A FIFTEEN YEAR REPORT
by the Housing Authority of the City and County of
A FIFTEEN YEAR REPORT 1940-195.?
BY THE HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER, COLORADO
Honorable Qnigg Newton Mayor of the City and County of Denver, Colorado
THE HOUStnG flUTHOBITy Of THE Cliy HOD C0UHT Of DEOVEO
1449 NAVAJO STREET DENVER 4. COLORADO
BOARO OF COMMISSIONERS TA 5-1281
Msor. John R. Mulroy Irma M. Greenawalt
A. B. HIRSCHPELD
Frank G. Van Portfliet Thomas L. Girault
Honorable Qoigg Newton, Major City and County of Denver Denver, Colorado
Dear Mayor Newton:
On behalf of the Commissioners of The Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver, this report of the Authority1s operation covering the fifteen year period from 19^0 to 1955 is submitted to you.
It is the desire of the Commissioners to incorporate in this report a factual discussion of what low-rent public housing is, what it accomplishes and to show its beneficial effects on the community as a whole. The text has been written in very brief and readable language so that citizens of Denver can readily grasp the extent of this city*s slum clearance and low-rent housing problem. Photographs have been selected to give the reader a quick glimpse of the Authority*s progress in the solution of this problem.
The current financial report has been given only limited space because this data is a matter of public record on file for the review of interested groups or individuals.
The Commissioners and the Housing Authority staff would like to express their appreciation to you, Mayor Newton, and to the City Council for the wholehearted and enthusiastic cooperation which made possible our program of service to the community.
WALTER A. GAIL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HAROLD V. BARNES ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
EDWARD O. GREFF CONTROLLER
FRANK G. VAN PORTFUET Chairman
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
This is a report of fifteen years of work and progress of The Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver, Colorado. It covers the period from January 1, 1940 through the year 1954.
It is a story of the creation of modern well-planned communities within the boundaries where, heretofore, were dilapidated houses with sagging roofs, crowded living conditions and all the misery that goes with slums. This, however, is much more than a story of brick and mortar, or of well-planned dwelling units. It is a story of 3,270 homes and the 15,000 human beings occupying them who now are able to enjoy such comforts and amenities of decent living which should be the birthright of every American citizen.
This is the story of the ceaseless efforts of the Denver Housing Authority to provide decent homes for Denvers lowest-income families. If it were not for the Authoritys efforts, these families would have no choice except to rear their children amidst squalor and physical and moral ugliness.
Home is a touching word. It is the sacred place where love and self-sacrifice reach their highest bounds. It is the place around which childhood memories are woven. It is the place where character is formed. A decent home is the rich soil of childhood environment from which our new generation must spring.
Finally, this is the story not only of the Housing Authority, but the story of all of Denver, a relatively young brave city. The Authority wishes to give credit to Mayor Newton and to the City Council, whose unanimous support this Authority always has enjoyed. Much credit also is due to the numerous public and private agencies who assisted in promoting and planning this low-rent public housing program. The assistance and cooperation of the Public Housing Administration is also acknowledged.
It is because of this teamwork that, today, and for a half century henceforth, many thousands of worthy families will be able to enjoy the blessings of having a decent environment in which to live and rear their children.
COMMISSIONERS of the
Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver, Colo.
Miss Irma M. Ureenawalt
Dean of Students, Kepner Junior High School
Appointed September, 1938
Served as Chairman 1946, 1949 and 1954
Monsignor John It. Mulroy
Rector of Holy Ghost Church Director of Catholic Charities for Arch Diocese of Denver Appointed September, 1938 Served as Chairman 1945, 1951
A. B. Hirschfeld
President, A. B. Hirschfeld Press Appointed February, 1946 Served as Chairman 1948,1953
Frank G. Van Portfliet
Secretary of Colorado State Federation of Labor
Appointed September, 1951 Chairman 1955
Thomas L. Girault
Research Department, Colorado Education Association Appointed September, 1954
Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver, Colo.
Walter A. Gail
Secretary and Executive Director Employed since August, 1943
Harold V. Barnes
Assistant Executive Director Employed since March, 194?
