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Mrs. WOODHOUSE. In other words, should you not take into consideration, to be fair, all the economic changes that have taken place in England since the war? I am just a little tired of people coming in and constantly comparing us to France and England, and not making any constructive suggestions Everything you say here may be true. I am not at present arguing that. But what should we do from a constructive standpoint? How do you suggest looking after a very mobile population? A young person buys a home, for example, and gets an offer of a better job, and he moves, and very often sells at a loss. What is the industry doing to constructively take care of such situations? What is the industry doing constructively to reduce costs? People are paying very much, too much, for houses now in relation to their income. You criticize the research program, and yet why is the housing industry
Mr. BODFISH. Of course, I do not want to engage in an argument, but I do not think that is a true statement. I say that respectfully.
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. We are building houses very much the same as we always did.
Mr. BODFISH. You seriously say we are building houses as we did a hundred years ago?
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. Very much the same; yes, sir. I am living in a house that was built in 1726, and it is very, very well built, and there is not too much difference in construction. I am not talking about electric wiring, plumbing, and so forth. I am talking about the house itself.
Mr. Bodfish. What is there to a house but electric wiring, plumbing, windows, floors, and so forth? Of course, a wall is still a wall.
Mr. MULTER. But the floors in the house Mrs. Woodhouse referred to will outlast all of us.
Mr. BODFISH. We build floors very much differently now.
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. What should we do? How can we improve our housing situation? I am not satisfied with it.
Mr. BODFISH. I think the best thing we can do is to keep building a million houses a year.
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. I agree with you, and how are you going to get the people to pay for them?
Mr. BODFISH. The people can pay for them.
Mr. BODFISH. I think they can. Take a GI who buys a $10,000 house. It is costing him less than $60 a month to carry his interest and his principal payments.
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. A house for $10,000 is too small for a GI with two children.
Mr. BODFISH. There must be something wrong with the building codes in your community.
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. Oh, no; I think we get the same reports from other areas of the country.
Mr. Bopfish. How can anyone build a house that is not going to stand up? You can go out along suburban areas, where there are no restrictions, and build houses that do not stand up. But I think the bulk of the houses that are being built, with our Building Codes, will stand up. I am not a builder, but I have seen thousands of houses around the country. Of course, building costs are higher, but that
represents labor and wages. We certainly do not want to change our whole wage structure in order to get a different cost for the house. The houses are not costing, in proportion; any more than clothing or anything else.
Mr. DEANE. Mr. Bodfish, I recall with appreciation that my home was built with the aid of a building and loan association, but I also recall that the percentage amount which people can borrow now—and I am not speaking of GI's
Mr. BODFISH. Well, GI's are getting 100-percent financing, and we do not hesitate to give 75-percent financing on small homes. I think peope ought to save $1,000 or $1,500 before they buy a home, as a rule.
Mr. DEANE. I am afraid that few men in the small-income bracket can assemble
such balance. Mr. BUCHANAN. I notice in the record of the testimony before this committee, on April 27, a letter from the executive vice president of the National Association of Real Estate Boards dated February 2, 1949, to Mr. Reuther. He is quoting here from his recent trip to England. I will quote from the letter.
This is a letter from the executive vice president of the NAREB: Recently, in England, I had occasion to see some of the work of what they call the housing societies, which are mutuals or cooperatives, and they are making good progress. These are private enterprise in character, and now represent about the best housing being built there. Government housing is not so good, and it is results that I am interested in.
Mr. O'HARA. Mr. Chairman. Mr. BODFISH. The point being that there is housing other than municipal housing being built in substantial amount.
Mr. BUCHANAN. According to the letter of the executive vice president of the National Association of Real Estate Boards dated February 2, 1949, and this is a letter over his signature. This is a copy of the letter read into the record.
Mr. BODFISH. Well, Mr. Buchanan, the question of how much municipal and private enterprise housing there is in England is not a matter of opinion and conjecture; it is a matter of official figures. I have the figures here if I can get my hand on them and I can put them in the record.
Mr. BUCHANAN. We will be pleased to have them in the record, but I just wanted to mention this statement which is in contradiction with your statement.
