Jimmy Carter photo

Baltimore, Maryland Remarks Following a Tour of Neighborhood Rehabilitation Projects.

August 07, 1979

As all of you know, our country is determined to win the energy war and I believe the people here on East Biddle Street can help me. Do you agree? [Applause]

A couple of Sundays ago I made a speech to the Nation about the strength of our country and about our need to have a strong and united effort in our Nation, not only to have a good economy, with jobs for people, good housing, but also to stop the waste of energy and to let our Nation be dependent on ourselves and not on the OPEC countries.

Behind me, you see several panels on the top of this house that are going to be all over the Nation in the future. There's no way for them to embargo the sunshine, right? [Applause]

Baltimore is showing the way. You've got a great mayor in Don Schaefer. And you have worked with him to make sure that your city is becoming a better place to live.

Two and a half years ago, almost three, I came to Baltimore to see the fine housing programs that were in effect here, where people who did not have jobs were given jobs to make old homes new and to let people live in decent housing for a change, quite often with a family that was going to live in a house doing a major part of the work.

Now we have a fine weatherization program underway in Baltimore. This year, we will have 3,000 homes completely weatherized, not with expensive workers, but with CETA workers, who were formerly unemployed. They are doing a superb job. It only costs, for each home, about $275 to make sure that the doors, the windows, the hot water heaters do not waste energy. This money comes back in saved heating bills in less than 2 years, and then for the rest of the life of the home, there's a tremendous savings in dollars and a warmer house and a better place to live which will be of benefit to you, to the city, to your neighbors, and to our country.

This year, 3,000 homes, next year, 4,000 more homes, more jobs, and one of the good things, one of the good things is that these young workers who were formerly unemployed are learning a good trade and they are going from this program into private employment with a lot higher salary level and a stable life for the future. That's what I call cooperation. That's what we need all over the country.

I don't know if you know it or not, but 40 percent of all the energy in our country goes into the heating and the cooling of homes and other buildings—40 percent. And because we are so wasteful now, between 30 percent and 50 percent of all that heat is wasted. It costs our country in energy security. It makes us too dependent on foreign oil. It takes jobs away from our Nation and imports inflation. If we can just cut down on the waste of energy in our homes, this would be a tremendous program now and in the future.

In 1977 I proposed to the Congress and the Congress passed a bill that ,gives $300 in tax credits for any homeowner who will weatherize a home to cut down energy waste and $2,200 for any home that will install solar heat for the house itself or for hot water or sometimes even for cooling. This is a program just getting started, and we have now proposed to the Congress an additional program that will let the power companies, the gas companies, the electric light companies, give a loan to a family or to the owner of a house that's rented to make sure that the house is weatherized and made efficient and that loan will not have to be paid back until the house is sold. This will save a half million barrels of oil every day and, again, will provide tremendous savings for the homeowners and the working people of our Nation.

It's very important that this program be understood not just by those of you assembled here on North Patterson and East Biddle Street but also by the people all over our country. We are making good progress toward giving our people a better life, and we are letting you have a part in providing for our energy security and making us free from dependence on foreign oil that might be interrupted and damage our lives and damage the country we love. Will you cooperate on this program with me? [Applause]

Let me add a word about the school building on my right. This building was built, I believe, in 1896. It has educated, as you know, a lot of young people. Now it's no longer used for a school building, but it's being renovated at a very low cost compared to a new building. And by December, it will be completed, and we'll have a place to live, a ,beautiful place to live for 19 families. This is being done in other places in Baltimore at a great savings to the taxpayers and giving good housing for all our people.

This is the kind of cooperation that you are finding now among the Federal agencies—Housing and Urban Development, which provides the funds and the know-how; Labor, which provides the CETA programs and training the young people to have permanent jobs; HEW, interested in a better life for our people in education and welfare and health; and other Federal agencies. But the most important thing is that we are working cooperatively with the State government officials and the local government officials and also private industry.

An additional thing in Baltimore is this: The people who do most of the work are the ones who live here and who want a better place to live. That's the kind of cooperation we're going to continue, and I want to say to you from the bottom of my heart that I thank Mayor Schaefer and all the government officials here in the city. I appreciate the people who are here assembled to hear my voice, and I particularly appreciate the citizens of our country who believe that our Nation is already strong and great, that it can be greater in the future and stronger, and who will do your individual part in saving energy, cutting out waste, guaranteeing our Nation's security.

I want you to make sure that Congress cooperates with me. We and the Congress will cooperate with you. We'll have energy security for our Nation and a better life for all Americans. That's what we want; that's what we're going to have.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 9:35 a.m. at the intersection of East Biddle Street and North Patterson Park Avenue, in east Baltimore.

Prior to his remarks, the President toured the home of Mrs. Genitha Rhyne. The house was rehabilitated and weatherized as part of a citywide project, and also was outfitted with a solar unit for heating. The President and Jay Brodie, Commissioner of Housing and Community Development, then toured School No. 37, one of the vacant school buildings in Baltimore being renovated into apartment housing. While he was at the school, the President met with city officials and neighborhood residents to discuss the rehabilitation projects.

Jimmy Carter, Baltimore, Maryland Remarks Following a Tour of Neighborhood Rehabilitation Projects. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250127

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