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The approach to slum elimination in the past has been largely surgical. We have selected a certain number of our worst slum blocks, acquired the properties, demolished the structures and redeveloped the cleared land. This process has been important. We have not only cleared some of our worst slums, we have also learned a lot about the techniques of land assembly, relocation and redevelopment planning. We have built an important structure of enabling legislation in the States and cities and established redevelopment commissions with trained staffs and an accumulation of experience in urban redevelopment.
In the 4 or 5 years this process has been in operation, we have also become aware of certain clear limitations on the "surgery project" approach to slum elimination. We have learned that it is slow and expensive. If we moved at five times the demolition rate of the past 3 years, it would take over 40 years to eliminate one-half the 10 million dwelling units said to be substandard in 1950 and it would cost us $500 million per year to do it. This is far too slow and much too expensive. We have also learned that in many instances it creates new slums almost as fast as it clears the old ones. In the absence of effective preventive programs, it crowds the former slums dwellers into other deteriorating areas and spawns new slums. It simply fans the fire further into the forest.
Thoughtful observers of the redevelopment program are not dismayed by these experiences. On the contrary, they are tremendously encouraged at the high potential which the redevelopment program has revealed and they are eager to remove its limitations, accelerate its pace, reduce its cost, and enlarge its effectiveness.
During the same period in which we have been "cutting our teeth" in redevelopment, there has been emerging in our cities an important new effort at slum elimination aimed at rehabilitating existing structures and conserving decent neighborhoods. This rehabilitation-conservation idea is new and growing. So great is the pressure in our cities for solution to the slum problem that the limited programs in rehabilitation which have been launched in some cities have been seized upon by others and lifted high as beacons of hope for effective action in slum prevention and slum elimination.
There is tremendous opportunity in this effort. Responsibly organized, it can prevent slums before they start; rehabilitate structures worth saving; remove blighting forces and regenerate good neighborhoods out of deteriorating areas not yet beyond recall.
But this effort is new and highly developmental. We are still learning the requirements for effective municipal organizations, still wrestling with enabling legislation, still pushing back the frontiers of its potential. No city in the United States has yet put together a truly effective rehabilitation-conservation program. None is even abreast of the composite knowledge and experience that has been accumulated in the past few years.
It is clear to all who study the experiences to date in urban redevelopment, rehabilitation, and conservation that they must not be operated as separate programs but should be merged as essential components of an overall prorgam for urban renewal. There is no sharp line in a city up to which all structures should be demolished and beyond which none shall be. Salvageable structures should not be destroyed simply because they are in a demolition area. We cannot afford that kind of waste. Nor does it make sense to attempt the rehabilitation of unfit structures simply because they are in an area marked for rehabilitation.
The purpose of a slum elimination program should be to eliminate slums and blighting influences from the entire city to make the city into a community of healthy neighborhoods. To achieve that purpose there must first be a comprehensive plan for the community and for each of its potential neighborhoods. Within those neighborhoods all unfit and nonsalvageable structures should be demolished; adverse nonconforming uses condemned; congestion relieved; parks and playgrounds provided; public utilities installed, street and traffic patterns planned to protect the neighborhood and, under a vigorous program of law enforcement, all structures should be rehabilitated to an acceptable minimum standard of health safety and sanitation.
Title IV is designed to assist, promote, and require that kind of slum elimination program. It broadens the grant and loans provision of title I of the Housing Act of 1949, shifts the emphasis from demolition projects done to the regeneration of neighborhoods and the renewal of our cities. It permits the communities to obtain grants for public improvements which can so strengthen defined urban renewal areas as to make rehabilitation effective and in many instances avoid wholesale demolition.
Furthermore title IV faces the business of slum cure realistically and says that the Federal Government has no business spending money on slum clearance unless there is some reasonable assurance that the Federal grant will achieve the purpose intended. Federal assistance in the slum clearance field is intended to help cities help themselves eliminate slums. A city that is unwilling to set up a comprehensive program for slum prevention and slum elimination is simply chasing its slums from one part of the city to another. The Federal Government cannot afford to encourage or participate in that kind of waste. Therefore a "workable program-for effectively dealing with urban slums and blight" is made a precondition to Federal assistance including grants under title IV, grants for public housing and FHA insurance under section 220.
Title IV encourages a comprehensive approach to slum elimination by providing vastly broadened financial assistance for that purpose. Furthermore, it requires that such a comprehensive program be developed as a precondition to eligibility. Then it goes an important step further and sets up an Urban Renewal Service to help the cities meet the conditions which the title IV program establishes. These programs of redevelopment and rehabilitation are new and growing. It is tremendously important to have a facility for communicating the various experiences in urban renewal from city to city and to thus assist in progressive improvement of the effectiveness of the program. The Urban Renewal Service will fill this need.
