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

Believe such legislation would eventually seriously injure home-financing institutions which have been in existence in the country over a hundred years.

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Telegram from G.A. Mortimer, State Building and Loan Association, Inc. in the statement of Hon. Compton I. White, Idaho Congressman, Testimony, House Committee on Banking and Currency.
05/18/1934 | Full Details | Law(s): National Housing Act

Taken as a whole, the effect of the creation of the insurance corporation is to put the Government directly into the lending business, not only for the repair of homes, but for the installation of frigidaires, water heaters, and other equipment, and as to which there would be no lien whatever. Furthermore, it puts the Government directly into the business of lending as much as 80 percent for the construction of new homes, and an unlimited percent for low-cost housing. The practical application of this act would be to drive existing lending institutions out of business; and by reason of loans where there is no security, will mean untold losses to the Government.

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Maco Stewart, Galveston, TX, Attorney, 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

…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