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

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 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

…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

The enactment of the foregoing bill as introduced would, in our opinion, eventually ruin the original home thrift institutions, such as ours, and approximately 11,000 others in the United States holding the savings of 10,000,000 of our people in the aggregate sum of approximately $8,000,000,000.

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Telegram from H.J. Hull 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