Box 7, Folder 13, Document 31

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The Urban Coalition Executive Committee calls upon Congress
and the nation to take bold and immediate action to fulfill the

national need stated in the Housing Act of 1949 for "a decent

home and suitable living environment for every American family"

with guarantees of equal access to all housing, new and existing.

We believe that the President's urban affairs message and
the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 are important con-
tributions to this end--both in clearly stating the urgency of
the needs and in creating new avenues of public and private coop-
eration. A long-range program is vital if we are to have the
continuity of effort to plan, coordinate and implement the recon-
struction of our cities with maximum effectiveness. We strongly
urge Congress and all Americans to support the steps that are so
essential to the growth and progress of our nation and its citizens.

A number of measures set forth are major contributions to

improving efficiency, increasing scale and encouraging greater
involvement of the resources of the private sector. In particular
we cite:

--The plans to provide homeownership opportunities for low
and moderate income families through flexible interest
subsidies linked to family incomes and financed in the
private sector.

--The steps to expand rental and cooperative housing for
low and moderate income families through flexible inter-

est subsidies linked to family income and the greater
encouragement of private sector financing.

March 14, 1968
Page 2

--The provisions for technical assistance and advice to
nonprofit sponsors.

--The proposed extension and strengthening of the rent
supplement program.

--The extension of the public housing program with increased
emphasis on quality and vital related social services.
These are much needed improvements.

--The New Communities Act which can be an important step
in creating new and balanced living environments.

--The creation of Neighborhood Development Programs to
expedite the planning and implementation of urban renewal
and rehabilitation.

--The proposed National Housing Partnerships which respond
to the need for imaginative vehicles through which private
corporations may join together and become more deeply in-
volved in the social and physical aspects of urban develop-

--The proposed expansion of the Model Cities Program.

--The emphasis by the President on the need for the passage
of effective fair housing legislation.

--The efforts to make the mortgage more attractive and com-
petitive as a financial instrument.

--The expansion and improvement of research and development
activities which are crucial to reduce the cost of housing
and increase productivity.

The measures outlined by the President are essential if housing
and urban reconstruction are to have their just and proper priority.
However, we must remember that the reconstruction of our cities
involves all aspects of our society and directly affects the lives
and well-being of every citizen. The best of ideas are no better
than their implementation, and achieving the goals set forth will

require a host of other factors.

March 14, 1968
Page 3

Efforts to improve the competitive position of the mortgage
are beneficial, but in themselves they will not produce a drama-
tic increase overnight in the availability of funds. Sound
national monetary and fiscal policies are essential if the
financial resources necessary for new housing are to be forth-
coming from the private sector, and if we are to provide essential
public services. Success will also demand a deep personal commit-
ment and a dedication to innovation by all Americans whether in

the public or private sectors.

We also believe there are additional considerations vital

to achieving the goals of the Housing and Urban Development Act

of 1968. We urge Congress and the American people to consider the
following recommendations:

--To minimize land speculation and related problems, a con-
certed effort must be made to develop new means for the
acquisition of property so that existing and proposed pro-
grams can be implemented. Attention should be paid to
ideas such as creating federal, state and local multi-
purpose authorities and quasi-public agencies to under-
take land and property acquisition and site development
for large scale ventures.

--Steps must be taken to assure that the "workable program"
requirements, as a condition of urban assistance in
federally-aided programs, do not serve as a barrier to
low and moderate income housing.

--Further steps are necessary to assure that regulations,
especially concerning cost and income limits, are rea-
listic in terms of local area conditions.

--Continuing efforts to eliminate red tape and to streamline
operations are of paramount importance to the success of
all existing and proposed programs.

_ March 14, 1968
Page 4

--Continuing, independent evaluation processes should be
established to measure the effectiveness of government
programs against their goals. We must break the long-
established tradition of building one program on top
of another and assure that the various programs are com-
bined in the most efficient and effective manner.

A major national effort must include a primary emphasis on
people and their needs--with respect for the community and full
provision of all necessary commercial and social facilities and
services. It must also include high architectural standards and
first-class construction for attractive homes and neighborhoods.
As part of an overall effort to rebuild our urban areas, new and
rehabilitated low-rent housing should be located in both the city
and the suburbs and interspersed with other types of rental and
private housing for the creation of balanced neighborhoods. We
must strive for dynamic communities in which all residents can
share a sense of dignity and security.

We recognize that, at best, the dissolution of the racial
ghettos in our large cities is a long range task. Pending disso-
lution, the intolerable conditions that exist in the ghettos must
be alleviated and required funds must be provided. We agree, how-
ever, with the President's Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders
that "This can be no more than an interim strategy." We shall
achieve neither equality nor social peace by building physically

improved but apartheid compounds. Our primary goal must be a

single, integrated society. To this end, we urge that in allo-

March 14, 1968
Page 5

cating public funds for housing, education, recreation and

other facilities, preference be given to programs that embrace

a metropolitan or regional area including a city and its environs
and that will demonstrably advance integration.

We have come to a time when we must realize that existing
housing markets and housing programs simply do not meet the
needs of millions of Americans. A long-run solution requires
both technological progress to lower housing development costs
and broad social, educational and economic efforts to raise in-
come levels for all Americans. But time is short, and we must
begin to solve our housing problems now. Having recognized the
urgency of our housing needs, we must strive to develop the most
effective mix of public and private resources for carrying out a

broad cooperative program. We must apply wide vision and hard

realism if our goals are to be realized and if we are not to

have new aspirations become further frustrations. Only a massive
and carefully coordinated endeavor will achieve the scale required
if each American is to have the long-denied opportunity of a

decent home and suitable living environment.

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