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Senator CHILES. Our next witness will be Mr. Robert W. Maffin, the chairman of the Steering Committee of the National Ad Hoc Housing Committee.
Mr. Maffin, we are delighted to have you here. I know that you have got a fairly lengthy statement. If there is any way you can paraphrase that for us we will put your entire statement in the record. We are operating under some time constraints.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT W. MAFFIN, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL AD
HOC HOUSING COALITION, ACCOMPANIED BY JAMES TWOMEY, VICE CHAIRMAN AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, NONPROFIT HOUSING CENTER; JAMES H. HARVEY, SECRETARY-TREASURER, HOUSING COMPONENTS OF THE LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE ON CIVIL RIGHTS; REV. ROBERT E. JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN, INTERRELIGIOUS COALITION FOR HOUSING; AND TIMOTHY D. NAEGELE, COORDINATOR AND GENERAL COUNSEL TO THE AD HOC COALITION
Mr. MAFFIN. I completely understand, Mr. Chairman. I have with me other people in the coalition, Mr. James Twomey, who is vice chairman and also director of the Nonprofit Housing Center, Mr. James Harvey, who is secretary-treasurer, and also director of the housing components of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and Rev. Robert Johnson, in the Interreligious Coalition on Housing, and Mr. Timothy Naegele, who is coordinator and general counsel to the ad hoc coalition.
In addition to our prepared statement, of which you have copies, Mr. Chairman, I will paraphrase; there are some supporting documents which we would like to have entered into the record.
Senator CHILEs. We will be happy to enter those into the record.
Mr. MAFFIN. I am Robert Maffin and I am chairman of the National Ad Hoc Housing Coalition. We are here because the issue with which this committee is dealing has impacted heavily upon the housing needs. This coalition is composed of over half a hundred national organizations organized in the early part of this year and has been followed by local coalitions formed and being formed across the country. The coalitions of labor, minority groups, religious groups, financial interests, contractors, tenants, landlords, professionals and a variety of others.
We are before the committee today because housing is involved in this issue with which you are dealing.
Housing like so many other social programs is caught in the web of conflicting commitments and policies between the legislative and executive branches of the Government.
We are here because housing is affected by recent announcements that programs now law by legislative enactment and Executive signature are to be substantially or severely cut back, suspended or terminated during the remainder of this fiscal year and all of fiscal 1974.
Assisted housing, that is, rent supplement, section 235, 236, public housing, are suspended as of January 5, 1973.
College housing terminated by January 5, 1973.
Public housing modernization suspended by June 30, 1973. Model cities, neighborhood facilities, open space land, water and sewer facilities, urban renewal programs, rehabilitation loans, community development and training and fellowship programs, supplementary grants for new communities, all terminated by June 30, 1973.
The suspension and termination of new commitments for HUD assisted housing and related programs housing a loan results in $431 million of authority approved by the Congress which will not be used. If it were released this would produce or rehabilitate over
half a million housing units for low and moderate income families. The following programs are involved and here I list several programs and their impact.
The total economic impact of this withholding is about $19 million in the GNP and almost two and a quarter million man-years’ loss.
Now these programs either early or lately enacted are the embodiments of this Nation's commitment to serve the peoples' housing needs. On the basis of these commitments people have acted, committed, committed their organizations, they have planned, cities and States have acted and committed and planned the level of expectations of many individuals seeking to improve their living environment and now are all caught in the midst of conflicts of national policies. It is clear that the Congress has acted, it is clear that the funds are available, it is clear that the private and public sectors are acting or are prepared to act to use these programs to serve the Nation's housing needs, but now they are being clearly cut back, suspended or terminated. We wonder who sets national policies? We wonder who establishes national priorities? In whom is this power vested?
In a government where powers are balanced between three branches and three levels, there is a long and complex array of people's interests, governments and authorities embodied in the development of setting and development of national policies and priorities but that, of course, is why these hearings are being held and that is why we are here. This coalition is a case in point. There are groups
within this coalition who question the level of public involvement in housing. There are those within this coalition who question the private sector's capacity alone to deal with the Nation's housing needs but within the coalition all are committed to the goal of housing. For years members of this coalition from their respective prospectives have worked with one another or against one another, have worked with property owners, neighborhood groups, planning commissions, city councils, mayors, State governments, Governors, Congressmen, the President, and yet we have to work through the courts to gradually build the set of programs at all levels of government aimed at meeting the Nation's housing needs. In this process these groups and interests have geared their capacity and actions to use these programs and now those programs are suspended or terminated.