Mrs. Doris E. Kidd
Management Assistant and Supervisor of Tenant Selection Employed since February, 1941
Edward O. Greff
Controller Employed since July, 1953
Past Commissioners of the Housing Authority
James Q. Newton...............................Served September, 1938-April, 1944
James A. Brownlow.............................Served September, 1938-January, 1946
David E. Harlem...............................Served September, 1938-February, 1939
Thomas A. Dines...............................Served February, 1939-January, 1953
James W. Shirley............................ Served January, 1946-January, 1948
George E. Robertson........................ Served January, 1948-September, 1951
Elwood M. Brooks............................ Served January, 1953-September, 1954
THE HOUSING AUTHORITY
What is the Denver Housing Authority ? Is it a federal, a state, a municipal or a private agency? The Housing Authority was created by legislation enacted by the federal, the state, and the municipal governments. Yet, the Authority is a separate and independent nonprofit quasi-public corporation. The Authority cooperates with all of these units of government, but is autonomous in matters of control and financing.
Public housing was established by the federal government by the United States Housing Act of 1937 to eliminate slums, to rehouse low-income families living in those slums and to provide employment in the building trades. The Housing Act of 1949 supplemented and expanded this legislation by declaring a goal of a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American Family.
In order to achieve this goal, the government created The Housing and Home Finance Agency with one branch, the Federal Housing Administration, to assist private home builders in planning, constructing and financing homes for families who could afford to purchase homes. Another branch, the Public Housing Administration, was created to assist local communities in planning, constructing, financing and managing rental homes for lower economic groups who could not afford to buy or rent satisfactory private homes. The Denver Housing Authority operates under this latter branch.
A Colorado State Enabling Act was passed in 1937 which authorized cities in this state with a population of 5,000 or more to create local Housing Authorities, in order that such cities might participate in the assistance offered by the Public Housing Administration.
It was in 1938, after an extensive investigation relative to the availability of decent housing in Denver for low-income families, and after a series of public hearings on the problem, that the City Council passed an ordinance legalizing the creation of the Denver Housing Authority.
This Authority consists of a Board of five nonpaid Commissioners. These Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor. They serve for a five year term. One Commissioners term expires each year. This Board is the legal body which deals with the Public Housing Administration and with the city government in planning, constructing and managing rental housing for low-income families. It is the responsibility of this Board to determine all policies of the low-rent housing program. This Board employes an Executive Director who puts into effect and administers the policies as set forth by the Board. While this Board is authorized to act independently of the city government in most matters, it is required to secure approval of the City Council and the Mayor for any and all low-rent dwelling units which it proposes to construct. Since the Public Housing Administration guarantees loans made by the Authority, this Board must also secure the approval of the Public Housing Administration to construct such dwellings.
The Denver Housing Authority enters into a contract which is known as a Cooperation Agreement with the City of Denver. It also negotiates an Annual Contributions Contract with the Public Housing Administration. These two contractual agreements define the obligations and responsibilities of the contracting parties and set the Authority up in the business of providing homes for low-income families.
DENVERS LOW-RENT HOESING CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM
The Pre-War Program
As soon as the first Board of Commissioners was appointed and sworn into office in 1938, it started to work on the assigned task of replacing slum housing with standard housing for low-income families. Housing surveys were conducted. Project sites were located. Architects were employed to design projects. Construction contracts were awarded. By January, 1943, the Authority had succeeded in constructing Lincoln Park Homes, 422 dwellings; Las Casitas, 195 dwellings; Platte Valley Homes, 76 dwell-
ings; and Arapahoe Courts, 77 dwellings. This gave Denver a total of 770 dwellings. The cost of these four projects was approximately $3,400,000.
One requirement of the Public Housing Administration is that for each dwelling constructed by the Authority, a substandard dwelling must be eliminated. The Authority eliminated 1,078 substandard dwellings in connection with its construction of the first four projects.
Lincoln Park Homes located at Colfax and Navajo Street was constructed in 1941. This 422 dwelling project always has operated without the benefit of federal subsidy.
James Q. Newton Homes named in honor of the first Chairman of t'he Denver Housing Authority
During the war years, part of the low-rent dwellings built by the Authority were made available for the housing of displaced defense workers. When the war ended, however, the Authority required all except low-income families to move from the project. Inasmuch as these projects were constructed at pre inflation prices, the rental income up to the present time always has been sufficient to meet
amortization costs and pay all operation costs. In addition, surplus rental revenue permitted the Authority to make advanced payment on the indebtedness. The wartime shortages of labor and material prevented the Authority from proceeding with its low-rent housing program. The Authority used this interim to appraise its housing operation and to prepare for a post-war program.
Veterans9 Temporary Program
When large numbers of veterans began returning home after the end of World War II, a most critical housing shortage developed. Unfortunately, the returning veterans, who were the most deserving of a home, were the ones who could not find housing.
