Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on Housing for Industrial Workers.

June 09, 1941

My dear Mrs. Rosenman:

This is a most appropriate time for the conference now being held in Washington by the National Committee on the Housing Emergency. The demands of speedy, all-out national defense have served to focus attention upon the whole housing problem of the Nation. The rapid expansion of industrial plants for airplanes and tanks and guns and all kinds of defense materials, the building of new plants for such purposes, the construction of camps and training quarters, the doubled and quadrupled activities of shipyards—all of these efforts of our Nation to build up its national defense have brought hundreds of thousands of workers and their families into areas not equipped to house them.

But they must be housed- and adequately housed. The Government has already taken steps to do its part to provide adequate housing for these defense workers. But we have just made a beginning. The task requires not only quick action and intelligent planning by the Federal Government. It requires the cooperation of states and cities and towns—and, equally as important, the cooperation and unselfish assistance of real estate owners and private builders.

I understand that your conference has brought together not only the representatives of civic associations and Government departments—Federal, State, and local—but also representatives of labor, of real estate boards, and of private construction companies. It is in this type of cooperative effort and planning and discussion, that the road to success is possible.

In the Federal housing program we have laid a groundwork which has not only made a substantial beginning in the solution of the general over-all housing needs of the Nation, but which has also given us great experience of all kinds with which to proceed to plan and to act in the future.

I am sure that the forthcoming discussions will be helpful in acquainting the general public with what has been done, and with what must be done, if democracy is really to serve its function of meeting the justifiable desire of the average American citizen for an American standard of living.

Very sincerely yours,

Mrs. Samuel I. Rosenman,

Chairman, National Committee on the Housing Emergency,

Mayflower Hotel,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on Housing for Industrial Workers. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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