By what authority? We can understand cutbacks to deal with the insidious and persuasive influences of inflation but it has not been made clear why the cutbacks need be made in housing.
We can understand that some programs might even be suspended when no public need is to be served. President Jefferson took such action on a gunboat fleet on the Mississippi, when it was no longer foreign territory. He impounded there.
We cannot understand how after this long process of arriving at public programs and public priorities a singular decision can suddenly terminate.
These actions, it appears to us, do not reflect the processes of our Government nor recognize the diversity of interests and needs that are to be served in this broad country. The energies, long-term commitments, and resources of such a diverse group as this coalition, are frustrated and dissipated by a single act.
But the problem goes farther. Let us take the issue of priorities. There is a long standing threat of conflict there. Government closest to the people is best able to make decisions of what the public should do. Let me give you a specific example of how this has changed.
Several years ago the Congress enacted a direct loan program for property rehabilitation under section 312 of the National Housing Act. This program was a loan program directly from the Federal Government to property owners. The loan was to be used in neighborhoods that were declining and where the public and private sectors and machinery were improving these properties and were helping where inadequate. The loans were designed to help people to improve their property to help those who are able to and willing and help themselves to conserve our housing resources. Hundreds of cities across this country and some States have used this program. They have relied upon it to help their citizens improve their property. Now, as recently as this past month communities and property owners who have relied on this resource are being told that would no longer be available, that it is being terminated. Communities are being told if they want to honor their promises to their citizens they must find other resources to do the job. We ask them who is setting priorities for local government and local resources ?
Mr. Chairman, let me conclude by making the general observation about an often cited attitude prevailing in the land. It is asserted that the American people have lost confidence in their Government. Is it because the Government is not responsive? Is it because the Government fails to recognize public needs? The answer is yes; but only partially yes. It may also be because America is changing and programs designed to serve public purposes are being asked to do things other than they were designed to do. It may be because the labor spent by such groups as the representatives in this coalition are frustrated by a change in policy or the willfulness of a single act.
It may be because the processes of Government aren't working as we have become accustomed to them working.
Americans find it hard to believe that a budget prepared in late 1972 for fiscal 1974 which shows a planned suspension or termination of enacted social programs doesn't also contain funds for a planned rehabilitation of Vietnam when the negotiated settlement that would lead to that rehabilitation was also contemplated in late 1972.
The integrity of Government is being tested. The credibility of leadership is in doubt. We ask you again who sets national policy, who does establish national priorities and in whom is this power vested?
Senator Chiles. Thank you for your statement. Can you give me your opinion or any of your group as to how you view the particular trade-offs in regard to the special revenue programs that the President is now talking about and which is tied to some of the phaseouts or some of the cutbacks, the reason for some of the cutbacks?
Mr. MAFFIN. In the first place, Mr. Chairman, the proposed special revenue sharing which is referred to in several instances in the departmental budget for HUD indicates that fiscal 1974 will in effect see no special revenue sharing program and that the announcements of around January 8 indicated that many of these programs would be terminated as of June 30, so there is a period of hiatus there of 1 year.
Now it is being asserted that some of these programs contain ongoing available authority and obligational levels which would permit operating at a somewhat considerably lower level than we have been accustomed or need, but we question whether that will provide anything like a need to meet the national level, to meet the national needs.
If experience with general revenue sharing can be shown as any parallel, the mayors and governors and lots of groups were promised, I suppose is a good word, promised that general revenue sharing would not be used to supplant categorical grant programs and yet in dealing with Federal agencies and offices the membership of various organizations in this coalition have come to expect that those offices of the Federal Government will suggest to local government and to private agencies that general revenue sharing money can now be used for these purposes.
