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because it is a good example of what can be done with good maintenance. When we are talking about slum clearance we are talking about maintenance. We are not talking the emotional thing which stirs all of our hearts, when you show the poor little kid who has to be taken out of that slum dwelling and put into a public housing unit. We are talking about physical structures which can and should be maintained provided we have as a first step the enforcement of local sanitation and health codes.
These pictures are pictures which I am sure you have had occasion to see. Here is the slum dwelling, in the alleys. There is a picture immediately adjacent to it, one block away. And here is another picture of the same thing.
They are examples of good maintenance.
They had a project in Atlanta. Atlanta and Savannah had so many public housing units, so many thousand public housing units, they released a report called “Oglethorpe was Right in Savannah, from which I would like to quote one statement, because it is significant in view of the fact that you have undoubtedly seen of Fort DuPont and some of the other public housing units in Washington, with the television aerials on the roof.
Not only will radio outlets be provided for every tenant, but the Authority is looking ahead to the day when television becomes as commonplace as the telephone. Costs of television equipment will be studied so that sets may be installed when practical.
That is an excerpt from “Oglethorpe was Right,” the annual report of the Savannah Public Housing Authority.
With this evidence of actual mandates of the people in opposition to public housing in a half dozen States, evidence of States themselves working out their problems, and further evidence of publichousing units actually standing empty in different sections of the country, there seems to be an over-abundance of evidence to refute the claim that public housing is needed.
We respectfully urge that with this condition existing, this committee consider immediate disposal for private use of the 600,000 public-housing units constructed with Lanham Act funds. Perhaps the receipts from this disposal program could be covered into a special revolving fund which would be earmarked to match with State and local community moneys to help rehabilitate and eradicate their slum areas.
This body already has moved in that direction by providing for the disposal of the Greenbelt towns. Yet today 600,000 units still remain under control of the Public Housing Authority, 4 years after the end of the war, although Congress specifically provided that this housing be disposed of within 2 years after the war; that none of it could be used for low-rent or slum-clearance housing.
An economy move could be effected and the money from the sale of this housing could be employed to a purpose with which no one would find fault.
Mr. Chairman, with your approval, I should like to ask Mr. Gerholz to discuss the bill from the viewpoint of the practical builder.
I am advised that already there are something like 60 bills from different communities, which are seeking to have this housing turned over to those communities. I am also advised that there is a plan in the making which will provide that those units be turned over to the communities at the cost of $1, maintenance cost of $1. That is all Uncle Sam would get out of it, but the communities would maintain them, with the proviso that should the Government need them again for war housing or something like that, it would come back into the Public Housing Authority. And I do not think there would be too much objection on that.
But consider the fact that the present income from those 600,000 units—and they are presently rented, some of them—is something around $30,000,000, and if they were turned over to the communities, they would be turned over and according to this plan would be rehabilitated so that they would be used, and this rehabilitation would not be done with Federal funds. In addition to that, these 600,000 wits would be available for Federal subsidies.
Now if such a plan is conceived and passed by this ('ongress, if such a plan is brought to light, as I am advised it will be, then it provides, in this bill we are talking about, H. R. 4009, that surplus properties, determined to be surplus by this Government, can be turned over to a public housing authority. That means that 600,000 units, although specifically prohibited, by the Lanham Act, and the conditional amendments to the Lanham Act since that time, could then be used for lowrent housing or for slum clearance, which was directly opposed to what the Congress, if my understanding is correct, intended, that this housing would not be used as part of a large scale public housing program or slum-clearance program.
If this plan is adopted, and you do dispose of those units, then it is possible for the moneys from the sale of that housing today to be put into a fund and you will not have to go down into the till, that is already being bludgeoned, to get additional funds to set up the program we are talking about here today for slum elimination.
Slum elimination and slum eradication are predicated upon a good maintenance program and unless that is done, as I believe Nr. Kunkel suggested this morning, if you do not have first a condition such that you have good maintenance through enforcement of your sanitary, health and safety codes, then are you not oing to have a continuous conditions of slums by reason of lack of enforcement of existing codes, which would, if course mean lack of enforcement of the need for maintenance.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to ask Mr. Gerholz, who is chairman of our realtors' Washington committee, to offer his comments, and then following him, Mr. Davis.
