that purpose in your organization?
Mr. GRAY. Yes, we have. We generally do not set up our own committee, but do direct membership in these public civic bodies interested in that question, and they participate and take part in those deliberations.
Mr. COLE. Now you mentioned the low-income group and the middle-income group. Why are we not considering legislation here to help the lowest-income group?
Mr. Gray. Well, I am not adverse to doing that, but I directed my remarks toward this bill, and what I considered immediate problems.
Mr. COLE. I realize that, but I am just saying that I want to point out the problem that we are doing nothing, in this legislation, for the lowest-income group.
Mr. GRAY. Well, I cannot agree with that. You have, in the old Federal Public Housing Act, many of these projects around the country which have been designed to take care of that low-income group. I have seen it done in Miami. I have seen it done in Chicago. Those people have had housing made available to them.