What I am saying to you is that at least from the experience of general revenue sharing so far the trade offs would seem to those at State and local levels and to private groups relying on those programs that they are losing more than they might get by a substantial amount and promises have in fact been broken.
Senator CHILES. I see.
Mr. EDMISTEN. Have any of you gentlemen ever consulted with any. body at OMB about this? If so, what has been their response ?
Mr. MAFFIN. I personally have not consulted with OMB directly.
I know in the case of operating subsidies, for example, for lowincome housing, that the general response has been that we must find a way to close off open ended obligational authority and moreover that these programs in our opinion have been poorly administered and in many cases ill conceived. We need time frankly to reexamine those programs and come up with alternatives.
Now those of us in this coalition are probably as acutely aware as anyone in this country of whatever shortcomings there may be in some of the programs Congress has enacted. These shortcomings have in part become more prominent because the programs are now being asked to do things they were never designed to do.
But we are also mindful of the fact that 4 years may well not be time enough to devise alternatives and other than the consolidating and codifying of housing programs there have been no alternatives proposed
Senator CHILES. Thank you very much, we appreciate your testimony and your appearance.
Mr. MAFFIN. Thank you, sir.
(Statements of Robert W. Maffin and Rev. Robert E. Johnson follow :)
PREPARED STATEMENT BY ROBERT W. MAFFIN, CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL AD Hoc
HOUSING COALITION Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Separation of Powers Subcommittee, my name is Robert W. Maffin, and I am Chairman of the National Ad Hoc Housing Coalition and Executive Director of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO). Accompanying me today are James P. Twomey, Vice Chairman of the national coalition and Executive Vice President of the Nonprofit Housing Center, Inc.; James H. Harvey, SecretaryTreasurer of the national coalition and Chairman of the Housing Task Force, of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; John Evans, Director of the Department of Urban Affairs, of the AFL-CIO; the Reverend Robert E. Johnson, Chairman of the Interreligious Coalition for Housing; John Thompson representing the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc.; and Timothy D, Naegele, General Counsel of the national coalition.
We appreciate this opportunity to testify in support of Senate Bill 373, the Impoundment Control Bill, which was introduced on January 16, 1973 by Chairman Ervin and forty-four other Senators to insure the separation of federal powers. It is our understanding that the sponsors of this legislation now number fifty-one and we hope this list will grow even more in the weeks to come.
The National Ad Hoc Housing Coalition was formed earlier this year by some 70 organizations (see Attachment 1) representing the elderly, organized labor, banking and financial interests, churches, middle-income families, poor people, tenants, landlords, minority groups, public officials, rural interests, and others— all committed to honoring this nation's federal commitment to a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family. Our immediate goals are to achieve a roll-back of the moratorium on new federal housing commitments which began on January 5, 1973, and to obtain the release of authorized and approved funds to meet pressing housing needs. Our long-term aims include the refinement of existing programs where such refinements are necessary; the fashioning of workable alternatives, where such alternatives are justified to fulfill this nation's federal commitment to housing; and the restatement of federal responsibilities in this area of domestic concern, to insure that urgent needs are adequately addressed. In all cases, we intend to work closely with the committees of Congress which are responsible for this legislation, and provide whatever assistance may be necessary.
In addition to the groups previously enumerated, we also speak on behalf of local coalitions which are springing up all over this country, patterned after the national coalition, in such states as California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and West Virginia. We are here today because of our concerns over what has taken place in recent months, not only in the field of housing but in other important areas, as well. We want to point out the problems which have been created in the process and describe what we feel will happen unless present trends are reversed.
EFFECTS OF MORATORIUM On January 5, 1973, the Administration took decisive action to terminate the following programs: college housing, model cities, neighborhood facilities, open space land, water and sewer facilities, urban renewal, rehabilitation loans, public facility loans, community development training and fellowships, and supplementary grants for new communities. In addition, it suspended the assisted housing programs which include rent supplements, the Section 235 and Section 236 programs, and public housing; the housing programs of the Farmers Home Adininistration; nonprofit sponsor assistance; and the public housing modernization program.
These drastic measures, in the face of unmet demands for decent, low-cost housing—in urban and rural areas alike evidence a lack of concern and understanding on the part of administration officials which has broad implications for