The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• John F. Kennedy
Message from Senator John F. Kennedy to the Urban Problems Press Conference, Washington, DC
September 9, 1960

One of the greatest challenges of the next decade is the challenge to provide a decent home in a decent neighborhood for every American. This goal was first set by a Democratic administration in the Federal Housing Act of 1949. Over the last decade the problem of slums and urban blight has become more and more acute. Today there are more people in the United States living in slums than on farms.

In the face of this challenge, the record of the Republican administration has been one of indifference and inaction. President Eisenhower's own Housing Administrator has admitted that during this Republican administration we are losing the race against spreading slums.

I am getting to work now to bring this issue home to the American people. I am calling a conference in Pittsburgh on October 10 to consider what needs to be done about the urgent human problems of American cities and suburbs. Gov. David Lawrence has agreed to serve as honorary chairman of the conference. I have appointed Mayor Richard C. Lee of New Haven as conference chairman. Mayor Lee is also chairman of the Advisory Committee on Urban and Suburban Problems of the Democratic Advisory Council.

Governor Lawrence, Mayor Lee, and other Democratic mayors and local officials have firsthand knowledge of the problems of cities, and I look to them for guidance and continued local leadership in meeting these problems.

Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Message from Senator John F. Kennedy to the Urban Problems Press Conference, Washington, DC", September 9, 1960. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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