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States have to offer which will not be very extensive-but also the facilities of the voluntary organizations.
In connection with the community facilities and services program, another point should be kept in mind, namely that a very large part of the recreational program of defense areas and naval and training camp areas was carried on under the auspices of the voluntary organizations through the USO. The Federal Government, under the Lanham Act, provided $100,000,000 for building and equipment which is used by the voluntary organizations in their recreational programs.
In many areas the voluntary organizations operated day-care centers for children that were part of the program of community services.
One of the most highly debatable programs envisaged under community facilities and services in H. R. 1272 is the provision for establishing and maintaining day-care centers for children. During the Second World War, we acquired a good deal of experience that should be useful in this respect. Before the Bureau of Community Facilities took control, it was very difficult to get the program under way. Applications were being held up all along the line. When the program reached its height in January 1945 there were over 2,000 day-care centers caring for 101,529 children. The facilities provided for children of school age, children of preschool age, and for children after school hours. The greatest concentration was in the care of children of preschool and school ages.
At first, the day-care centers were confined to children of mothers working in war industries. Later, it was extended to all mothers. Before the centers were opened there was a great hue and cry about the need for them. This clearly did not come from the mothers themselves. It came from those who were interested
in promoting the centers. During the first year of their operation, the centers were only about one-half occupied. Another interesting thing to note about the day-care centers established in World War II was that, within a year after the termination of the war, most of the centers had been closed. In three StatesWashington, California, and New York-State funds were made available for their maintenance. I have tried to find out from a number of people who have had experience in the operation of the day centers, why they did not last. One reason given is the very large expense involved. The care of children of preschool age does involve very serious responsibilities, and it is a very expensive undertaking. Another reason given for the closing of the centers is the fact that the American people were not and are not sold on the idea of encouraging mothers with young children to go to work and turn their children over to a center operated by a governmental agency. As we look around in American communities we will find all sorts of day-care centers for children under private auspices. Apparently, there is a greater tendency to use centers of this kind rather than governmental centers. Some people will tell you that they are not operated according to good standards but a number of States do have provision for licensing them.
One of the greatest limitations of the day-care centers for children during the Second World War was their relative failure to provide for children after school hours. This is a very difficult period in the lives of children whose mothers are at work.
The promoting of day-care centers for children, particularly of young children, of mothers engaged in war industry raises many fundamental issues. In the first place, it raises question about the desirability of stimulating the employment of mothers with very young children. How far is this necessary to meet manpower shortages in war industries? Many people who advocate the extension of day-care centers will tell you about the great need for such centers in our large centers of population. It certainly cannot be said at the present time that this is a war need. We have no evidence as yet that the need for day-care centers arises from the need for women workers in war industries.
There is another point of debate in regard to providing day care for children of mothers working in war industries. Should these centers be available to all employed mothers or only to those engaged in defense industries? How are we going to establish the fact that these mothers are necessary in defense industry? I do not believe that Government can take the chance of encouraging large numbers of mothers with young children to go to work without having a social service program which would determine whether or not it is necessary for them to go to work, and which would help to make plans for those who would have to go to work. In other words, I believe mothers who must go to work in defense industries need more than custodial and recreational care for their children. They need a service
program and this service program must operate for at least twelve hours a day, and probably around the clock. I believe, moreover, that such a program should secure the participation of all the citizens of the community, it should be a program in which all groups are joined, in which church organizations, civic organizations and social agencies participate. It should not be a straight governmental program. I believe it should be a very flexible program. I believe that we stand a better chance of securing such a program under an emergency set-up than we do through the regular long-term Federal, State, and local public services.
Monsignor O'GRADY. I pointed out in that testimony that we are dealing basically with a situation growing out of the war emergency. Now, I have been hoping that it would be possible to take care of that situation without necessarily looking, without using it to blow up our present programs. I know that you can go out and find these housing needs in every city in the United States and have serious needs at the present time.
