Box 22, Folder 18, Document 11

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PEAS lye


Afternoon Session: December 6, 1966

ssor of Sociology and Anthropology
y (St. Louis)

WITNESS; Lee Rainwater, Profe
Washin.:ton Universit

SUBJECT: Poverty ana Deprivation in the Crisis of the American City

Professor Fainwater told the Subcommittee that until we make really
significant headway in solving the poverty problem (and thereby also
the problems of race and ethnicity) it will prove impossible to plan
urban environments in a rational way, in a way that is useful and
satisfying to urban populations.

He started by describing one particular lower class Negro community
which, with a dozen colleagues, he studied intensively for the past
3 years. This is the Pruitt-Isoe Housing Project in St. Louis.
Built in 1954, the project was the first high-rise public housing
in the city. It consists of 33 eleven story slab shaned tuildings
cestgned to provide housing for about 2,800 families. At present,

it houses about 10,000 Negroes in 2,060 households. What staxked
out as a precedent-breaking project to improve the lives of the
or in St. Louis, a project nailed not only by the local newspapers

but by Architectural Forum, has become an embarrassment to all con-
cerned. In the last few years, the project has at all times had a
vacancy rate of over 20 percent. News of crime and accidents in
the project makes a regular appearance in the newspapers, and the
words Pruitt-Igoe have become a heusehold term for the worst in
ghetto living in lower class Neszro homes, as well as in the larger
community. :

Pruitt-Igoe, in Professor Rainwater's opinion, condenses into one
5f-acre tract all of the problems and difficulties that arise from

race and poverty, and all of the impotence, indifference, and hostility
with which our society has so far dealt with these problems. Processes
that are sometimes beneath the surface in less virulent lower class
sluns are reedily appzrent in Pruitt-Igoe. Because Pruitt-Igoe exists
as one kind of Federal Government response to the problems of poverty,
the failure of that response will perhaps be of particular interest

to the Committee, Professor Rainwater said.

Professor Fainwater brought out the following
Pruitte-Iz poe:


fy2 ty varceing things out of windows, hurting

5. Tenents, therefore, have s jaundiced view of the Public Housing
3 ’ J ‘

professor Rainwater séid tnat we must start with an understanding
of why lower class iife is this way. He believes the lower classes
act this way because oar two problems:

1. Inability to find work and adequate pay.
2. Because of lack of finances, they live among other indivicuels
similarly situated, individuals who, the experience of their
daily lives teaches them, are dangerous, difficult, out to
exploit or hurt them in petty or significant ways. And they
learn that in their comnunities they can expect only poor and
inferior service and protection from such institutions as the
police, the courts, the schools, the sanitation department, the
landlords end the merchants. ‘

Professor Rainwater contended that efforts to solve the. general
problems of urban management will forever be frustrated, or at least
much, much more costly without a solution to the problem of poverty,
both urban and rural.

He proposed channeling national income (particularly the yearly
increment in national incone ie families in the lower thirty to
can) ,

forty percent of the population so that a femily income floor is
established which is not too far below the median inceme for
American families es a whole.

Professor Rainwater thinks that there are basically two strategies
implicit in the various programs and suggested plans for doing
something about poverty. One, by far the most entrenched eat present,
might be called the services stratezy, and the other the income

In his opinion, the problem with the services apprcach is that to
a considerable extent it carries the latent assumption either that
the poor are permanently poor and therefore must have special
services, or that the poor can be changed(by learning productive

skills, by learning how to use their money more wisely, by developing
3 Ee o J = S

better attitudes, ete.) while they are still poor and that once
they have changed they will then be able to accomplish in ways that

will do aveay with their poverty.


A second problem, h approach is
priority of needs o

service programs 4



An example he described 3 t the
provides a service to SaGh. MELE EOOLE
a subsidized apsrunent that costs 2
a fifth of the mean family Bete ants in the project.
It is very likely that frem the point of view of the needs of many
of the femilies who live in Pruitt-Igoe that $55 could be put to
much better use.

the Federal pudlic housing program
i ruitt-Igoe in the form of
2 a year. This amounts to

The Professor said that those economists who have pursued this line
f thinking in studying the problem of poverty have suggested that

the income strategy requires three elements:

A. An eggrerzational approuch--vhich involves general economic
planning Cirected at the maintenance of tight full employment with
a real unemployment rate (that is, taking into account labor force
drop outs) that is extremely low. Such an employment rate has
charecterized this country only during the height of World War II.

B. A structural approach--which compensa php the tendency for unemploy-
ment ancns ioe ah gxilled workers to relatively high
levels even under conditions of then full employment. Such an
approach would require that Federal programs to bring adout full
employment be tied to guarantees of lator force entry jobs for
unskilled men, and guarantees of training cn the job to upgrade
those skills. In this context, thst is tic nt, full employment
at all skill levels, a high minimum wege would also be necessary
and would not have the negative effect of hastening the replacement
of men by machings.

