APRIL 20, 1959
NEW YORK—Congressman Wright Patman informs me that under the present building law, philanthropic groups may sponsor projects to acquire existing buildings and convert them into the kind of housing that would be comfortable and convenient for older people in a particular community.
This law is available to be utilized by interested persons and organizations. On August 7, 1956, amendments to the National Housing Act became effective making special provisions for FHA mortgage insurance on housing to be occupied by elderly people. Out of this has grown the FHA program of housing for the elderly. It provides for liberal financing terms for individual home ownership and mortgage insurance to enable non-profit organizations to develop either new or rehabilitated multi-family rental accomodations designed especially for older people.
My personal view is that this legislation should be coupled with legislation permitting building for young people with children. When traveling in Sweden, some years ago, I noticed that often housing for the elderly would be built on one side of a small square or park, while on the two other sides there would be housing for young families. This has many advantages, I believe. The old, for one, need to be near the young. They can also help the young mothers by baby-sitting in the park or at home while the mothers attend to their work or do the family shopping. I thought this Swedish arrangement a very good idea, and I hope it will not be forgotten when our own people are giving more thought to the housing problem.
I would like to salute the arrival of a new newspaper in Pough keepsie, in my home county of New York. Called the "Dutchess Country Journal," it plans to be an independent newspaper serving the fast-growing northern Dutchess County communities. Its managing editor is a very active woman with whom I have worked on many different projects, and I wish her success in her new enterprise. Apparently she is one who does not miss a trick, for she brought the paper to my attention by writing about Nina's camel, whose name, of course, is "Dutchess."
Incidentally, a radio gentleman in nearby Canada, where a local city zoo recently imported a young Siberian camel, has interested the city's mayor in trying to get Dutchess as a companion! Whether anything will come of this idea or not, I do not know.
Wednesday night I went to the Africa Freedom Day celebration sponsored by the American Committee on Africa at Carnegie Hall. It was a remarkable program, and it is hard to say that one part of it was more enjoyable than another. Governor G. Mennen Williams, of Michigan, made a forthright, interesting speech, and there were ambassadors representing the organization of Independent African States. There was music, and for me it was a joy to hear William Warfield sing. Harry Belafonte wrote and read a very moving speech for the occasion. The whole evening was a great success, and at least in New York, I think, we can say that the sympathy of all those present was with Africa's crusade for freedom. Those present represented a cross-section of the city of New York.