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Where can I find relevant info on housing during the great depression - I am having...

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marleego | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 24, 2008 at 1:34 AM via web

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Where can I find relevant info on housing during the great depression - I am having trouble finding good info.

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted April 24, 2008 at 2:22 AM (Answer #1)

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There is very detailed information on housing in the link below, including the following passage:

Franklin D. Roosevelt became president of the United States on March 4, 1933. He knew he needed to revive the housing market if unemployment was to be conquered and banks were to again serve as mortgage lenders. Several congressmen, including Senator Robert F. Wagner of New York, suggested developing grand-scale European-style housing projects. But President Roosevelt held the very American notion that the ideal home was a single, privately owned structure on a small plot of land. He had no interest in multilevel, multifamily dwellings. However, Roosevelt was a practical man and knew that urban housing problems would have to be resolved within the urban setting. So Roosevelt decided on a path of stopping foreclosures and making private homes more affordable. In 1933 and 1934 New Deal legislation concentrated on these issues as well as the related goal of stimulating the home construction industry.

On June 13, 1933, Congress passed the Home Owners' Refinancing Act, which created the Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC). Next, on June 28, 1934, Congress passed the National Housing Act, which created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). President Roosevelt also needed to address inner-city housing problems. The most important resulting legislation was the National Housing Act of 1937, better known as the Wagner-Steagall Housing Act.

 Try focusing on thise housing acts.

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mjush | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted April 24, 2008 at 2:54 AM (Answer #2)

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Here is a great site: http://www.tenant.net/Community/History/hist03a.html

Here is an excerpt from this site to see if it is helpful:

The period between 1929 and 1943 was a time of extraordinary ferment among tenants and of innovation and experimentation within the sphere of housing policy. The era began with organized tenant activism at a low ebb; with the exception of a small Harlem-centered movement, there was little protest against the expiration of the last of the Emergency Rent Laws passed after World War I. But the coming of the Great Depression created crises in the housing market, which stimulated mass tenant protest and a powerful liberal-philanthropic coalition for housing reform. First came an anti-eviction movement, led by Communists, that sought to reduce the impact of mass unemployment on beleaguered tenants; then came a campaign for tenement house upgrading led by social work and philanthropic organizations; then came a campaign for public housing supported by liberals and tenant activists; and then a campaign for wartime rent control led by a broad spectrum of the city's Left. The political forces unleashed here were extremely diverse, but they were united by one significant trend: the failure of a depression-weakened housing market and private construction industry to provide safe, affordable housing to the third of the city's population who were unemployed or underemployed.

Sources:

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revolution | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 25, 2010 at 12:29 AM (Answer #3)

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Here's another great article:

During the Great Depression, millions of people were out of work across the United States. Unable to find another job locally, many unemployed people hit the road, traveling from place to place, hoping to find some work. A few of these people had cars, but most hitchhiked or "road the rails." A large portion of the people who road the rails were teenagers, but there were also older men, women, and entire families who traveled in this manner. They would board freight trains and crisscross the country, hoping to find a job in one of the towns along the way. When there was a job opening, there were often literally a thousand people applying for the same job. Those who weren't lucky enough to get the job would perhaps stay in a shantytown (known as "Hoovervilles") outside of town. Housing in the shantytown was built out of any material that could be found freely, like driftwood, cardboard, or even newspapers. The farmers who had lost their homes and land usually headed west to California, where they heard rumors of agricultural jobs. Unfortunately, although there was some seasonal work, the conditions for these families were transient and hostile. Since many of these farmers came from Oklahoma and Arkansas, they were called the derogatory names of "Okies" and "Arkies." (The stories of these migrants to California were immortalized in the fictional book, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.) The U.S. economy broke down and entered the Great Depression during the presidency of Herbert Hoover. Although President Hoover repeatedly spoke of optimism, the people blamed him for the Great Depression. Just as the shantytowns were named Hoovervilles after him, newspapers became known as "Hoover blankets," pockets of pants turned inside out (to show they were empty) were called "Hoover flags," and broken-down cars pulled by horses were known as "Hoover wagons."During the 1932 presidential election, Hoover did not stand a chance at reelection and Roosevelt won in a landslide. People of the United States had high hopes that President Roosevelt would be able to solve all their woes. As soon as Roosevelt took office, he closed all the banks and only let them reopen once they were stabilized. Next, Roosevelt began to establish programs that became known as the New Deal. These New Deal programs were most commonly known by their initials, which reminded some people of alphabet soup. Some of these programs were aimed at helping farmers, like the AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Administration). While other programs, such as the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and the WPA (Works Progress Administration), attempted to help curb unemployment by hiring people for various projects.

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