Mr. Brown. Mr. Patman, do you have any questions?
Mr. BUCHANAN. On page 6 of your statement, do you mean the $3,000,000,000 which has already been spent on all types of public housing and war housing, is that correct?
Mr. SNYDER. That is correct, sir, I said housing still under the jurisdiction of the Public Housing Administration.
Mr. BUCHANAN. On page 7, your figure relative to debt, for the Bunicipalities. You use 1946 figures. Of course what has happened in 1947 and 1918, due to rising costs, wage increases, and things of that sort, is such that the municipal debt picture is much poorer than you show it to be in 1946.
Mr. SNYDER. I refer you, sir, to the charts. You are referring now to county expenditures, not municipalities.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Yes, the same is true of counties and municipalities.
Mr. SNYDER. On the contrary, the municipal chart will show you that your public debt per capital today is as shown there.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Well, you are aware of the fact that in 1947 and 1948, the figures as of the end of 1946, either for municipalities or county governments, would be quite different, inasmuch as they were not in 1945 and 1946 able to sponsor construction programs.
Mr. SNYDER. I called the Census Bureau on that and I should like to read for you what they gave me as of 1948, which is the latest figures available.
Mr. BUCHANAN. On county governments? Mr. SNYDER. Yes, they spent $1,967,000,000 in 1946 as against 1,696,000,000 the year before. Gross debt outstanding as of June 30, 1918, was $1,406,000,000, a decrease of 4.9 percent over like date of 1947. That is the latest figure, taken from the census publications, "Summary of County Government finances, 1948," and the “Summary of Debt, 1948," page 2, of the Census Burean.
Mr. BUCHANAN. I am interested, of course, in county governments, and especially in counties in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County and Philadelphia County, which show an entirely different picture.
Mr. SNYDER. I am sure the picture would be different in certain counties, because this is a national picture, based upon an average picture of county conditions.
Mr. BROWN. Mr. Talle.
Mr. TALLE. I just want to ask if the date is right on the photographs shown, for Georgia. May 5.
Mr. SNYDER. That is correct, I called for those photographs, they took the photographs the day I called and I received them air mail just about an hour ago. That is correct.
Mr. Talle. On your second chart you show State debt versus Federal debt. Will you announce the name of the State at the bottom?
Mr. SNYDER. I notice it is under $1 for Iowa.
Mr. TALLE. We have, in fact, a substantial surplus in our State treasury.
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COLE. Mr. Snyder, you mentioned the California election in your statement. I am interested in whether or not the veterans took any part in that election.
Mr. SYYDER. Yes, they did, Mr. Cole. The Veterans of Foreign Wars--:m I have an official photostatic copy of the California V'eteran which is published by them, as of September 2, as to the rejection by the encampment of the initiative-hail this to say:
The writers of the initiative apparently had something more in mind than the single purpose of providing housing for low-income groups. in sum provides for a fascistir onanization with untouchable polii s JowTS, rights of appropriation and condemnation. Citizens of California could do nothing to alter these supreme rights except by repealing the amen ilki to the
constitution at another election. The California Veterans of Foreign Wars then listed six objections and reasons why it refused to support public housing in that State.
The American Legion, Department of California, in their thirtieth annual convention at San Francisco on September 2-5, 1918, passed a resolution which lists 10 objections to the public housing legislation, and concludes with this resolution, “That this measure is of such dangerous import to the welfare and safety of our State that it is to be actively opposed by every echelon of the American Legion Department of California, and any endorsements heretofore made are hereby revoked and canceled by the American Legion Department of California.
They are only two actions that I have a record of, Mr. Cole, as to veteran groups.
Mr. ČOLE. Have any States recently authorized public housing legislation. Is Pennsylvania the only one, or are there any others?
Mr. SNYDER. Pennsylvania did not authorize Federal public housing legislation. It was State legislation.
