« PreviousContinue »
Yes, I believe that as a result of research which could be done under the authority herein contained, further improvements and further usefulness from the prefabrication method could result, not only in prefabricated houses but in site prefabrication and partial prefabrication of parts of houses. We can look toward that quite a bit.
Mr. MULTER. It is not only to give us better and more production, but to bring down the cost.
Mr. FOLEY. It is reducing cost and improving quality.
Mr. MULTER. It will improve the quality of the building and lessen the cost.
Mr. FOLEY. Increase the usefulness and effectiveness of private enterprise in the field.
Mr. BUCHANAN. In section 203 there is provision for cost of construction of $1,750 per room and an additional $750, making a total of $2,500. Do you think that is adequate in all sections of the country at the present time? Mr. FOLEY. The $1,750 and $750 ? Mr. BUCHANAN. In the Boston, Mass., area, for instance. Mr. Foley. We believe so. Perhaps Mr. Egan would like to discuss that more in detail with you since it is an operational matter with him.
Mr. Egan. Mr. Buchanan, at page 10 in my statement I point out that a study has been made of the costs that may be expected if a number of typical existing low-rent projects were being built under present conditions. The local housing authorities asked their contractors to reestimate these projects on the basis of the cost levels prevailing at the end of 1948. The expected average costs per room of dwelling construction and equipment are listed at page 11. In other words, the cost per room of eight projects that were reestimated would rum from $1,000 to $1,249 per room.
Mr. BUCHANAN. When were these reestimates made? Mr. EGAX. At the end of 1948, in December. There were seven projects that would require costs of $1,250 to $1,499. There were eight that would require $1,500 and $1,749. There weer seven that would require $1,750 to $1,999, and five that would require $2,000 to $2,249 per room.
I think the $1,750 figure plus the $750 would be suflicient to cover any spot in the United States that I could think of because I think in the Boston area and the New York area we probably hit the highest construction cost.
Mr. BUCHANAN. I know that in title IV, in the farm housing section, provision is made for payment to members of the authority. How do you look toward payment to those people who serve on the public housing authority in the urban areas? They receive no salaries or fees at the present time.
Mr. Egan. Almost under every State statute it prohibits that. There are two States in the Union, I think, that permit it but we have perer allowed it as a matter of policy. In the farm title, of course, the members of the local committees of farmers serve as advisers or consultants to the Federal Government, and I suppose that justifies the Federal Government paying them. However, the members of local housing authorities are not advisers to the Federal Government.
Mr. BUCHANAN. The restriction, of course, is the State statute.
Mr. BUCHANAN. In the farm housing title there is provision for payment on the basis of attendance at meetings of $5 per day, and so forth; is there not?
Mr. Egan. There may be.
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. I was particularly interested in the housing research, Mr. Foley, and I would like to get a little more information about the question Mr. Multer asked. I noticed the testimony you gave referred to rather definite things, technology, improvements, and so forth. Do you contemplate anything that could be called a study of the housing industry! It is the last handicraft industry we have, really. Our methods of distribution are pretty costly and old-fashioned. There is still great room for standardization of many things. I am wondering whether the funds allotted you are sufficient to enable you to make really fundamental studies of this whole problem.
Mr. FOLEY. In response to your first question, yes, such a study would be contemplated in the broad authorities here mentioned. In response to the second part of your question, we do not now have appropriations which would permit that broad activity, even if I felt we had at the moment the authority to undertake it. While we have what may be construed as a fairly broad authority in the act of last year in connection with standardized measurements and the development and promotion of the uniform codes, we have elected not to place the broadest interpretation on that authority but even if we had, Congress did not accept the breadth of our requests for appropriations so we could not proceed.
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. You think that such a study should be started, however?
Mr. FOLEY. Yes.
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. In your discussion of housing research there was no mention of anything that might come under the term of family living. In other words, your stress is on the more technological things.
I have been particularly interested in this economy housing program of yours. I notice, however, in these little brochures that were put out, there are no room measurements. How big are these houses? I understood about 614 square feet in floor area.
