headed Yankee common
our precious heritage,
coat of paint. They had to be brought
up to the new standards found in the
new houses we were putting up all
over the country. If they were not, no
matter how much new building in the
country we put up, we would have,
instead of a net gain in housing, a net
loss of decent dwelling places.
As I just remarked, a lot of people
were thinking about the problem. All
of them wanted to do something
about it, too, and some of us got together, in various parts of the country,
and worked out plans. But there was
no central dynamo to provide the
power on a national scale.
One day just under a year ago, Bill
Ulman, of the Housing Agency, and I
were mulling over the situation in my
office in Los Angeles. We agreed that
it might do a lot of good if we could
set up a national home-improvement
week. Some time later, in Denver, Al
Cole, Bill Ulman, Axel Nielsen, and I
developed the idea further. Why not
have a home-improvement month?
Why not have a home-improvement
of ns have quarreled with him. But v» 1955 _
mse that is
never less of ourselves thai! the very
best that is in us, requiring inflexible
standards of material and workmanship, we will make it an enduring
The supervising architect is well
known to all of us. And he is favorably
known to all of us. We have not always agreed with his decisions. Some
of us have argued with him. A few-
all trust him. And all of us know K
our hearts that we couldn't find a
ter man for the job
. ....... .... ...~ ,.,.,. r.^} rece
He isn't a builder by profession. i> Which I v
is not a dealer in real estate. He is m
a mortgage lender. He is not a inaiu1
facturer or supplier of building mat|
rials. He came up the hard way
I present to you my very gn0
friend, the Administrator of the HoUj
ing and Home Finance Agency, '
Cole, of Kansas.
"A Really Fresh Approach"
Address by Albert M. Cole, Administrator
of the Housing and Home Finance Agency
That was the real start. We would
line up the National Association of
Home Builders, with its "new face for
America" campaign. We would line
up the National Association of Real
Estate Boards and pick up its "build
America better" project. And we
would use that fine organization.
Action — the American Council t,<
Improve Our Neighborhoods. We
could call together the producers, the
retailers, and the lenders into one
mighty effort to rescue the living
wealth of America — our homes.
The United States Chamber of
Commerce offered to sponsor the
whole program - and within three
months of that first exploratory talk
in Los Angeles, Operation Home Improvement was born.
UNITY OF ACTION
The important thing, perhaps the
most important, is that everybody we
talked to recognized the need for
unity of action. All the diverse organi-
pations supporting Home Improvement Year are working together. There
are no rivalries, no jealousies, no conflicts. We have a perfect partnership.
An indispensable member of this
partnership of the forces of private
enterprise is the federal government. I
think of this member as the cement
that gives solidarity and strength to
the structure we are erecting together.
And it must be an enduring structure. Working always as a team, combining our idealism with the hard-
The moment at hand, January Hi,
1956, was chosen many months ago its
the time to start a great national crusade to raise the level of living in all
parts of our country. The means by
which we will achieve that end is
improvement of the fundamental element of living, the homes ot America.
This is a joint enterprise. Millions of
individuals will take part in it. Thousands of communities will participate.
Civic organizations and many special
groups, such as the ones sponsoring
this meeting, will contribute then-
energies. Major areas of private industry, including all media of communications, will marshal their powerful
forces. The federal government will
aid in every possible way.
When the present administration
took office, not quite three years ago.
President Eisenhower and his team
were keenly aware of the need for
more and better housing for all the
people of the nation. But on this occasion 1 want to discuss, not slums, not
blighted areas in danger of becoming
slums, not even those urban sections
that touch such areas. I want to talk
about all older areas — those in which
houses 10, 20, 30 years and older predominate — in all the towns and cities
of the United States.
It is in the older areas, many of verv
high quality, that more than half of
the nation's people live today. The
total property investment — though
not precisely measurable — is considerably in excess of $200 billion.
And we have not been protecting
that investment. We have been letting
a vast national asset - dwelling place
of half the American people — depreciate at a rate no factory or mercantile
establishment would tolerate
business leaders have been partly bujjj
fault. They thought only in
"somebody else's property.
with others, thev failed to see that",
was the nation's property, the natifl
economy — and thus the depreciaf
directly affected us all.
The capital value of our prnpefj''
litis not been keeping pace with n"!
capital values. More important
dividends have been falling off — "|J
I mean not only municipal tax nl
1 s but dividends in efficiency, cC\
fort, and satisfaction. The
in livability have not kept up with
dividends from other sources. *]
nat/A tl...a- li.xriMi ti. L-f»*»n ml V* ,
5? about ,
* Per ce
, ' also w
I This is
ol a tin,e
P}k is i
C"1 for h
K horr* i
have they begun to keep up £J
American standards of livability vv'y
the restless genius ol American '"',
builders is constantly elevating to f
heights. Countless thousands of '
dwellings not onlv- kick the utility!
livability made possible In pew
technical developments, but arc >j..
ited to facilities popular between J* Jf r',"ck,'K
and 1935. „ %/>«
Today the building and allied i"°l
tries — with the continued cooper*!
of the government — are abo"L ^tionaj
undertake an enterprise of tremens, \n j. ant
scope and of a social import that K J»So . '" (
not yet be measured. These iiultis',[ reaJe ar
are not onlv going to construct l"| Hler ,/]u%
ablv 1300 thousand new home*, t •
1956. but thev aro ooiiirr to iinP'T'is i, f''< t
ifi, but they are going to imp'^ *k ((,"'
v substantially ten million or "'.< Nl '\resP
of <t-V,f <<','sl
existing dwellings at
nine billion dollars
Ilion or more homes will i'1'1'J^H"
maintenance and repairs in exo
will be about thret
25 per cent more than v
Facts Foiu-m Nl ws,
biiiion doiia^i ;>i,;
:1 lotion "f lax
April, }J^ts ,,,
"% 'i'B Si
%K of well
«*al or 8