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

Mr. Chairman, the country does not want to give away its birthright to capital, and this sets up capital and a political organization at the top of it. It is the marriage of capital and politics, and you cannot escape it to save your life.

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Harry E. Karr, Real Estate Board of Baltimore, Testimony, Committee on Banking and Currency. Senate.
05/16/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): National Housing Act

I am not speaking officially for any organization of women but my experience with these groups covering a period of 25 years gives me a very fair idea of the reactions of the women of the Nation to any plan that even suggests regimentation or standardization of their homes. This is also the thought of president of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs who said in a public address of the 11th of this month: ‘We want no standardization of homes, we want individualism, and we sound that note of warning to the Government in our cooperation with them.’

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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

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

I do not see that it is the function of Congress to tell me whether I shall take a straight loan or whether I shall take an amortized loan. It does not make any difference to me whether you tell it to me in blunt terms through officials here in Washington, or whether you so rig the financial market that I must steer the course that you lay out for me. I do not think that we ought to expect such legislation from legislators who represent a party that stands for initiative, for the rights of the States, and the rights of the community. I do not think we are going to get it from them.

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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