C. An income maintenance progrem--which fills in the income gap not
touched by the tight full employrent programs. The income main-
tenance program would be required for families with dissbled or
no male head and where the wife should not work because of the
ages or number of the children. ee a program could take the
forma of sem ry S1.eeanes , a nesavive Income Tax, Or &n sunpes


the San ts current income maintenance
prozrams ‘Garnieal Lari c and otner types of public are
since these are by f most stiguatizing poverty programs

Mr. Kotler dascribed to the Subcommittees. tr 6 ectivit ies and eccomplish
the ZCcc ject i he success


required to

led oy a


Mr. Kotler made the following recommendations:

l. The Federal Government can assist the formation of neighborhood
corporations by funding their administrative costs and program

The indeper nb rood corporations of a city snould become
delegate agenc existing Community Action Organization.

The neighborhood corporations would use the Federal funds to sub-
contract to private industry to rebuild the city. ,

An alternative is for the neighborhood corporation to beccme a

delezate agency of the local housing authority.

WITNESS: William A. Doebele, dr., Professor of City and Regiona
Plannins, Associate Dean for Development, The Graduate
School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, Messachus

Professor Dosbele made the following recommendations:

1. That it request the Secretary of the ve ar
_ Urban Development to initiate at the earli

in cooperation with appropriate Seosest cor toe ecateasione and
universities, a comprehensive study of manpower resources in the
field of urban affairs, relating the. same to the needs of both
the public and private sectors, and the requirements not only
of existing programs, but those contemplated or likely within
the next decade.

2. That the current $500,000 appropriation for fellowships for

- graduate study in community planning and allied fields, first
provided for in the Housitig Act of 19S, but not funded until
this year, be immediately increased to ae ae east $10 million
per year, and extended to cover urban studies in many fields

and at many levels of training.

the most critical shortage of personnel is at the

positions, a ria t 35 million per year for
approprieted, r ury pronotin

15 schools of
drew Wilson
S, and the

Heneoi s b Prineete
new Kez neds Tnstd tut






kh, That an eguive ewes a for the purpose of doing
research and estat zreus relating to the training
of inhabitants of parcicips ate effectively in the actual

rebuilding of their owa environuent.

be m iniedle available

iu bj for cist ri buses ----os-
izations Tor studies to
erstanding of the

ee ee

5. That
tion to univers
increase as rap
nature of urbteni

SE eS cr a na



i ar

dly as = oRBIble our b
zation and urban eres

6. That a separate sum of not less than $250 million per year be established
under the administration of one or several Federal Departments for the
cone tees of larva-seale exverimental uroan environments, to test

and eveluste, « methods of the social end natural sciences,

the effects AE a wide ranse of Bess bilities which are now technolosically
feasible but cannot te built be s2 Of financial, lezal or other

In reply to a question by Senator Kennedy, the Professor said that he would
put a priority on his first recommendation, the second suggestion next,

and then number five es third priority. Senator Kennedy wes very impressed
with the professor's recommendations to get more information about urban
environments, since this is one of the reasons the problems have not beer:
solved at this time.

Main questions raised by Senators Ribicoff and Kennedy (the only members

1. Pruitt-Igoe public housing project in St. Louis.

Senator Ribicoff asked Professor Rainwater whether there were any
advantages at all to living in Pruitt-Igoe, and the Professor replied
that the tenants were pleased with the interiors of the apartments,
but that the world that has grown up around the piedes and within
its boundaries is what gives the project its bad nam

Ribicoff was interested in whether this project sheds any light on

public housing in general. The Professor said that it shows that

public housing should be built at scattered sites and in small settle
: ments.

2. Use of public housing money.

so discussed. That
similar to the old
¢ pointed cut that Dennerk
o to provide Low-income
sO rent up to 20 percent
of his building to Low-income families (rent suvsidies). Professor
Rainwater told Senator Ribdicoff that he definitely would substitute
something else fer the present public housing program although
the program worss better in some places then in others.

A propose] meade

proposal would 2

Homestead Act. Sroreseor 2

uses cooperatives and nonpro

housing ty zZivi the cwaer a subsidy

* CO

Cooperation between HUD and other agencies in Pruitt-Igoe,.


Professor Rainwater told the Subcommittee that there have been

many efforts to coordinate activities in this project by HUD

and the Labor Department, but they have never really gotten off .
the ground. He said there is not @ tremendous amount of coordination.
In 1961, e Concerted Programs Services was begun, but was not very


Role of the Universities.

Professor Rainwater,in reply to Senator Ribicofr, said that he

aid not think that a University could use the money that is being
spent on Pruitt-Isoe and do a better job than the Government is doing
now. He said that his group are not practicners. He thinks the

real prodliem in public hcusing is political. Whether the country

is willing to do a better job. He thinks the role of the university
is to develop prozrams for the young people and to try and understand
the comunity.

Higher incomes - key to the protlen.

In Professor Rainvater's Opinion, the real key to urtan slums is to
provide people with an adeguete income. He thinks this has
priority over housing and everything else. The solution to the
problem of insceque te income would simplify all the other problems.

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