Mr. Foley. We are not recommending a particular size. We have attempted to place great stress on the necessity of protecting proper standards, both as to construction and as to livability, which I think covers the point that you have in mind, adequate provision for family life. Very definitely that is a part of what we believe to be the essential responsibility that we have in connection with any research work that we do. The industry is handicapped at present in providing at a price which the market can pay, the amount of living quarters which would give the best of standards, probably, for livability. I think, however, that both within the industry and certainly within the agency of Government, that point is being kept uppermost in mind and is not being overlooked and is not being forgotten in spite of certain charges that do get bandied about, and that very considerable improvement has taken place.
With respect to the size question, the brochures that we have there are probably the earliest put out. There is another issue to be added which covers three-bedroom houses. Another will follow with respect to what we hope will be low-rental projects and so on to develop finally a completely rounded picture of the whole scene, bringing in all the phases of family life that you mentioned.
Actually very considerable results begin to be apparent although they are very spotty. Houses at lower prices and certainly above the minimum are beginning to be produced.
Mrs. WOOODHOUSE. I took the houses in Evansville, Ind., as better suited to New England than any others, and I checked the size. They seemed to be rather too small for adequate family living. With the outside dimensions I figured one bedroom would be 9 by 12 feet and one 8 by 11 feet. And the set-up is for four persons. I also notice there is no adequate place for beds. Of course, I am interested in the people living in a house. I was wondering whether there were home economists or women with comparable training on your research staff or if they were included in any part of this research program.
Mr. FOLEY. There are, but not as many as we would hope to have if we are given authority to carry on these studies.
I would like to point out again that what you have there in the way of a brochure, particularly the ones you have in hand, are simply a few case histories of something actually being done at a price lower than was generally contended could be met and it was only our beginning of a set of showings in connection with this campaign. If that was all we had in mind I would think you should be critical.
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. I was told in Sweden in 1945 that they felt they had started out with units that they now realize were much too small for adequate family life and they pointed out that it was a very serious mistake to set up minimum standards that met price rather than those that met minimum standards of family living. I think it is very important that we do not lay all the emphasis on direct building costs but do put sufficient emphasis on this factor of how the standards will nieet the needs of family living.
Mr. Foley. I think you are right, but I think this is true also: There has been a great deal of progress in recent years in the development of designs so that greater livability results from less space than would have been thought suitable 10 years ago in the then designed houses.
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. I asked about the home economists because in this Indiana house I noticed that most of the living room would be hallway.
Mr. FOLEY. There would be a traffic problem there.
Mr. MULTER. When you were there, did you find any evidence of Sweden going communistic because of its public-housing program?
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. Quite the contrary. I think they were strongly anticommunistic.
In the specification of this house, there is a two-circuit nonmetallic cable. Our Connecticut building codes would not permit that. We must use BX. Does that mean our building codes are extravagant?
Mr. FOLEY. I think perhaps I should have a technician to answer that question, but I would assume from the fact that it is permitted and would be accepted as approved for insurance of mortgages that the system therein described is at least found sufficient where it is in use. I know of no local condition that would tend to run counter to that, but I would rather have a technician in the field answer your question.
Mrs. WOODHOUSE. In other words, this might very well be an illustration of the need for revision of building codes.
Mr. FOLEY. Yes,
Mr. McMillen. I wish you would state how much in dollars is provided for under the provisions of this bill in which there is no provision for repayment.
Mr. FOLEY. I will have to trust my memory. I turned in and filed a statement on that yesterday, Congressman, in detail.
Mr. McMILLEN. Can you give it in round numbers?
Mr. FOLEY. In round numbers, in the slum-clearance provision there is $500,000,000 that would be used for grants. There is in the publichousing provision a maximum possibility of $100,000,000 a year, which as has been stated here this morning, experience indicates it would probably not run above 65 to 70 percent and probably nearly 60 percent if we apply past experience to the future.
In the farm provision, for grants, $12,500,000, and for annual contributions, $5,000,000.
Mr. McMILLEN. Mr. Foley, would you provide for the record, a concise, simple statement so that a layman may understand it, of the various amounts provided in this bill that the Government can furnish, separating those amounts where there is no provision for repayment, and the other amounts, in concise, definite form, so that a layman who might otherwise go to this bill and would not understand, the exact amounts provided under this bill for the Government to pay, and I say those amounts separated and tabulated.
