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ATLANTA, Ga., April 13, 1919. Paul V. BETTERS,
United States Conference of Mayors: The city of Atlanta is vitally interested in the passage of a comprehensive housing and slum-clearance bill. There is still great need for housing in the low-income class both white and colored. Also there are still large slum areas which need clearance in the central and semicentral portion of the city. There are thousands of applications for the housing units we now have which cannot be filled. Quite a number of apartment buildings have been built in Atlanta under FHA loans, but they are too far out in the suburbs to serve our working people and those of moderate income. Also the rents are completely above the low-income class. The city of Atlanta has great need for an additional program of slum clearance and low-cost housing.
WILLIAM B. HARTSFIELD,
Mayor of Atlanta.
Toledo, O110, April 12, 19.9. PAUL V. BETTERS, Executire Director,
United States Conference of Jayors: We cannot too strongly emphasize the importance of legislation assisting cities with the elimination of slums and construction of housing for persons of low income. Today the most valuable areas in Toledo from the standpoint of facility and proximity to the center of activity are occupied by slums which create real problems in law enforcement and health.
MICHAEL V. DISALLE,
Mayor, City of Toledo.
MEMPHIS, TENN., April 12, 1949. PAUL V. BETTERS,
Director, United States Conference of Mayors: Because the central portion of Memphis is traversed by five major bayou systems the adjacent areas invited construction of poorest type of shelter. Most of the so-called housing was provided more than 40 years ago and represents nearly 14,000 units unfit for repair in an area of more than seven square miles. No slums have ever been cleared here except through public improvements and building of five public housing projects. Believe private enterprise would cooperate in redevelopment if slum sites could be made available at reuse values. Memphis needs at least 7,000 low-rent public-housing units and should apply for at least half that number if present legislation is enacted. The existing public housing program of 3,300 units is divided 28 percent for white and 72 percent for Negro occupancy and future programs, based on need, should be apportioned likewise.
WATKIN OVERTON, Mayor, City of Memphis, Tenn.
PROVIDENCE, R. I., April 12. 1949. PAUL V. BETTERS, United States Conference of Mayors,
Washington, D. C. Providence program for slum clearance and redevelopment requires passage of Senate bill 1070 to provide low-rent housing for displaced families of low income. Vital programs for new highways, playgrounds, industrial sites, as well as slum clearance are being delayed by a housing shortage.
DENNIS J. ROBERTS,
Mayor of Providence.
NorFOLK, VA., April 13, 1949. PAUL V. BETTERS,
Erecutive Director, United States Conference of Mayors: Acute shortage exists here respecting housing accommodations at rentals within reach of vast majority of our people. Concern of commandant of Fifth Naval District is indicative of the general situation. Recent survey by commandant discloses 2,347 Navy personnel in Norfolk area who desire to bring their families to this area but who are unable to do so because of housing shortage; 3,077 families of Nary personnel in this area now occupying trailers, rooms, and other inadequate housing.
Estimated minimum need for low-rent public housing 3,000 units. Nineteen hundred and forty housing census revealed 9,000 substandard uits occupied by Negroes, 6,000 substandard units occupied by whites. While there is no later survey available, this situation has certainly not improved. City now plagued with many blighted areas which we hope to eliminate progressively through redevelopment and public-housing projets.
Norfolk's interest in slum clearance and public housing evidenced by recent appropriation of $2.5,000 to the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority for a study, planning, and programing. Low-rent public housing in Norfolk efficiently operated, but grossly inadequate in scope. Administrative heads of health, fire, and police departments and judge of juvenile court report a very high rate of disease, delinquency, and crime in slum areas with correspondingly high servicing costs and very favorable demonstration of effectiveness of public housing. Study made in 1937 of certain slum areas comprising 1 percent of our total area and containing 14 percent of our population showed that the cost of city services in those areas exceeded the tax returns therefrom by $750,000. (ity ritally interested in passage of a comprehensive housing bill embracing public housing and urban redevelopment.
Jayor, Norfolk, Va.
APRIL 14, 1949. Col. PAUL V. BETTERS,
United States Conference of Mayors: City administration of St. Louis urges early and favorable action on Senate bill 1070. Our public housing program originally envisioned 12,000 dwelling units, but only 1,100 have been built. Site has been acquired, ground cleared, and legal obstacles removed for another project to house 550 low-income families; only barrier is lack of Federal funds. Over-all housing situation here still critical. Slum clearance is also mandatory. More than one-third our dwelling units constructed before 1900. City plan commission estimates that our slum and blighted districts cost city $1,000,000 a year. This figure represents difference in cost of various municipal services and tax yield from such district. From both humanitarian and economic viewpoint slums are bad business. Respectfully refer you to my testimony before Joint Congressional Committee on Housing October 24, 1947. What I said then is just as true today.
