Letter to Senator Sparkman Following Senate Passage of the Housing and Urban Development Bill.
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Yesterday was a time of triumph for the American people and the American city.
The United States Senate--under your leadership--passed the most massive housing authorization bill in the Nation's history ever recommended by a President.
And now--in this $5 billion measure--the promise of hope and home moves a little closer to reality for millions of poor American families.
Last February, in a special message, I called upon the Congress to enact a far-reaching program to stamp out degradation and misery in our great urban centers--to rebuild the cities and restore to them the values as old as the Republic itself: equality and justice, and the opportunity for self-respect in a true community of neighbors.
That call was answered in the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 passed by the Senate yesterday.
It was answered by approving our recommendations for:
--$1 billion for Model Cities, which can rebuild the entire core of decaying neighborhoods.
--$1.75 billion for urban renewal, revised and strengthened, as a humane instrument to restore slum areas.
--Continued life for rent supplements, through which homes for the poor are built by private enterprise.
--New public housing, expanded and recognizing the needs of families as more than mere shelters.
It was answered in approving our recommendations for new approaches and fresh solutions to the stubborn and lingering problems of the cities:
--In the new programs through which hundreds of thousands of poor families can achieve the dream of owning their own homes.
--In the vast expansion and redirection of assistance for private rental housing for low and moderate income families.
--In the National Housing Partnership which can focus the talents of private industry and labor on the job of high volume production of low-income homes.
--In the start of new communities on the city's rim.
--In new insurance protection for the home owner and the businessman in the inner city. The Senate has made a major breakthrough. Now we must move to the follow-through.
I hope the House of Representatives will join with the Senate in making the Housing Act of 1968 the testament of freedom for the American city.
Time will not wait. We dare not lose this opportunity to act.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
[Honorable John J. Sparkman, Chairman, Banking and Currency Committee, United States Senate, Washington, D.C.]
Note: The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 was approved by the President on August 1, 1968 (see Item 426).
For the President's special message to Congress of February 22 on urban problems, see Item 87.
Lyndon B. Johnson, Letter to Senator Sparkman Following Senate Passage of the Housing and Urban Development Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237256