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

What is more, I do not believe that the home-owning family, with its back against the wall, fighting for the protection of its children, fighting for a way to live in some other way than on Mr. Hopkins’ relief rolls is going to jeopardize the family shelter for any such purpose. I think it is nothing short of a crime to use the money of the taxpayers to incite people to go into debts they do not know how they are going to meet and by which they are going further to jeopardize the family shelter.

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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

Now what need is there for doing this sort of thing? I hold in my hand, Mr. Chairman, a section of last night’s Star, which I have cut out. Here are six reputable loaning agencies in Washington, one of them representing the Metropolitan Life, another the Prudential, another an insurance company on its own initiative, who are loaning, and they are advertising for borrowers. Why load us with the expense and with the burden of this bill?

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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

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

…this board of 5 to 7 men in Washington can determine what is socially desirable housing in every community in the land, and under the powers conferred they can make their judgments effective. Call it by any name you choose the smell of such regimentation of American homes will be the same in the nostrils of the American home-owning public.

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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