Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter to Federal Housing Administrator James Moffett on Progress Made under the National Housing Act.

March 06, 1935

Dear Mr. Moffett:

This will acknowledge your encouraging memorandum on the operation of the National Housing Act.

I wish to express, through you, my gratification to the chairmen and members of the Community Better Housing Campaign Committees throughout the country because of the results they have accomplished in less than seven months of activity in calling to the attention of property owners the benefits to be derived under the National Housing Act in modernization and repair and also in construction of new homes.

I am particularly impressed with your statement that 6,174 communities have selected chairmen of their Better Housing Committees, and that between 250,000 and 300,000 volunteer workers are participating through these committees, in the work of acquainting property owners with the uses they can make of the Housing Act. It is good to know also that the Better Housing Committees now have a population coverage of approximately 70,000,000 and that 2,100 of these cities and towns are conducting house-to-house canvasses in which thousands of canvassers, In addition to the committee groups, are carrying on this work. I note that to date calls have been made on over 6,000,000 properties, and that the property owners have pledged 1,100,000 jobs for modernization and repair for a total value of $275,000,000, and that, in addition, you estimate there has already been spent since last August approximately $250,000,000 for modernization and repair.

As you point out, with the continued active cooperation of our civic-minded committees, house-to-house canvasses will be conducted by practically every community campaign committee, with many millions of home owners and business property owners yet to be contacted. This activity means that, with the advent of spring, an immense volume of business and employment will undoubtedly be generated. In other words, the American people will clearly see that the Housing Act provides for the Nation a way back to recovery and prosperity.

In regard to construction of new homes, I am glad to know that enabling legislation has been passed during the last sixty days in twenty-six States, and that you anticipate prompt action by the remaining States where enabling legislation is necessary, to permit the mutual mortgage insurance plan to operate. That you already have received applications for millions of dollars of mortgage insurance, with approximately 30 percent of the applications covering the construction of new homes, plainly indicates we may expect a decided improvement in the new home construction field.

I agree with you that the refunding of existing mortgages in long-term, amortized mortgages insured under the National Housing Act will result in a safer mortgage structure for the country and will result in a much needed impetus to home construction, with a resultant tremendous demand for durable goods and labor, invaluable benefits to business and the community in general.

Very sincerely yours,

Honorable James Moffett,

Federal Housing Administrator,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to Federal Housing Administrator James Moffett on Progress Made under the National Housing Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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