Growing Magnitude of Slum Problem
Action in Congress on Housing Legislation
Debate in Congress on the future of the urban renewal program emphasizes the persistence and growing magnitude of the slum problem in American cities. A Senate-passed omnibus housing bill, now awaiting action by the House, aims largely at speeding up slum elimination and making better housing available to families at the lower end of the income scale.
The pending bill was originally framed by the Subcommittee on Housing of the Senate Banking and Currency Committee after it had received statements from dozens of municipal officials explaining why slum clearance in their localities had lagged and in some cases bogged down. Many of the bill's provisions follow recommendations of those officials on ways to put new life into the national urban renewal program, which now provides the major incentives and much of the machinery for slum clearance in the United States.
The housing bill, as passed by the Senate July 11, went far beyond administration recommendations and its proposals for spending on urban renewal have been further expanded by the House Committee on Banking and Currency. Before the Senate acted, Albert M. Cole, federal Housing and Home Finance Administrator, had condemned many of the bill's provisions as “ill-conceived” and “wholly unacceptable”; Sen. Prescott Bush (R-Conn.) has since warned that the legislation might be vetoed if sent to the President in the form approved by the upper house.