The Authority immediately gave veterans first preference in all vacancies
which occurred in the projects. The City of Denver also applied to the Public Housing Administration for temporary veterans housing; 831 temporary dwellings were quickly built; 500 of these were known as the North Denver Veterans Housing Project, and 331 were located at Fort Logan, approximately six miles from the City of Denver.
Under the management of the Authority, these dwellings were opened for occupancy in 1947. Occupancy of these projects was limited exclusively to distressed World War II veterans. Since rents were very low, this gave veterans a place to live. It also gave them a chance to save a down payment on a home of their own. Furthermore, it gave them time to shop around for better priced homes. The records show that more than 3,500 families of veterans lived in these temporary
The Post-War Program
It was not until 1949 that Congress amended the Housing Act of 1937. This amended Act provided for the construction of 810,000 dwellings for low-income families over a period of six years for the entire nation.
In anticipation of this federal housing
dwellings. Records also show that a large percentage of these families purchased homes when they left the project.
In accordance with the Federal Housing Law, when the critical housing shortage was relieved (1953 and 1954), these dwellings were vacated and dismantled. All low-income families displaced by this dismantling were transferred to permanent low-rent projects. Veterans in better financial circumstances were assisted in relocating themselves in private housing.
legislation, the Authority had its development program prepared and ready for Public Housing Administration approval. This gave the City of Denver the distinction of being the first city in the nation to secure Public Housing Administration approval under the new Housing Act.
This thirteen-unit slum apartment with garage and grocery store on first floor is one of many slum buildings that the Authority demolished to make way for Curtis Park Homes.
(Before) The funeral of a slum area.
Com. Greenawalt presents bronze plaque to Mayor Newton in recognition of his support of the housing program.
This program provided for a reservation of 4,000 low-income dwellings for Denver. 2,500 of these dwellings were to be constructed as soon as plans could be prepared and sites acquired. The balance of 1,500 dwellings were to be reserved for the future. The total development cost of the first 2,500 dwellings, including purchase of substandard houses on the sites, was estimated at $25,000,000. It appears now that final costs will run less than this estimate.
A program of this proportion required the unlimited cooperation of many of the municipal and private agencies. The City Council and Mayor gave the program their
(After) The birth of a new community.
unanimous approval. Building material suppliers applauded the program because they were eager for an increased market for their products, which amounted to a $12,000,000 order. Private contractors vied with one another to secure the construction contracts. This huge building operation was just what the crafts of the building trades needed steady employment with a $12,000,000 pay envelope.
Most desperately in need of this program, however, were the thousands of low-income families whose living accommodations, miserable as they were had been lessened by the construction of the Valley Highway and by continued deteri-
Most desperately in need of housing were the thousands of low-income families living in substandard housing such as this.
oration of their dwellings in the slum areas during the war years.
This critical housing shortage posed a difficult problem for the Authority. It was the unanimous opinion of the Authority that low-rent housing projects should be located in badly deteriorated slum areas. The problem was finding temporary homes for the families occupying such slum areas during the period of construction of housing projects.
To solve this problem, the Authority selected four project locations for its first 1,000 dwellings in areas where most of the land was vacant. These locations were on land which was considered less desirable for development by Private builders.
Eight blocks of slums (380 dwellings) were demolished to make way for Curtis Park Homes.
MAP OF DENVER
Showing Location of the Housing Projects
Las Casitas Homes (195 units)
1160 Federal Blvd.
Lincoln Park Homes (422 units) 1449 Navajo Street Platte Valley Homes (77 units) 3050 Champa Street Arapahoe Courts (76 units)
1184 26th Street
Columbine Homes (200 units)
2350 W. Cedar Avenue West Ridge Homes (200 units)
3537 W. 13th Avenue
James Q. Newton Homes (400 units)
4407 Mariposa Street
Sun Valley Homes (200 units)
1160 Federal Blvd.
Curtis Park Homes (450 units) 2855 Arapahoe Street
S. Lincoln Park Homes (270 units) 1000 Navajo Street Westwood Homes (260 units)
3401 W. Kentucky Avenue Sun Valley Annex (220 units)
W. 10th Ave. and Decatur St.
B. F. Stapleton Homes (300 units) 201 E. 51st Avenue
These four projects were Sun Valley Homes, 10th and Decatur Streets, West Ridge Homes, 13th Street and Lowell Boulevard, James Q. Newton Homes, 43d and Mariposa Streets, and Columbine Homes, 2300 West Cedar Avenue. When these 1,000 dwellings were completed, the Authority was able to relocate families in these new homes and go into the very heart of the slums and replace them with decent housing. More than 1,800 low-rent dwellings are located in the center of slum areas (see map Page 29).
