Housing Act of 1937
The Housing Act of 1937 (Pub.L. 75–412, 50 Stat. 888, enacted September 1, 1937), formally the "United States Housing Act of 1937" and sometimes called the Wagner-Steagall Act, provided for subsidies to be paid from the U.S. government to local public housing agencies (LHAs) to improve living conditions for low-income families.
The act created the United States Housing Authority within the US Department of the Interior. The act builds on the National Housing Act of 1934, which created the Federal Housing Administration. Both the 1934 Act and the 1937 Act were influenced by American housing reformers of the period, with Catherine Bauer Wurster chief among them. Bauer drafted much of this legislation and served as a Director in the United States Housing Authority, the agency created by the 1937 Act to control the payment of subsidies, for two years.
Although initially controversial, it gained acceptance and provisions of the Act have remained, but in amended form. The Housing Act of 1949, enacted during the Harry Truman administration set new postwar national goals for decent living environments; it also funded "slum clearance" and the urban renewal projects and created many national public housing programs. In 1965, the Public Housing Administration, the US Housing Authority, and the House and Home Financing Agency were all swept into the newly formed and reorganized United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 was a United States federal law, which, among other provisions, amended the Housing Act of 1937 to create Section 8 housing, authorized "Entitlement Communities Grants" to be awarded by HUD, and created the National Institute of Building Sciences.
- Hunt, Bradford D., “Was the 1937 U.S. Housing Act a Pyrrhic Victory?” Journal of Planning History 4, no. 3 (2005): 195-221.
- Radford, Gail, "Modern Housing for America: Policy Struggles in the New Deal Era" (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).
- Vale, Lawrence J., "From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Public Neighbors" (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Press, 2000).
- Vale, Lawrence J., “Reclaiming Public Housing: A Half Century of Struggle in Three Public Neighborhoods” (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Press, 2002).
- Wurster, Catherine Bauer, "Modern Housing," (Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1934).
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- HUD, "HUD Historical Background", 18 May 2007