THE PUBLIC HOUSING DEBATE



CONTENTS:



Introduction



Does Texas need public housing?



Problems facing public housing



The past:

Beginnings of public housing

Public Works Administration builds public housing

Housing Act of 1937

Public housing in Texas

Special interest, race and local control



Solutions to fix public housing



Postscript: Allen Parkway Village today



For more information



TxLIHIS' work in public housing

copyright 1998 Texas Low Income Housing Information Service

The past: Special interests, race and local control
Housing Act of 1949: bipartisan support for public housing
Support for public housing in the post war years was bipartisan, however.
Senator Robert Taft, a prominent Republican provided strong support. "I believe that the Government must see that every family has a minimum standard of decent shelter.... The hand-me-down theory works, but it works to provide indecent housing to those who get it on the last hand-down. ... We cannot pour in all the assistance from the top, and that is all private industry can do, or be expected to do. I think we must also attack the problem from the bottom..."

The provision in the 1949 Housing Bill providing for additional public housing passed narrowly: 209 - 204 forecasting trouble ahead for public housing. The race baiting tactics of the anti-housing lobby and Senator McCarthy had solidified a coalition of conservative Republicans and conservative Southern Democrats against a government role in housing.
Robert Taft, a leading Republican Senator, was a crucial public housing supporter who recognized the fallacy of the 'trickle down' theory of housing. (Photo: Dallas Public Library)
Preamble of the 1949 Housing Act
The Congress declares that the general welfare and security of the Nation and the health and living standards of its people require housing production and related community development sufficient to remedy the serious housing shortage, the elimination of substandard and other inadequate housing through the clearance of slums and blighted areas, and the realization as soon as feasible of the goal of a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family, thus contributing to the development and redevelopment of communities and to the advancement of the growth, wealth, and security of the Nation.

Houston's public housing fights of the 1940's-50's