All of the low-rent dwellings are of masonry construction. Concrete floors are used as a means of economy in maintenance. The rooms are large and well arranged (see typical floor plans, Pages 14 and 15). Careful consideration has been given to proper lighting, ventilation, heating and safety.
While discussing the Authoritys construction program, attention is called to the fact that, contrary to the belief of a few uninformed critics, low-rent public housing is not government housing. One hundred per cent of the work from the planning of the projects to the management operations after they are completed is performed by private industry. Local architects design the projects. Local real estate brokers negotiate for land acquisition. Local dealers supply the material and
local craftsmen and laborers man the construction jobs. The general construction contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder. The only part played by the federal government is temporary financing and guarantee of repayment of loan by the Housing and Home Finance Agency. This agency also insures mortgages for builders and sellers of private homes.
The management and maintenance staff of the Authority is composed of local citizens selected on the basis of merit. They are not paid from the treasury of the federal, the state government or by the City of Denver. They are paid with funds derived from the rental revenue of the low-rent dwellings. Pay checks are issued by the Denver Housing Authority which, as previously stated, is a quasi-public corporation.
Ground for the first project, West Ridge Homes, at 13th and Lowell Boulevard, was broken August 18, 1950. Since that date, the Authority has completed the construction of eight projects consisting of 2,280 dwellings. A ninth project of 220 dwellings is under construction. With the completion of this project, all dwellings approved by the City Council in 1950 will have been erected. This will give Denver a total of 3,270 dwellings for low-income families.
Columbine Homes, a 200-unit project, is a bungalow court design.
Perspective of James Q. Newton Homes
Typical Floor Plan*
Perspective view of Denvers newest project under construction
at 10th and Decatur Streets
HOUSING AUTHORITY FINANCING
When Denvers present low-rent housing program is completed, the overall cost of its 3,270 dwellings will be approximately $28,000,000. What method does the Authority employ to finance the develop-
ment costs ? What provision has the Authority made for amortizing this indebtedness? What is the source of revenue which is necessary to pay operating costs ?
HOUSING AUTHORITY FINANCING
PUBLIC HOUSING ADMINISTRATION Temporary Loans
PRIVATE INVESTMENT BANKS
PRIVATE INVESTMENT BANKS
X I X.
For: Housing Surveys, Planning,
For: Development For: Completion of
iNVER HOUSING AUTHORITY
1 Authority secures a temporary loan from Public Housing Administration for housing surveys, planning and land acquisition.
2 Authority secures temporary loans from private banks to finance construction.
3 Part of temporary loans are used to repay Public Housing Administration.
4 The Authority secures a permanent loan (30- to 40-year bonds).
5 The Authority pays off temporary bank loan.
6 The Authority amortizes permanent loan with rental revenue from projects. The Public Housing Administration will provide supplementary funds, if
rental revenue is not sufficient to amortize this loan.
The Public Housing Administration maintains a certain amount of capital which might be considered as a revolving fund which is made available to local Authorities who wish to engage in low-rent housing programs.
To start its program, the Denver Housing Authority borrowed sufficient capital from the Public Housing Administration to finance its housing surveys, its planning, its land acquisition and to get its construction program started. The Public Housing Administration charged 2 %% interest for funds loaned to the Denver Housing Authority. This rate may vary depending on the going federal rate.
After the construction program is well along, the Authority sells temporary loan notes to private investors to finance continued construction and to repay its loan to the Public Housing Administration. Neither these temporary loans nor the permanent loans, which are made later, are in any way an obligation of the city. Instead, the housing projects are used as collateral and the Public Housing Administration also guarantees to these private investors repayment of the same, if the Authority should fail to meet its scheduled payments. This makes the Authoritys loan notes a gilt-edged security for private investors. For this reason, the Authority has been fortunate enough to sell its temporary loan notes at very low rates of interest. The last issue of $2,851,000 bears an interest rate of only 0.61%.
