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

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

How much limitation do you put on your Federal Reserve in running your banking business of this country? There is no limit to that.

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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

…we are convinced that first and most fundamental, the bill sets up machinery which leads straight for Federal regimentation of American home-buying, home building, home finance, and home repair.

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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