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

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

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

…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