In this connection, the importance of the $5 million fund provided in section 414 merits special attention. This is a small fund as Federal finances go but it can be enormously useful. The timing in the urban renewal program is such that this fund, by accelerating the development and testing of new techniques in slum elimination, can ignite fires around the country that will light the way for hundreds of cities in the years ahead. It will tremendously speed up this entire program in its critical early years.
Title IV marks a great step forward in the battle against slums. It will find support in the cities throughout the country, among planners, builders, bankers, civic and labor leaders. There is wide agreement on the principles on which it is based. The Mortgage Bankers Association is pleased to have this opportunity to express its support.
Mr. PATMAN. Mr. Chairman, may we interrogate this gentleman briefly, before Mr. Massey proceeds? He covered the bill rather thoroughly, and I think it would be appropriate to interrogate him before we have another witness, if the chairman will permit us to do so.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, Mr. Massey and Mr. Clarke are sitting together and are making the presentation.
Mr. PATMAN. If it was the same statement he would not have testified in addition. I assume it is different.
Mr. CLARKE. Mr. Massey proposes to testify in connection with section 213.
Mr. PATMAN. Well, you mentioned the President's Advisory Committee. Has anyone prepared a statement showing the recommendations of the Advisory Committee, and then the recommendations in the President's message, and then the recommendations that are carried forward in this bill?
Mr. PATMAN. Is it in this testimony?
Mr. CLARKE. It is not, but we can see to it that it is put in.
Mr. PATMAN. Do you have a copy of it there with you?
Mr. NEAL. We sent a copy of that statement, Mr. Patman, to every member of this committee about a week ago, but we will bring other copies up here this afternoon.
Mr. PATMAN. I ask consent that it be inserted in the record at this point, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. How voluminous is it?
Mr. CLARKE. It is very short.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, it may be inserted. (The material referred to is as follows:)
Re H. R. 7839
Hon. JESSE P. WOLCOTT,
MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA,
Chairman, Committee on Banking and Currency,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.
DEAR MR. WOLCOTT: During the testimony given this morning before your committee by Mr. W. A. Clarke, Mr. Patman requested that we furnish you, for inclusion in the record, a comparative digest which the association had prepared setting forth the details of the proposed Housing Act of 1954, alongside the recommendations on the various subjects of the President's Advisory Committee on Housing.
Enclosed you will find a copy of this digest for inclusion in the record of the hearings.
This digest also includes a list of recommendations made by the President's Advisory Committee which are not mentioned, or discussed, in the proposed Housing Act.
SAMUEL E. NEEL.
Report of President's Advisory
Policy of Mortgage Bankers Asso-
policy Comparative digest: Pending legislation (S. 2938, H. R. 7839), President's Advisory Committee report, and Mortgage Bankers Association
Proposed Housing Act of 1954
TITLE 1. FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION
101. Increases maximum for improvement and repair loans (sec. 2 (b)) on single-family units to
104. Raises maximum loan amounts under sec. 203 to $10,000 for 1- or 2-family structures, $27,500
at 30 years (see title II elow).
106. Fixes the maximum statutory interest rate on sec. 203 mortgages (sec. 203 (b) (5)) at 5 percent,
107. Amends sec. 203 (c) to provide that debentures used in payment of premium charges shall
108. Terminates farm housing insurance (sec. 203 (d)) as of date of new act
109. Repeals portfolio rating section (sec. 203 (f)). Rereals President's standby authority to
112. Fixes debentures under secs. 203 and 213 at 10 years (sec. 201 (d)).
113. Technical amendment-no substantive change.
115. Amends sec. 207 (c) to (1) permit insurance of existing multifamily structures if located in a
Similar recommendation, except that
elevators to $2,400 per room, with a maximum of $7,500 per unit where less than 4 rooms; $10,000 limit per unit is removed.
116. Technical amendment-no substantive change..
117. Specifies inclusion of foreclosure costs, costs of acquisition, and costs of conveyance to the
120. Deletes provision in sec. 213 (f) for an Assistant Commissioner for cooperative housing..
122. Includes sec. 220 insurance fund within the Commissioner's authority (sec. 219) to transfer
123. Adds secs. 220 and 221, to be available only to com mur ities presenting to the HHFA Admin-
Disapproved. 40-year loans not mar-