Since the Authority is able to secure temporary financing at such low interest rates, it appears to be advisable to continue temporary financing on at least part of its indebtedness as long as possible. Eventually, after the projects are completed and at such time when, in the opinion of the local Authority and the Public Housing Administration, an attractive interest rate exists, the Authority will place the balance of its program under permanent financing through the sale of bonds to be amortized during a term of not more than forty years. In May, 1952, the Authority sold permanent bonds in the amount of $15,190,000 at an interest rate of 2.75%. As is the case with temporary financing, the projects are used as collateral. The Public Housing Administration guarantees payment of these bonds.
While these projects are not entirely self-liquidating, a major portion of the operating expenses, such as utilities, payments in lieu of taxes, maintenance and management costs and amortization will be paid for from the rental income of the projects. It must be remembered that the Authority is a nonprofit public corporation whose purpose is to decently house low-income families. Every family occupying housing must pay as much rent as it can afford. Therefore, in order that the very lowest income groups might be served, the Public Housing Administration, through its Annual Contributions Contract with the local Authority, agrees to pay an annual contribution or subsidy to the local Authority equal to the difference between the total operating costs and the rental income. Due to the inflationary trend since 1940, the 770 dwellings built then have required very little federal assistance. The post-war program of 2,500 dwellings will require some subsidy. The amount will depend upon future economic trends.
While discussing Authority financing, your attention is called to the fact that the Denver Housing Authority is not a public charitable agency. It is not a give away program. All families occupying low-rent housing pay as much rent as they can afford. You, as a taxpayer, are not paying the rent of those living in low-rent housing. In dollars and cents, the program is to a great extent self-liquidating. Your dividend from the program in human values is one hundred fold. A critical analysis of Housing Authority financing will show that it is a very plausible way of providing low-income families with decent housing at minimum expense.
The American National Bank oi Denver. !
PAY tO THE
m ORDER Ofi^roÂ§BJE-110lTY AND COmtfljjfr DMVm* ... ...
"(COLO.-l-l, 1-3 AND 14) ADMINISTRATION FUND"
< Ik? Hoosj^jG authority df issi 9in coom'# denver I
This is a reproduction of a check from the Denver Housing Authority to the City and County of Denver for payment in lieu of taxes for the year 1954.
Low-rent housing is tax exempt by local, state, and federal law. Tax exemption is essential, so rents can be kept within reach of low-income families. Such tax exemption is not a deviation from traditional practices, because low-rent housing is public property, the same as public schools, public hospitals, public libraries or public parks.
Even though low-rent housing is legally exempt from taxes, the local Authority, through its Cooperation Agreement with the City, pledges to make a payment in
lieu of taxes to the City equal to 10% of the rental revenue from the projects.
In return the City agrees to provide the Authority with equivalent municipal services as are provided to private owners of property. One must take note also of the fact that at the end of the amortization period (estimated at from 30 to 40 years), the City will become the sole owner of the projects and might thereafter expect to receive 100% of the rental revenue and/or the salvage value of the dwellings and the land areas they occupy.
Each unit equals $8,000
$29,672 taxes assessed (not all collected) on slum areas before redevelopment
$106,180 paid in lieu of taxes by the Authority in 1955 $125,000 estimated payment when present construction is completed in 1956
*Indicates anticipated tax payments from dwellings under construction and not yet occupied.
In the light of this tax arrangement, one might inquire what effect low-rent housing has on the tax rate paid by private owners of property. Development of Denvers low-rent housing increases the Citys tax revenue by many thousands of dollars. (See chart above.) It should be noted that before redevelopment by the Denver Housing Authority, a total of only $29,672 was assessed on the slum areas. Whereas, after redevelopment by the Authority, the City will receive an annual payment in lieu of taxes of approximately $125,000. It also lowers Denvers tax rate by eliminating costly slum housing. Low-rent housing gives better housing at lesser rent to tax-supported welfare families than that offered to them by private operators of sub-standard housing, thereby lowering the welfare budget.
Documented evidence in Denver and in other cities throughout the nation indi-
cates that low-rent housing results in lower rather than higher tax rates for private citizens.
Denver taxpayers must contribute a huge portion of their tax dollar to the support of slum housing, not to the support of low-rent housing. Year after year, the slums consume the lions share of municipal services and contribute a negligible amount to the Citys treasury. The slums never pay their fair share. They make only a token contribution and the owners of decent housing in good neighborhoods have to pay extra to make up for the excess taxes required to support slums.
Overshadowing the tax burden imposed by slum housing is the fact that the occupants of slum housing suffer the hazard of disease, lawlessness, misery and moral deterioration.