Now, if you are going to take care of all those needs at this time, that is one thing. If you are going to take care of those in-migration or workers into new areas, I think that is an entirely different story.
The CHAIRMAN. We had hoped that this being something that had to be done in a hurry for defense effort, the latter was what we were trying to accomplish in this bill.
Monsignor O'GRADY. That is what I have. As an old-time houser and one who tries to keep in touch with the situation and looks at it in realistic fashion
The CHAIRMAN. That is what we are trying to be, realistic.
Secondly, I would like in this housing that we are building, so far as your building is in areas that are going to be more or less permanent, think about it in terms of home ownership. The more I think about housing programs all around the country, the more I think of them in home ownership and I think we have got to work for that all the time because it is a traditional American institution. It is bound up with our family life and I think it is one of the greatest means of maintaining family life in our country.
I think thirdly the point that I wanted to emphasize throughout is this: I think we are looking at it realistically. I want to see as much of this done by private enterprise because I naturally am a believer in private enterprise and I have advocated other things that private enterprise could not cover but I regard that as a last resort; that is how my philosophy runs.
I would like to think about this housing in terms of the people who are buying the houses because I want to think about buying them and I would like to see the Government sell these houses that were built, if they could sell them now, to these people in defense areas. Maybe it would be a very good idea, instead of holding on to them for rental purposes.
I would like to think about keeping in mind always what rents these people can pay, these in-migrant workers who are coming into these areas. I would like to keep that in mind all the time. I would like to keep that in mind in this housing program all the time.
Another point I would like to make briefly is this: I think if we are going to get into these areas-we have various Federal agencies going into these areas and from what I can get around this town, I find that one agency is supposed to fill a need-determine a need in one thingand another agency is going to determine a need in another field.
I think we need an all-over plan for each community and some one agency might be responsible for that because I have heard talk for years and years around this town about various Federal agencies cooperating on one program and I have not seen anything like it yet. The CHAIRMAN. I certainly want to agree with you. I have been around here this will be beginning my 11th year, and I do not find any cooperation between the agencies.
Monsignor O'GRADY. I think someone has to be responsible for determining the needs in this particular area. In other words, both facilities and housing. Some one agency has to do it otherwise you are not going to get action; you are going to get debate. That is one of the things I would like to keep on emphasizing all the time. I presume that this committee will keep it in mind.
Again, I think we need, I want to repeat again what I have already said about blowing up the present programs. I think it is all right. I have advocated many of these programs but we have to keep in mind now how far this grows out of the war situation. It seems to me when you take the question of in-migration of workers, the employment, whole employment situation, the mobilizing of labor supply, that is closely tied up with housing and you cannot determine housing needs until you know how many workers you have who need housing. Then, of course, when you come to these other needs, they are a part of the same general pattern; and therefore I do not see again how it can be done by different agencies.
Now, of course I can see why one central agency could make use of them. But once in a while one gets the impression that a lot of these agencies have a lot of workers lying down that are not employed that can be turned into this job. They tell us now they are capable of handling it; they have all the experience, and maybe they have. But working on this type of program is not so easy.
If they have all these workers that are ready to be turned in on this program, then I would say that they must have been overstaffed, must be overstaffed at the present time.
There is another point that I think is closely related to this. That gets me back again to this housing situation, and that is that I have seen this happen in the last war: everybody wants to get into the defense front, and people want to abandon some of their existing programs.
Now, I recognize that we must all make sacrifices. This program cannot be carried out without sacrifices. But there is such a thing as certain minimum standards and some of these agencies have come around here and they have argued about certain programs being essential as a part of a minimum standard of life.
They should not be ready to abandon these programs until the policy is determined.