Mr. KUNKEL. Mr. Chairman, may Mr. Bodfish have permission to put in the figures referred to?
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection.
Trends in permanent housing in England and Wales I. TENDERS APPROVED AND LICENSES ISSUED FOR PERMANENT HOUSING
1945 1946. 1947 1948
61, 438 235, 222 116, 406
34, 674 186, 024
94, 196 125, 827
800 2, 808 1, 322
2, 106 2, 452 3, 871
Trends in permanent housing in England and Wales-Continued I. TENDERS AI'PROVED AND LICENSES ISSUED FOR PERMANENT HOUSING-Con.
Source: Ministry of Health, Housing Return for England and Wales, Dec. 31, 1948, pp. 13, 15.
The committee appointed by the Minister of Health in June 1947, reporting in July 1948, found that in October 1947 the typical local authority house was costing £1,242, or about three and three-fourths times as much as its prewar counterpart built at a cost of £380 in 1938 or 1939. The 1947 house required twice as much labor and one-third more material to build. Housing in Britain, p. 14. Supplement to Home Affair's Survey, pp. 3–19. (Central Office of Information.)
Mr. BUCHANAN. I would like to have permission to put in the record the existing Federal program for the aid of the private housing industry. It is a brief summary of the existing program and the amounts existing for the aid of the private housing industry.
The CHAIRMAN. That may be placed in the record. (The information referred to is as follows:)
EXISTING FEDERAL PROGRAMS FOR THE AID OF THE PRIVATE HOUSING INDUSTRY Federal Housing Administration
Title 1.-FHA insures private lending institutions against losses on unsecured property improvement and repair loans up to 10 percent of the aggregate volume of such loans made by each institution; since 1934, a total of 8,913,320 title-I loans have been made in the amount of $3,422,530,224, of which approximately $880,000,000 were outstanding at end of 1948.
Title II.-FHA insures mortgages on new or existing one-to-four family houses and on new rental housing; since 1934, mortgages totaling $7,047,000,000 have been insured, covering 1,516,000 dwelling units; insurance outstanding at the end of 1918 was $2,923,000,000.
Title 111.–Authorizes Federal National Mortgage Association to purchase mortgages on new houses insured by FHA or guaranteed by the Veterans' Administration, subject to certain conditions; on February 28, 1948, FNMA held $261,520,000 mortgages so purchased and bad outstanding commitments to pur. chase an additional $240,559,000.
Title VI.-FHA insures mortgages on new rental-housing projects, loans to housing manufacturers, construction loans to large-scale site builders and loans to purchase federally-owned war housing (authority to insure mortgages on new one-to-four family houses expired in 1948); since 1941 mortgages and loans totaling $4,648,000,000 have been insured, covering 806,000 dwelling units; insurance outstanding at the end of 1948 was $3,473,000,000. Home Loan Bank Board
Federal Home Loan Bank System.-Through 11 regional Federal Honre Loan Banks, provides source of secondary credit for member institutions, principally savings and loan' associations, which account for approximately one-third of all home-mortgage financing in the United States and which have combined assets of approximately $12,000,000,000 ; since 1932, advances by the Federal Home Loan Banks to their member institutions have totaled $2,699,624,000 and outstanding arivances on February 28, 1919, were $392,468,000.
Federal Sarings and Loan Insurance Corporation.-Insures individual investments in member savings and loan associations up to $5,000; outstanding insurance on June 30, 1948, covered investments of $7,764,000,000 in savings and loan associations with total assets of $9,190,000,000. Veterans Administration
Guarantees loans by private lending institutions to World War II veterans for the purchase, construction, repair, alteration, or improvement of homes ; since November 1944, a total of 1,387,633 GI loans aggregating $7.851,895,205 have been guaranteed, with the amount of the Federal guaranty totaling $3,753,345,729. Reconstruction Finance Corporation
Makes loans for the production of prefabricated houses or prefabricated housing components or for large-scale modernized site construction, under revolving fund authorization of $50,000,000; also participates with private banks in making construction loans to private home builders.