Mr. COLE. No, but did any State besides Pennsylvania authorize any State public-housing projects?
Mr. SNYDER. This year, not to the best of my knowledge. We tried to make a careful survey of that to determine the exact status.
Mr. BUCHANAN. It is more urban redevelopment than public housing in Pennsylvania.
Mr. SNYDER. That is correct.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Do you know whether there were any issues voted on in the California election?
Mr. SNYDER. Yes, there were. I believe altogether there were something like 33 different issues that were up at the same time.
Mr. BUCHANAN. Aggregating several million dollars, is that not true?
Mr. SNYDER. That may be, I do not know, sir. I know there were other issues up at the same time.
Mr. BUCHANAN. They voted them all down except the veterans bonus.
Mr. SNYDER. The veterans' bonus was one of them that carried, but the significant point is that even in the State, all 58 counties, including the metropolitan areas, voted on an average of two to one against public housing. Some of the others were much closer than 2 to 1.
Mr. Brown. Thank you very much, Mr. Snyder.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT P. GERHOLZ, CHAIRMAN, REALTORS'
WASHINGTON COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REAL ESTATE BOARDS
Mr. GERHOLZ. Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, I am Robert P. Gerholz of Flint Mich., a realtor and community builder for the last 27 years. I have been actively identified with local, State, and national associations in the construction and real-estate fields. In 1945 I was president of the National Association of Home Builders. I am appearing as chairman of the realtors' Washington committee of the National Association of Real Estate Boards.
I deeply appreciate this opportunity to appear before your committee. You have listened to a recital of achievement by the home building industry; you have been told that American builders constructed an average of 850,000 homes annually since 1940; that more than 3 million homes have been built in the less than 3 years past; and that in 1948, 1,200,000 home units were constructed.
Gentlemen, I wonder if you have pictured more than a million homes? Will you for a moment imagine a huge apartment building, each unit 24 feet in length and extending across the United States, all the way from New York City to San Francisco, thence well into the Pacific Ocean toward Honolulu? This is a conservative picture of the home construction last year by American builders. That transcontinental building would house the members of every new family caused by a 1948 marriage and a 50-percent vacancy would remain.
I submit to you that the home building industry is swiftly removing the shortage of housing caused by the uprooting of families during the war due to the transition from small towns and farm areas by people who are now living in urban industrial centers. The occupancy of more spacious living quarters by people with improved economic status is likewise adjusting itself. In my opinion, the need for public housing does not exist.
Already in many cities there are home vacancies. With the declining marriage and birth rate, attested by United States Bureau of Census figures, it may be anticipated that housing construction will reasonably soon exceed the demand for homes. A sufficiency of lowcost rentals is assured if you will consider that the median rental for the Nation's families has been established at $29.33 by the Census Bureau.
You will say that the private builder cannot build new homes for the very lowest income groups and I agree with you. But it is likewise an established fact that the Federal Government cannot build homes in today's market for this class either. Public housing has not cleared the slums and I do not think you can reasonably expect it to do so in the future. The unemployed, the indigent, and the improvident must always be cared for through some social agency, and I believe you will concur that this is the responsibility of the local community.
The slums themselves are a blight on the landscape of any American community and they should be removed through the initiative of the local government by the enforcement of city ordinances affecting health, sanitation, safety, and building construction.
I want to make it very clear, Mr. Chairman, that I, too, am violently and vigorously opposed to slums. In nothing that I say in this statement do I want to be understood as saying anything in favor of poverty or in favor of the continuation of slums.
Many of these homes have reached a state of seeming obsolescence through indifferent tenants, lack of proper repairs and improvements by the owner, and through the failure of local city departments to see that fire and health hazards were removed. Fundamentally these buildings are structurally sound.
Almost within the shadow of this building, here in Washington, you have samples of the type of housing I describe. Yet within the same area are equally old buildings which have been modernized, rehabilitated, and landscaped to provide good housing. The cost was not prohibitive. It could have been done-it can be done to the unsightly structures that remain. A very slight rental increase would