Editorial, July 15, 1997
With the exception of Indianapolis, Cleveland, Atlanta and Detroit, there has been a noticeable lack of intelligently directed effort to secure the benefits of improved housing in the congested, and often neglected Negro areas of our cities. One of the difficulties has undoubtedly been the inability to create financially responsible agencies able to acquire the necessary equity in the land to qualify for governmental loans.
Happily this difficulty has been eliminated by the action of Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. Now it is possible for qualified public authority to secure an outright grant from the government of 30 per cent of the cost of labor and materials and a long time loan of the remaining 70 per cent for the erection of low cost dwellings. By this generous act of the national administration it would appear that the greatest obstacle to better housing has been removed. And it is up to all of those interested in the Negro to bend every effort to secure the eradication of the unsightly, unhealthy slums that now disfigure our cities, and the erection in their stead of sanitary, low cost housing. Nothing certainly is more needed by the Negro in the urban centers of the nation, and nothing will contribute more to a reduction of his frightful death rate, juvenile delinquency and crime, much of which can be directly traced to bad housing.
In New York the legislature is being asked to create a City Housing Authority which will give the city itself the opportunity to take full advantage of the offer of the Federal Government. The Housing Authority Bill should certainly receive the endorsement and support of Harlem's not insignificant Negro population and the legislators who are its representatives.