Mr. O'HARA. Mr. Chairman, will this witness return that I may have a chance to examine him?
The CHAIRMAN. I thought we were going to conclude with Mr. Bodfish's testimony. I am not going to cut you off now, but we will have to adjourn in a few minutes. I understand there will be two roll calls on the labor bill.
If any of the members want to interrogate Mr. Bodfish, we will have to conclude it later. We have a large number of witnesses, and I would like to conclude this hearing as soon as possible. We have tentatively decided to return at 2:30 this afternoon if the work on the floor will permit us to come back. Otherwise, we will have to meet at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
Mr. KUNKLE. Did Mr. Bodfish not say yesterday that he was leaving at 12:30?
The CHAIRMAN. Are you leaving?
Mr. BODFISH. To keep my speaking engagement in Chicago this evening, I should leave at 3:30 at the latest.
The CHAIRMAN. We can continue until a roll call is called, then. Mr. O'Hara. Mr. Chairman, may I interrogate the witness, then? The CHAIRMAN. You may interrogate the witness.
Mr. O'HARA. Mr. Bodfish, I have been interested academically in the discussion of affairs in England and Europe, but I am not a member of the House of Parliament or House of Commons. I am from Chicago, and I am more interested in what you said reflecting upon the Chicago Housing Authority. You made the statement that you knew of someone, with an income of $20,000 a year, living in a housing project, a public-housing project, in Chicago.
Mr. BODFISH. That is correct.
Mr. O'Hara. And I appreciate your reason for not wishing to make public the name of an individual. Would you mind giving me the name of that individual personally?
Mr. BopFish. Not in the least. I will be very glad to.
Mr. O'Hara. Do you know of anybody else living in a publichousing project in Chicago who is making more than $5,000 a year!
Mr. BODFISH. There is a list of several hundred of them available at the housing authority. Your city council requested it. They are asking them to get out to let poor people get in.
Mr. O'Hara. And the Chicago Housing Authority is making a sincere attempt to get those people out, Mr. Bodfish.
Mr. Bodfish. Well, they have not gotten many people out yet. I do not want to question their sincerity. Maybe they have not had the tools with which to work. I think if they had wanted to get them out, to be candid about it, they would have gotten them out.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Bodfish, there is no country where the economic condition of the people changes rapidly; is there?
Mr. BODFish. Yes, sir. You see, in England, they do not make any pretense of taking them out on income now. We have one great city in England where half of the city council now lives in a public project.
Mr. O'HARA. Mr. Bodfish, I know you and I have a great deal of respect for you. I think you want to be fair.
Mr. BODFISH. I mean to be.
Mr. O'Hara. You would say that in Chicago Mayor Kennelley and the public officials and our leading citizens are all cooperating together to solve this housing problem; would you not?
Mr. BODFISH. I think everybody is doing their level best as they
Mr. O'HARA. And we are at the present time studying the code with a thought of making it more practical and workable; is that right?
Mr. BODFISH. We finished our code over a year ago, but we cannot enact it.
Mr. O'HARA. And a great deal of thought and effort is being put in that matter by the mayor, the aldermen, and the other people of Chicago.
Mr. BODFISH. That is right.
Mr. O'HARA. At the present time there are some occupants in these public housing projects in Chicago who, because of changed economic conditions, are probably making now more than they should as residents of a public housing project.
Mr. BODFISH. Yes, sir.
Mr. O'HARA. And they are all trying their best to meet that situation, and to get out of those houses the people who can afford to go into other housing if they can find it. Is that about the situation?
Mr. BODFISH. Well, certainly, the mayor feels that the situation should be remedied, and feels so strongly. It is a very difficult one to remedy with the present commission he has—and I am not speaking for him in which he is contemplating some improvements, as you know. I think everybody is working on it, but it is a difficult problem.
Mr. O'HARA. Has the name of this person having an income of $20,000 and residence in a public housing project been publicized ?
Mr. BODFISH. In connection with where he lives?
Mr. Bodfish. Not to my knowledge. It is a very widely publicized name otherwise.
Mr. O'HARA. You will furnish it to me!