The Management of Denver's low-rent housing program ranks as one of the larger, if not the largest, management operation in the Rocky Mountain area. When the present program is completed, there will be a total of 3,270 homes in thirteen projects scattered throughout the older part of the city (see map, Page 12). The total population of the operation will be approximately 15,000, of which over
9,000 will be minors. This is equivalent to a sizable city in itself.
Management of this program includes selecting and verifying eligible families, properly apportioning graded rents, collecting rents, formulating and administrating project policies, familiarizing tenants with modern home conveniences and better ways of living. It also includes the total repair and maintenance of all dwellings and appliances.
APPLICATION TENANT SELECTION
The Authoritys Central Tenant Application Office is presently located in Lincoln Park Homes at 1441 Navajo Street. It is here the Authority makes its first contact with families seeking low-rent housing. Tenancy is limited to needy families who meet the following qualifications:
1. An applicant must be a citizen of the United States.
2. An applicant must be presently living in substandard housing.
3. An applicants family must consist of two or more related persons.
4. An applicants gross annual income for the family must not exceed the following:
2 persons, $2,500* plus $100 for each minor.
3-4 persons, $2,750* plus $100 for each minor.
5 or more persons, $3,000* plus $100 for each minor.
*These maximum income limits are subject to change by resolution of the Authority and approval of the Public Housing Administration.
After an application is made, the Tenant Selection Office secures certification of the applicants income. This office also sends out a field worker to verify that the applicant is presently occupying substandard housing.
The applicant then is declared eligible for occupancy in any vacancy which might become available. War veterans with equal need have priority for occupancy, but otherwise applicants are admitted on the basis of need.
These are daily scenes at the Application Office where families await their turn to make application for housing.
Applicants are assigned to dwellings to fit the number and sex of persons in the family. Usually not more than two persons per bedroom are permitted. Deviation from this standard is made for persons of opposite sex. Exceptions are also permitted for children of less than five years of age. Dwellings range in size
from one to five bedrooms. Each dwelling also has a livingroom, kitchen with dining space, bathroom and ample storage space.
(See typical floor plans, Pages 14-15.) Each dwelling is provided with a gas range, a mechanical refrigerator and gas furnace with automatic heat control.
Every dwelling is strictly modem.
The amount of rent each tenant must pay is based on his income, regardless of the number of rooms such tenant occupies. In accordance with the Colorado State Housing Enabling Act of 1937, local Authorities must charge not less than 20% of a tenants income for rent. Samples of rents charged by the Authority are as follows:
Family Income Rental Charge
$100 per month 120 per month 150 per month 200 per month 240 per month
20%$20.00 per month 20 24.00 per month
20% 30.00 per month 20% 40.00 per month 20% 48.00 per month
This rental charge includes all utilities. Such expenses as Social Security, union dues, compulsory health insurance or the
Commissioners Mulroy and Hirschfeld do the honors of welcoming the first family to Curtis Park Homes.
expense of child care, if employment of the wage earner necessitates such care, is deducted from the family income. This method of charging rent is most convenient because it is based on the tenants ability to pay. If a tenants income is reduced, his rent is reduced. If his income increases, his rent will be increased accordingly.
Tenants are required to report to the Management Office any change in their income. Once each year, Management reexamines the tenants income and adjusts the tenants rent on the basis of income certifications secured.
Whenever an applicant is selected for occupancy, he is instructed to report to the project Management Office where he meets the project Manager. This Manager holds a lengthy get-acquainted conference with the new tenant. The tenant is informed of the services offered by the Management. He also is informed of his responsibilities as a member of the project community.
New tenants are urged to give proper supervision to their children, to practice good housekeeping, to care for their lawns, to clear their walks of snow and to be a good neighbor. Each tenant is escorted to his prospective home and instructed on the operation and care of appliances such as gas range, refrigerator and heater. He receives a tenants handbook which contains complete information relative to tenancy. He also is reminded that, generally, low-rent housing should not be considered as a lifetime place to live, but as a stepping-stone to private housing and home ownership. The new tenant then pays his first months rent and signs his lease. Then for many new tenants comes the happiest moment of a lifetime, when the Manager hands him his key to his new home and better way of life.
THE PEOPLE WE SERVE
People who live in low-rent housing are of all races, creeds and backgrounds. They consist of young families and old folks, big families of ten to fourteen persons and small families of only two persons, the crippled, the blind, the sick and the healthy, the unemployed and the employed, the widow with her childrena victim of a broken home, and the closely-knit average family.
