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

We do not think there is either any social or any economic necessity for the insurance of present mortgages.

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Friedlander, President of the Gibraltar Savings & Building Association, Houston, TX. And Vice-President of the United States Building & Loan League, Testimony. Committee on Banking and Currency. Senate. May 16-19, 21-24, 1934.
05/16/1934 | 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

Gentlemen, most of the home owners want to keep their credit. We are not asking that we escape our responsibilities; we just want to find a way to pay, and we do not want you to make it harder for us.

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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

…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