This category covers government establishments engaged in the administration, planning, and development of housing programs. The category also includes government building standards agencies and nonoperating government housing agencies and housing authorities. Insurance and finance areas are classified in Finance, Division H. The operation and rental of apartments and houses is classified in Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate SIC 6510: Real Estate Operators (Except Developers) and Lessors. SIC 9532: Administration of Urban Planning and Community and Rural Development covers government agencies and commissions, with the private establishments engaged in this work classified in services in the major group for engineering, accounting, research, management, and related services.
Administration of Housing Programs
Administration of housing programs is the central task of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which was created by an act of Congress in 1965. Other governmental housing programs include the Veterans Administration housing program and the Farmers Home Administration, which are overseen by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Agriculture, respectively. The original legislation broadly mandated HUD to administer federal housing programs, promote the solution of urban problems, and provide funding for housing via private institutions. Consistent with that mandate, HUD's major focus continues to be on increasing homeownership across the country, providing assistance for the homeless, improving public housing, and administering block grants for economic and urban development of targeted areas. Major issues for the organization have been lack of funding, inconsistent presidential support, and conflicting congressional directives.
The secretary of housing and urban development is assisted by a deputy secretary. Together they oversee a chief of staff, as well as assistant secretaries for administration, community planning and development, congressional and intergovernmental relations, fair housing and equal opportunity, housing and federal housing, policy development and research, public and Native American housing, and public affairs, in addition to an overall support staff of several thousand employees. HUD deals with approximately 3,100 public housing agencies that disperse around 80 percent of all HUD funds and manage 1.3 million housing units. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Government National Mortgage Association, or Ginnie Mae, operate within HUD, but do so with considerable autonomy. The private Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae, is the corporate "sister" of Ginnie Mae and is subject to regulation by HUD.
Since the birth of the nation, government has been concerned with the growth and distribution of its population. During the mid-nineteenth century the Department of Agriculture was created to address the many needs of farming families and agricultural laborers, who then constituted two-thirds of American society. A century later, the United States had largely completed its transition from a predominantly agrarian to a predominantly urban economy and population. With this transition came a growing demand for an agency, or agencies, to address the many problems associated with urban expansion.
The economic disaster caused by the Great Depression forced urban and housing problems to a federal level for the first time in American history. In 1932, under Herbert Hoover, the Federal Home Loan Bank system was created in an attempt to shore up the housing industry and keep savings and loan associations above water. With Franklin Delano Roosevelt's inauguration came the New Deal, a massive series of programs that, among other things, restructured the country's housing finance and regulatory system. In 1934 the FHA was created to provide mortgage insurance to banks and other financial institutions. In 1935 the Resettlement Administration was created to begin a number of housing and resettlement projects, including those related to eliminating unproductive farms. Two years later the U.S. Housing Authority was created to support and oversee public housing.
In the 1940s the federal government's foray into urban policy was also driven by pressing national problems. The National Housing Agency (NHA) was created to provide housing for World War II workers. Once the war ended, the agency began housing planning but soon became a casualty in a new political war, for in 1946 a Republican-led congress denied permanent status to the NHA. So instead of becoming an independent department, housing was placed under the Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA). The HHFA was not strongly positioned in the structure of the federal government and continued to shift with the political winds of the day. Nonetheless, the FHA by itself played a fundamental postwar role in managing suburban housing growth and freeing up money for new, lower-income homeowners.
The federal housing policy was at last clearly stated under the Housing Act of 1949, which said there should be "a decent home in a suitable living environment for every American family." This law was closely tied to the Employment Act of 1946, but neither was ever made part of a larger, cohesive national policy for both promoting and controlling urban growth.
Legislation for a cabinet-level department to deal with urban renewal problems was first introduced in 1954, but it lacked necessary support of the public and the Eisenhower administration to become law. Yet momentum continued to gather within the National Housing Conference (NHC), a liberal organization devoted to the expansion of federal redevelopment and housing policies. William...