While these families are different in many ways, they all have certain things in common. They all have low incomes. They all have experienced the misery of living in substandard housing. They all have an urge to better themselves with better housing.
A sizable number of these families are widows with their children whose only source of income is public welfare. Some are old age pensioners and others are disabled veterans on federal pension.
By far the largest group, however, is employedthe wage earner who packs his lunch pail and goes to work every day. They may be your hotel waitress, your maid, your deliveryman, your filling station attendant or they may be one of your
friends who is a lower-paid white collar worker. They may be a family whom you knew about, who met with some tragedy.
As previously stated, over 50% of them are children bright-eyed, healthy, well-behaved children who attend school and church regularly. The average size of the family is five persons. Their annual income ranges from $600 per year to as much as $4,500 for larger families. The average annual family income is approximately $2,400or $480 per person.
The average family will stay in low-rent housing about three years. During this stay, they will have learned a new and better way of life. They will have developed an appreciation for decent housing. They will have become more healthy and much happier. When they move from low-rent housing, many of them will buy homes. Others will want to rent decent housing.
Wherever they go, whatever the future might have in store for them, they will carry with them a grateful heart and the treasured memory of a decent home, a green lawn, a flower garden and a childrens playground, which was theirs while living in low-rent housing.
More than 200 elderly families spend their sunset years in comfort and security in low-rent housing
More than 9,000 children such as these now enjoy the blessing of a decent home amidst the beauty and charm of Denvers low-rent housing program.
For the sake of the personal touch, let us for the moment ignore the average family and take a personal glance at some individual cases. (The name is not the real name, but otherwise the case is a real one.)
1. Mrs. Smith with her three small children whose husband was recalled into military service for the Korean war.
2. The Ferrell family who needed a bathroom before their fourth child, a victim of polio, could be released from the Childrens Hospital.
3. Mrs. Kriss, a widow with her three children, who refused public welfare and insisted on earning her way. Her son became Head Boy in one of the high schools.
4. The Vigil family, who were rich in their ten children, but who, with a very low earned income, could not hope for decent private housing.
5. Mrs. Williams, on crutches and whose lower limbs were paralyzed, who put her two children in nursery school and stayed on welfare only while she attended school. Mrs. Williams finally
became self-supporting as a comptometer operator.
6. Mr. Jenkins, the young M.D. intern, who today is a practicing physician.
7. Mr. Young, age 68, who once was a successful business man, who now with broken health is an old age pensioner. Since Mrs. Young is only 58 years of age, the family income is less than $100 per month.
8. Mr. Johnson, who worked his way through the theological school, and who is now an ordained minister.
9. The picture would not be complete without mentioning little John and Mary Van Horn, age thirteen and eleven, who live with their mother. Their father, whom they do not remember, gave his life in World War II.
Thus it becomes obvious that low-rent housing dwellers are not a type but just average people, who, when given the lift of a decent home for a few years, soon become able to take their places as independent citizens. The Authority is proud of the thousands of families who are striving to better themselves with the aid of low-rent housing.
Low-Rent Public Housing
Decent Private Housing
When given the lift of low-rent houses for a few years, thousands of families have become owners or renters of decent private homes.
~[ 26 ]v
FUTURE HOUSING NEEDS
How nearly is the job of housing low-income families and clearing the slums finished ? This is a question which Denver citizens have a right to ask. They are entitled also to a frank, unbiased answer.
In order to answer this question, one must take an over-all look at Denvers housing inventory. (See graph, Page 28.) A recent housing census indicates that
there are aproximately 150,000 dwelling units in Denver. Of this number, approximately 120,000 are decent standard homes. Unfortunately, the balance of 30,000 are substandard. Of this latter number, 23,000 are well located and yet in such condition that they can be economically repaired and brought up to standard. The remaining 7,000 are so dilapidated they should be dismantled.
Year by year, block by block, house by house, repair or demolition must continue until every unfit home, such as these, is eliminated.
150.000 ioo% Graph showing condition
gill of Denvers housing.
~ ral Based on U. S. Census, 1950,
with revision to date estimated.
1150,000 or 100% of Denvers dwell-
120.000 _ I______________80% inss-
PfP B 2120,000 or 80% of these dwellings
_ 19 are standard.
8 30,000 or 20% of these dwellings B B are sub-standard.
B 4 23,000 of Denvers sub-standard
_ B B dwellings are good enough to be made
|||I Hfl standard by repairing.