I know of certain agencies who turn their workers from very essential things into the war effort. I think that ought to be determined as a matter of policy over all. I heard a lot of debate, for instance, about all the day-care centers for children that we are going to have. I think we built up about 2,100 of them in the last war and they disappeared almost in a year. Well, that is again a question of policy. Are you going to employ immediately all these women with young children? That has to be determined as a matter of policy. Or is one particular bureau going to go out and decide that
and start a campaign in each community in the United States or is that going to be decided? We need so many women in the community and have it done as a part of an organized program or are we going to get these people who are interested in day-care centers
I think that is a mistake. I think it ought to be decided as a matter of general policy. That is, of course, again the difficulty about having each agency go out with a little program of its own, with the idea sometimes, with all good intentions, of blowing up its own special interests as against another program.
With regard to a point that was presented, I would like to emphasize or raise question about a point that has been made by the Housing and Home Finance Administrator before the committee, and that is in regard to these public housing units. I know the questions that have been raised about that in the past. I have been in the debate for about 20 years. If I were satisfied that I could find any substitutes for it, when anybody had anything to offer to provide housing for the very lowest income groups, I would be willing to go along with them; but I have not found any such person yet. But I notice they are making it possible now to turn over these 5,000 units they built during this past year. They were supposed to have built 810,000 houses in 10 years and we built 5,000 in the past year and we have 30,000 more under way. And as I see it from the testimony, they are all willing to turn all those over to war housing or defense housing.
I think that is a mistake because the needs are so great as I see it now, in the cities, and we have gone ahead with all public improvements including the great city of St. Louis, has gone ahead and made a lot of public improvements and so have other cities. They have demolished houses.
There is a dire need for housing among these low-income groups and I think until we have an all-out war effort that we might have to pass up everything but why are we going to pass up these minimum essentials for the time being? I have serious question about that statement, and I want to emphasize that again in my talk.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions?
We appreciate your coming up, sir, and giving us your views. We will have your testimony printed.
If there is nothing further to come before the committee at this time, the meeting will stand recessed until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Whereupon, at 11:45 a. m., the hearing was recessed until 10 a. m., Friday, February 16, 1951.)
DEFENSE HOUSING ACT
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 1951
UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON BANKING AND CURRENCY,
Washington, D. C.
The committee met at 10 a. m., pursuant to recess, in room 301, Senate Office Building, Senator Burnet R. Maybank (chairman) presiding.
Present: Senators Maybank and Schoeppel.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please be in order.
I understand Mr. Green has an 11 o'clock appointment, and I will ask if he will come on up at this time.
I am sorry there are not more members here, but some of them are out of the city, and some of the members of this committee are also members of the Foreign Relations Committee, who have a hearing with Secretary Acheson this morning, but I am certain, Mr. Green, that everyone will read with interest your testimony as they always do, and some of them have asked me to extend to you their regrets.
Before you proceed, I would like to place in the record a letter from Mr. Charles E. Wilson, from the Executive Office of the President, Office of the Director, the letter in substance approving of the bill and urging its passage as soon as possible.
Will the reporter please have that letter inserted in the record at this point.
(The letter referred to is as follows:)
Hon. BURNET R. MAYBANK,
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
OFFICE OF DEFENSE MOBILIZATION, Washington 25, D. C., February 1, 1951.
Chairman, Banking and Currency Committee,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C.
MY DEAR SENATOR: I desire to take this opportunity to express to your committee my views regarding the importance to the mobilization program of the bill S. 349, which you recently introduced and upon which your committee is now holding hearings. This bill, to be known as the Defense Housing and Community Facilities and Services Act of 1951, embodies recommendations of the President made in his state of the Union and budget messages for legislation to assure that the housing and community facilities required to support direct basic defense activities can be provided where they are needed in time to avoid disruption to the defense program.
The seriousness of the situation with which we are presently confronted, and which has made necessary the undertaking of a mobilization program of the character now contemplated cannot be overemphasized. It is our purpose to carry out this program to the maximum extent practicable through the use of existing facilities, but acute shortages of housing and community facilities for the men required to man the production lines are already developing in some areas. Where new facilities are being built or existing facilities are being expanded the shortage of housing accommodations and community facilities for the manpower flowing into these areas raises a problem of magnitude and im