ALOYS P. KAUFMANY,
Mayor of St. Louis.
CITY OF ST. PAUL, MINX..
April 16, 1919.
Washington, D. C. DEAR COLONEL BETTERS: The housing condition in St. Paul is still acute. I cannot see that there is any improvement, and there are indications that it is getting worse.
The high cost of construction and the lack of proper financing facilities and arrangements have made it practically impossible for a family in the low-income bracket to build or purchase a new home.
There is no rental property available to the low-income group, and families with children have a difficult time in renting any home at any price.
We have hundreds of people living in converted stores and office buildings, and many living in our cheap loop hotels under conditions that are far from desirable. These people are compelled to pay fantastic rentals-as much as $210 a month for a family of seven, including five children, for two little rooms without private toilet facilities.
Our welfare board, on a check of 23 welfare families, is paying an average of $137.50 per month per family for rent alone, to keep them in these cheap hotels.
The quonset huts, which were to provide temporary housing for the returned veteran, are more in demand than ever, and we have a long list of emergency applications from veterans who have no better housing facilities for themselves and families.
We are looking forward to the passage of Federal legislation which will ease the situation by making possible low-rent public housing.
The slum areas are a disgrace to the city, and in many cases are a health and social menace. We had over 4,000 units before the war that were unfit for human habitation. These units have been increased in number, bringing practically no revenue by way of taxation, and costing our city a substantial amount of money to maintain. We can see no way of correcting this situation, other than through the enactment of a slum-clearance program by our Congress.
I do hope that the Eighty-first Congress will give us some help on the matters mentioned herein, and would appreciate being advised by you as to the progress of the housing legislation now pending. Very truly yours,
EDWARD K. DELANEY, JIwyor.
DALLAS, TEX., April 16, 1949. PAUL V. BETTERS, Executive Vice President,
United States Conference of Mayors : Regarding general housing bill, Senate bill 1070, in December 1944 Dallas filed an interim application for 2,800 additional low-rent public housing dwelling units which represent a small portion of present need. Conservative minimum estimate of substandard dwellings now 40,000. It is further estimated that a minimum of 10,000 additional families live under overcrowded conditions, doubling up in single-family dwellings. Greatest housing need in Dallas is for rental units under $50 for families of low-income and modest-income. Reduction of excessive expenditures for municipal services to slum areas and reduction of basic causes of disease, crime, fires, and juvenile delinquency can be effected by participation in proposed program offered in Senate bill 1070.
RODERIC B. THOMAS, City Manager, City of Dallas, Ter.
CITY OF LOUISVILLE, KY.,
April 12, 1959. Mr. PAUL V. BETTERS, Executive Director, United States Conference of Mayors,
Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. BETTERS: The housing situation in Louisville is still very acute for low-income families whose budgets will not permit the payment of rent between $30 and $50 per month without utilities. We have approximately 5,000 applications from veterans for 567 units of temporary veterans' housing. All of these apartments are presently filled. We have 3,000 units of public housing, all of which are filled, and our lists show a backlog of approximately 2,500 applications for public housing. Of these two lists in excess of 500 families have been evicted and are presently living with relatives or friends under dangerously overcrowded conditions, or have received eviction notices and are unable to find a place to move into within their means when the eviction becomes a reality.
Families who are doubled up because they cannot afford to pay rent for such housing as is presently available are conservatively estimated at several thousand. The larger part of these families are ineligible for public housing but are looking for a home to buy or rent as soon as private enterprise can supply it within their means. No actual survey has been made but one is contemplated. But based on the applications for veterans' temporary housing and public housing in which we have actual information as to their incomes, we estimate conservatively that Louisville needs approximately 1,500 units of public housing for whites and Negroes, and several thousand units of housing to be provided by private enterprise for rent at $40 to $75 per month with utilities, and for sale with a small or no down payment at prices from $5,000 to $7,000.
Just prior to the building of our first public-housing project in Louisville in 1935 our planning and zoning commission made a survey of 12 city blocks in a slum area, which were subsequently cleared, and found that police, health, fire, and other city services in that area cost the city $65,000, whereas it collected approximately $14,000 in taxes. Very truly yours,
CHARLES P. FARNSLEY,
Mayor of Louisville.
