National Housing Act

National Housing Act

The National Housing Act was passed by Congress, and signed into law by FDR, in 1934. It created the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), an agency designed to boost loans for building houses. Before the Great Depression, the federal government had very little involvement in the housing market, so the FHA role was groundbreaking. 

This bill is one of those hidden pieces of legislation that radically transformed the possibility for the American working class to have a middle-class life at home, all built on federal guarantees to regulation of the mortgage industry and the mechanics to push money into the hands of homeowners. It propped up whole industries and paved the way to the suburbs that brought workers out of slum and into new (or improved) homes.

Cry Wolf Quotes

I am speaking first because I am a home owner, and every member of my family has been a home owner, and my home is not a failure. I say that if this bill goes through that my home will be a failure, and every other home built in America on materials that have been used for 1,500 years, and I say that the United States should not be an experimental agency for those who wish to have them exploit scientific houses. I say further that the American home can be protected by Congress, and Congress only, and if this Government is to survive as a democracy, for God’s sake, kill this bill.

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Statement of Don A. Loftus, President Homes Permanesque, Cleveland, OH, Testimony, House Committee on Banking and Currency.
05/18/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): National Housing Act

Gentlemen, most of the home owners want to keep their credit. We are not asking that we escape our responsibilities; we just want to find a way to pay, and we do not want you to make it harder for us.

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Miss Marie L. Obenauer, Joint Chairman, Board of Governors of Home Owners’ Protective Enterprise, Testimony. Committee on Banking and Currency. Senate.
05/18/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): National Housing Act

There were many reasons why many of us who ordinarily would not like regimentation of industry—and we do not like regimentation of agriculture or any of the other instrumentalities of production—saw reasons under the emergency why it should be done, as an emergency say. But none of the reasons for which that was done in that character of industry holds good for any bill that will lead to a regimentation of American citizens, to say what he shall do with his individual home.

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Miss Marie L. Obenauer, Joint Chairman, Board of Governors of Home Owners’ Protective Enterprise, Testimony. Committee on Banking and Currency. Senate.
05/16/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): National Housing Act

…we object to the bill on the ground that there is no limitation of interest to be charged to home owners by agencies that enjoy the benefit of the act at the expense of all taxpayers, including the victimized home owners.

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Miss Marie L. Obenauer, Joint Chairman, Board of Governors of Home Owners’ Protective Enterprise, Testimony. Committee on Banking and Currency. Senate.
05/16/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): National Housing Act