Mr. FOLEY: I think, Congressman, that is exactly what I did do yesterday in filing a statement broken down this way: Commitments for repayable loans under the slum-clearance program, under the lowrant public-housing program, and under the farm-housing program. Commitments are contracts for grants under the slum clearance and farm housing; contracts for annual contributions under the low-rent public housing and under the farm housing. I think that gives the distinctions you are asking for and it is already in the record.
Mr. Wolcott. Mr. Chairman, may we review that just a little further? What does that total! Grants not repayable, according to the figures I have, are something over $12,882,500,000. Is that about right?
Mr. FOLEY. That you have arrived at, I suppose, by a multiplication of 40 years of a maximum possible annual contribution to the publichousing picture; is that correct?
Mr. WOLCOTT. Yes.
Mr. FOLEY. That would be a matter of arithmetic. I do not have it figured out before me, but the maximum annual possible contributions in public housing would be $100,000,000. On the rest of them, the maxima are clear-cut if the program is carried out as here outlined; the contracts for grants in slum clearance being $500,000, and in farm housing being $12,500,000; the contracts for annual contributions in farm housing being a maximum of $50,000,000. If you multiply the $100,000,000 by the 10-year life designed in the bill and assumed that you were going to pay the maximum straight through it would be $10,000,000,000. Adding it together, you would then have $16.562,500,000.
Mr. WOLOTT, I get a total in grants and loans under this bill of $19,312,500,000.
Mr. FOLEY. You have added the loans in. The figure I gave you was for grants and annual payments.
Mr. WOLCOTT. That would bring it up to about that figure, roughly. .
The CHAIRMAN. That is 100-percent utilization? Is it based on 100-percent utilization?
Mr. FOLEY. That is correct, and the meeting of the maxima, always. The CHAIRMAN. There might be a considerable lessening of that? Mr. FOLEY. In all possibility, it would be, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WOLCOTT. And the total amount of the grants and loans, if the maximum is used, the figure that I have here of $19,312,500,000 would be approximately correct?
Mr. FOLEY. I do not have before me the figure adding in the possible loans. I will assume your arithmetic on it is correct, sir.
Mr. WOLCOTT. I have loans in public housing, $1,500,000,000; land acquisition for slum clearance, $1,000,000,000; farm housing, $250,000,000. That would be a total of $2,700,000,000, roughly speaking.
Mr. Egan. The amount for loans under title II in the low-rent program would become virtually a revolving fund. In other words, we would assume that most of the loans would be supplied by the private enterprises and it would become a revolving fund and the subsidy that would be paid would go to service the debt of private loans. However, the present loan authorization for public housing is $800,000,000. This bill provides only for a $700 increase in that authorization.
Mr. WOLCOTT. The annual contribution of the grants under the contracts would become contractual obligations?
Mr. Egan. That is correct. The contracts for annual contribution stipulate that in any one year we are obligated to pay the maximum if it is actually needed in any one year.
Mr. WOLCOTT. Does Congress have any discretion as to whether they shall or shall not pay such sums, short of completing the obligation?
Mr. Egan. The contracts provide under the original act that the full faith and credit of the Government will be behind those annual contributions.
Mr. WOLCOTT. They can be sued in the Court of Claims?
Mr. WOLcorr. Congress has no alternative once the program is set up but to met the contractual obligations?
Mr. Egax. That is correct; if contributions are contracted for and are actually needed they must be paid.
Mr. McMILLEN. Mr. Foley, could you furnish for the record the various amounts that the State of Illinois has furnished through general taxation and through issue of bonds by referendum, particularly in the city of Chicago, that has been used for public housing and slum clearance already in the State of Illinois? For example, in my home city of Decatur, we have an excellent public housing project there that is functioning in every way as it should. The means for building that public housing was secured from the Government and from the State of Illinois, by special legislation passed years ago providing a levy of taxes for that purpose.
I would like you to furnish for the record a history of what this particular State has done in the way of providing money heretofore, for slum clearance, particularly in the city of Chicago, and for public housing in Chicago, and down through the State. I would like to make