Mayor D'ALESANDRO. I might also say that the Conference of Mayors supports section 502.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions?
Mr. BUCHANAN. Just one question, Mr. Mayor. You stated the United States Conference of Mayors has gone on record regarding the amendment to the Banking Act. How do you personally feel? Do you believe a wider market would be afforded ?
Mayor D'ALESANDRO. I believe it would be more competitive, and would result in lowered interest.
Mr. BUCHANAX. That is all.
The CHAIRMAN. Did the conference take a position on that question of the flotation of the securities?
Mayor D'ALESANDRO. That is right.
Mr. COLE. Mr. Mayor, I think Baltimore is to be commended for its fine approach to this problem, but I do not believe that most of the people who question some of the methods of approaching the solution of public housing would say that the Baltimore plan is a solution of it. I have not heard anyone say that it is a solution of it. What we believe, Mr. Mayor, is that all cities should do at least that much before coming to Washington to ask for funds, and do additional things locally.
We feel that there is a possibility that it might be too easy to come down here and that other cities should do what you are doing. Do get my point?
Mayor D'ALESANDRO. I agree with you, Congressman, but the enemies of the housing bill are using the Baltimore plan as a substitute for housing.
Mr. COLE. No, sir; I respectfully disagree with you. Some may. Mayor D'ALESANDRO. Some are.
Mr. COLE. But I think those who are really concerned with the problem of slums and slum clearance and redevelopment do not understand that plan as a substitute. Certainly I do not think anybody could possibly feel that it could be a substitute.
One other thing I want to comment on in connection with your testimony is this: I do not want to detract from the fine work the conference of mayors has done, but is it not true that the conference of mayors, generally, approves projects of Government aid and assistance, assisting the cities in arriving at a solution of their problems? By that, I mean is it not easy for them to approve a resolution through which they get their money from the Government rather than locally?
Mayor D'ALESANDRO. Congressman, when I was in Congress, I believed the way you do; but since I became Mayor, and I found out how difficult it is to get any assistance from the States, we have to get it where we can.
Mr. ('OLE. I realize that, and I appreciate your position. I want you to understand that I do appreciate your position. I know it is hard to get it. But the fact that it is hard to get it does not necessarily mean that I believe it should be done that way. You can see our problem here, too.
Mayor D'ALESANDRO. Yes, sir; but I think that if we do not get assistance from the Federal Government it is going to be just too bad, so far as the housing problem is concerned, because with the housing problem goes the health problem.
Mr. COLE. There is one other thing which has disturbed me and which results in one of my great objections to the method in which this legislation approaches the problem, and that is the discrimination between people who are similarly situated. After you have completed your projects in Baltimore, under this bill, under this legislation, you will have I do not know how many thousands of people in Baltimore living in slums, in exactly the same circumstances in which those people lived who have moved into the project, and I doubt whether, within the next 50 or 100 years, you will ever cure that. That is the discrimination which this legislation provides, which disturbs me. Does that enter into your thinking, as to a privileged class?
Mayor D'ALESANDRO. I do not know what you mean by a privileged class.
Mr. COLE. Well, one is privileged in that he lives in a fine home at the expense of the other people who are so similarly situated.
Mr. PATMAX. Is that situation not eased somewhat, though, Congressman, by reason of the fact that there is a turn-over! These people do not necessarily stay in these residential units. They stay in them up to a certain point and then become home owners themselves and move out, and other people move in. Is that not true, Mr. Mayor?
Mayor D'ALESANDRO. That is absolutely true.
Mr. PATMAN. So, it is not just a number of units accommodating a definite number of families for a certain period of time. The situation improves.
Mr. ČOLE. I think that is somewhat true. I do not doubt that it is. But I do not think you will have very favorable consideration of that by the people who are sitting outside these projects and are not able to get into them. They will take that into consideration.
There is one other thing I would like to comment on: In connection with the different methods with which these different projects are handled, I would like to call attention to the Omaha project. There is one housing project out there which, last year, had 164 families, out of 522, whose income was above $2,500. Seventy of those families had an income of between $2,500 and $3,000.
Seventy-three of them had incomes from $3,000 to $1,000.
I understand that that may be a peculiar situation. But it causes us to pause a little bit and causes us to wonder where we are going, because there is such a lack of balance in the situation with reference to the lower-income group, those with an income of under a thousand dollars. That disturbs me, too.
Mayor D'ALESANDRO. Well, in Baltimore, we are eliminating them as fast as we can, those who have higher incomes.
The CHAIRMAX. What would be the capacity of the city to eliminate slums without Federal assistance?