To House New York's Poor: A Bill To Be Introduced 1901


The question of housing the poor is just now occupying the attention of many cities both in the United States and England. The League for Social Service, 105 East Twenty-second street, Manhattan, of which Dr. Josiah Strong is president, and Dr. William Hl. Tolman is secretary, is taking a deep and active interest in this work.

A petition signed by prominent men in New York City is about to be presented to the State Legislature of New York, urging that body to enact legislation which will result in acquiring one block of ground on the east side of New York, to demonstrate the feasibility of building on said ground model houses for the people. The block of buildings, it is proposed, shall be owned by the city and rented at prices which will pay the legal rate of interest on the investment, and the cost of keeping the homes in first class condition.

The petition from the City of New York, asking the Legislature of new York to pass a bill authorizing the city to acquire property and erect model houses for the people, embodies plans as follows: The plans for such homes to include the block as a whole.

The buildings to be fireproof, with every modern improvement that can be advantageously used, the whole to be owned by the city and rented at such rates as will pay the legal rate of interest on the investment and the cost of keeping such homes in first class condition.

The city to be forever debarred from renting any such property for the purpose of selling intoxicating liquors therein.

These recommendations are made in the belief that the best interests of the city demand some such plan to be put in operation, because it will:

First. Furnish homes for the people who otherwise would never have them.

Second. Furnish employment for our own mechanics, laborers and tradesmen, and thereby benefit the whole community.

Third. To do away with the present unsanitary tenements which are a menace to life and health; it being an undisputed fact that over six thousand deaths a year occur from consumption alone, contracted under conditions the average wage earner is powerless to protect himself against.

Fourth. By refusing to allow any intoxicating liquors to be sold on such premises we commit the municipality to a line of policy which must in time commend itself to the citizens of the city by checking the causes which lead to demoralization and vice, and as an object lesson show that the municipality stands for the ideals we must strive after if the nation is to survive and prosper, as its ultimate fate must depend to a great extent upon the training the children of our great cities receive, and the environment that surrounds them.

Fifth. Gradually put in operation a system that will restore to the people the right to live on the earth without paying at least one-fourth of all they earn to landlords for what nature intended should be the common heritage of all the people.

Among the names of the signers to this petition are the Rev. R. Heber Newton, the Rev. Madison C. Peters, Rufus W. Weeks, J.G. Phelps Stokes, Dr. Josiah Strong, Miss Younger of the College Settlement, the Journeymen Marble Cutters, W.E. Bentley, 375 East One Hundred and Seventy-Sixth street: T. H. Sill, W.D.P. Bliss, Ernest H. Crosby, Robert Winston, Mornay Williams and Thomas A. Fulton.

Website: The History
Article Name: To House New York's Poor: A Bill To Be Introduced 1901
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


Brooklyn Daily Eagle February 18, 1901
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