~~ |^n 19 5 7,0Q0 of Denvers sub-standard
PD EH dwelings are so dilapidated that they
B B should be demolished.
_ 99 B * Shaded area represents the 3,270 dwell-
Hn ing units or 2.2% of Denvers dwellings
1||| Hh built by the Denver Housing Authority.
H H |
3270 nil *2,2% b8 ||||
MAP OF DENVER SHOWING SLUM AREAS
Data taken from U. S. Housing Census of 1950
People are more important than housing; therefore, one must secure information relative to the ability of the lower income groups to pay the price for standard rental housing, if future housing needs are to be determined. A recent economic census indicates that there are approximately 14,000 families in Denver whose income is so low that they cannot afford the price of standard rental housing.
Thus it becomes apparent, after an investigation of houses and of people, that Denver has a long way to go before it achieves for this community the American ideal of a decent home for every American family.
The shaded map of Denver (Page 29) shows that the older part of the city along the Platte River valley is a solid mass of sprawling residential and commercial slums. The arrows on this map indicate the push of the slums toward better areas of the city.
Now is the opportune time for the City of Denver to take bold action to press for complete and total renewal of outworn areas. Strenuous action must be taken at once to rehabilitate less deteriorated areas in order to stop the spread of blight. Much of the heavily shaded area, after being cleared, will need to be discontinued as residential land and reallocated to industry, commerce, parking, etc. Other parts, when cleared, can be zoned for apartments and private residences.
Concurrently, with a renewal program such as this, adequate provision must be made for rehousing displaced families. It is estimated that two-thirds of such families are able to buy or rent decent homes. The remaining third will need the assistance of low-rent housing.
Ones first impression when reviewing Denvers low-rent housing program, with its thirteen projects and 3,270 dwellings, might be that public housing is taking over as one critic remarked. Actually, less than 3% of Denvers housing is low-rent housing. (See graph, Page 28.) Further, less than one-fourth of Denvers ill-housed, needy families can be accommodate by the Denver Housing Authoritys present program.
Denvers low-rent housing development is a valuable tool which will be used by the city in its continuing effort to better housing conditions. Denver is preparing other tools which will be used for this purpose. Rezoning the city will both eradicate blighted areas and prevent them from spreading. The proposed new Housing Code will require that substandard housing be corrected or no longer be used for occupancy. The Federal Urban Redevelopment Law gives assistance to cities and incentive to private developers who choose to redevelop and renew older areas of the city. Improved methods of enforcing conformity to housing standards are in the making. All this, plus a growing realization on the part of service clubs backed up
by the increased civic pride of the citizenry, will aid in solving Denvers housing problem.
The Housing Authority stands ready and willing to provide additional low-rent housing for needy families who are displaced as Denver proceeds witli its urban renewal program.
It is the belief of the Authority that well-informed citizens of Denver expect their elected representatives to better
housing conditions. It is the Authoritys belief that these citizens will not be satisfied with anything less than complete elimination of every unfit dwelling in the city. With this firm belief, year by year and house by house the city renewal program must continue. Private builders, the Chamber of Commerce, the Real Estate Board, the Housing Authority, business mens organizations, the city administration and citizen groups all share the obligation of achieving the housing goal, A decent home for every American family.
The Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver, Colorado Consolidated Balance Sheet as of December 31, 1954
General Fund ......................... $829,667.85
Change and Petty Cash Funds........... 3,425.00
FISCAL AGENTS FUNDS.....
ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE ... PHAAnnual Contributions
Tenants Accounts .....
Prepaid Insurance Premiums.........$ 14,008.78
Insurance Deposits................. 22,133.28
UNAMORTIZED OFF-SITE UTILITIES.....
LAND STRUCTURES AND EQUIPMENT..
Less Allowance for Depreciation..
UNCOMPLETED CONTRACTS (CONTRA)
TOTAL ASSETS .....................
Vendors and Contractors..........
NOTES PAYABLETEMPORARY NOTES
Payments in Lieu of Taxes........
PREPAID INCOME AND SECURITY DEPOSITS ............................
Bond Outstanding ................
Permanent Notes Payable..........
3,792.70 1,367.52 106,290.38
UNAMORTIZED BOND PREMIUMS..........
CONTRACT AWARDS (CONTRA)...........
TOTAL LIABILITIES ...............*
Unreserved Surplus .............
ReservedOperating Reserve ......
Cumulative PHA Contributions.....
TOTAL SURPLUS........................... 854,182.22
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND SURPLUS.... $25,653,096.61